I remember the very first book I read related to self-help, it was a Zig Ziglar book called “Better than good life.” I felt like the clouds had lifted and the sun began to shine. Life was going to be amazing from this point forward.
After I finish a book, I find myself repeating, this book has all the answers. Leadership and business themed books get one over on me.
I recently asked a friend who is a high-level business consultant for several boards of directors. What would be one piece of advice you could give yourself at the age of 30, you wish you knew then?
He said, “never assume any one book has all the answers.” He hit home a core problem I have always had with self-help. If the book solves x problem, the author sells it as the one be all answer to this problem.
Self-help section of the store needs a new name in my opinion. We should market it as the “Self-awareness” section. When we read these books from this point of view, we leave with a different mindset from the book.
Each book we gain some new perspective or awareness to our current life, and then we can make some changes to correct it.
I would classify myself as a self-help addict, and while I have lots of wisdom, I am not always a man of big action or change.
Early on I would get frustrated at myself for not progressing further and faster. I would tell myself “I read the book just like my friend said too, but it didn’t change my life.”
This narrative has torn me up on several levels from motivation and drive to the self-confidence that I truly have the ability to change my life.
In my case, it was an addiction. Just like other addictions, we convince ourselves the cure is we must need more of it. I know when it comes to self-help, I would tell myself just one more book, and I would be awesome.
The first self-help book someone reads needs to be called “You are awesome, just being you.” Build the mindset of self-awareness is the ultimate goal, not some upgrade that can wipe your problems away.
What I find as a result of having the wrong mindset is information overload for what to do next. So many paths to greatness and a life of purpose that I lose sight of what is right in front of me. My mind would become surrounded in a fog as thick as peanut butter. I would forget the most important teaching of mediation, mindfulness. The now is the only moment that matters. Self-help or as I now call it self-awareness helps become the big flash light in life we need sometimes to see the road ahead for a greater distance.
I clouded my view in front of me without a sincere appreciation or gratitude for what the universe had already provided me.
A great quote that brings this point home is …
“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.”
When we sell self-help as self-awareness, it can re-frame the “Why” we want to read in the first place. We don’t read to change who we are today; we need to read to grow in the future of tomorrow.
If we don’t appreciate what we have and who we are today, no amount of fixes will ever be the right fix.
You will always end up with the mindset of … “Just one more”
Also published on Medium.