Why self-help books don’t really help

I’ve had the conversation about the self-help books so many times with so many people that I feel it’s time I clear some things for everyone. Self-help books and programs are really amazing and I’ve definitely learned a lot from them, but let’s take a look at what they actually mean: self-help means you get to help yourself, not that the book or the program helps you. They give you the tools, they even teach you how to use those tools, but if you are unwilling to make the effort and use them, don’t say that the book or the program didn’t work. It’s you who didn’t work. You are the one who read the book as if it was a piece of fiction, as if you were reading Harry Potter and the words were spells that had to change your life without you actually doing anything. But you know what, even Harry Potter had to learn the spells and practice them every day. So if you’re expecting the book to do the work for you, well, you’re in for a very very long wait.

When you decide to go to the gym, do you just go there, take a look around, get a juice at the juice bar and then walk out saying that exercise don’t work and that there’s no way you’ll get the body you want, or do you actually go there work out every day, every week and then you get to notice the change you make for yourself, in your body. Same thing works for improving yourself as a human being, you read the books and then you take action every day, work at it and you make the change happen instead of expecting the book, the program or other people to make the change for you.

So start today, be the change you want to see in yourself, make it happen for yourself and stop complaining that books and programs don’t work or that other people don’t want to help you.

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2 responses to “Why self-help books don’t really help

  1. Agree! Essentially, self-help books are like cook books: You’re not going to get tasty brownies from just buying the book and adding it to your library–you actually need to cook. And the result (a better self or delicious brownies, respectively) is worth the effort.

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  2. I like the comparison with the cook book and I would go even further and make it more specific: it’s like you’re buying the book, reading it and then expecting for the brownies to make themselves instead of actually using the recipe you read by putting it in action and making the brownies.

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