I’ve never liked the terms “self-help” and “self-improvement.” Both bring too much baggage and too many unanswered questions, the most common being: Is this author really qualified to tell me what’s best for myself?
Answer: No, they’re not. You’re the only person who knows what’s best for you.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen.
Most of us know what’s best for us, even if we do the exact opposite. Obese people know they should eat healthier. Smokers know they should quit cigarettes. Alcoholics know they should stop drinking.
Knowledge without action is useless. If nothing else, self-help authors deserve credit for finding a way to turn their knowledge into action. They’ve found a system that works for them. It doesn’t mean their system will work for you.
When self-help sucks, that’s the reason why — it ignores the complexities of you as an individual.
I myself have read an embarrassing number of self-help books because I’m endlessly fascinated by the struggle we all have to become the best person we know we can be. I tried and failed for years for a simple reason: I didn’t understand myself.
Self-Understanding is the key that will unlock any door you want to open.
And one of the most crucial aspects of self-understanding is being willing to shine a light into the darkest corners of your mind — the musty crawlspaces of your psychology where you’ve stored all the useless “junk” that you’re afraid to get rid of.
That’s how you understand the real you.
I’m not going tell you what to do. Instead, I’m going to do something more fun.
I’m going to empty my own personal crawlspace and shine a light on all of the life experiences that I’m most embarrassed to admit. Drug use, awkward sex stories, crazy beliefs/theories … all the stuff I only share with my closest friends.
Because when we acknowledge our fears, we see that they’re not so scary after all. Often times, they’re hilarious.
And if I can push through my own fears and self-doubt, maybe others can as well.
I hope you’ll join in the experiment. Here’s to a great 2017!