When I was still pretty new to writing on Medium, I published several posts poking fun at some of the more well known so-called ‘self help guru’s’.
Amazon unexpectedly sent me a Tonny Robbins book as a free gift with one of my purchases, right around the same time he released his NetFlix special — and admittedly I was kind of tired of being bashed over the head on this platform with self-help listicles at the time, so I just went with it. It was all in good fun and taste though, as truthfully it’s a genre I enjoy for the most part.
Today, I recognize the main problem with self-help is not in those who are dispensing it but instead in how it’s applied — or more precisely, isn’t.
You can read every book your local library has to offer but if you do nothing with the information acquired, it’ll do you absolutely no good.
Now, I know this seems obvious but there are still folks who expect a single reading of a certain book to somehow magically make their lives better.
Even The Bible, which could be considered the original self-help book from the original self-help guru, will do you little good outside of a religion class if you don’t apply its basic teachings and principles to your life.
Jesus is not going to come down from heaven and help you. I’m willing to bet any religious fanatic the farm and then some on that fact.
Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, and James Altucher are super inspiring, I have nothing against any of them. On the contrary, I enjoy much of their work and content. However, I know if I don’t do anything with the motivation, advice or information I gain from them — I might as well not even bother taking it in. Playing Call of Duty will do me as much good as reading a book written by one of the aforementioned authors if I’m not going to actively apply what I learn from them to my actual life consistently.
Consistency is another huge part of it. Tony is a big advocate of working out and eating right — this is obvious just by looking at him. However, he didn’t get in the shape he is in by going to the gym for a week then quitting.
Posting a single video is not what allowed Gary to Crush It. James Altucher didn’t Choose Himself for a day, before returning to his nine to five and his old ways of thinking and living. These people and folks like them spent years doing what they do on a day to day basis — even and especially when they didn’t feel like it (well, maybe not in James’ case, actually).
Books and motivational videos can not do for you, what you aren’t willing to do for yourself. They are not unpaid interns, they’re simply guides to help you along the way in the actions you willingly take on the road to improving yourself.
Consistent action is the only way we can ever expect to change our lives in any meaningful and lasting way. If we aren’t willing to do it ourselves, nobody is going to do it for us or even really help us along the way. Nobody wants to help the helpless.
Ironically, the reason self-help is as trendy as it is in today’s world — is because people are lazier than ever. Technology and automation have done as much good as bad for some of us. It’s provided us with lead way, to do less ourselves. Airports have installed moving walkways, for those of us who find even walking to be too strenuous of an activity. Talk about not being willing to help yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with self-help — but my honest advice is to go read something else if you aren’t willing to help yourself.