Now have you ever actually read any self help books? A personal friend of mine had one sitting in his living room the last time I was over. At first glance I saw it and began poking fun at him, but he claimed that it was self help books that helped him through a rough patch with his job and his relationship. I’ll admit I always though self help books were just a money grab by the publishers, but after taking a closer look at it I quickly changed my opinion. I changed my view so much so that I just recently purchased a self help book for my brother. When I first gave it to him he thought I was some how making fun of him. When in reality I really wanted to help. He took the book read it , loved it and now recommends self help books to his friends. Since no one is perfect it’s pretty safe to say that at some point in our lives we all require help in some way or another. Whether we find that help from a professional or a book the key is that it’s better to get that help sooner then later.
Prior to working as a writer and editor for an online self-help superstore, I spent several years working as an Operational Manager in the publishing department of one of Britain’s largest mail order retailers. In a nutshell, my job was to make sure things happened on time, to budget and to the standard laid out in our many service level agreements. To that end, it was my remit to review our operational processes and improve them.
What has this got to do with self-help books, motivation products and inspirational systems?
Well, it was during this time that I learned about paradigms. And paradigms are central to why most self-help books, motivation products and inspirational systems fail.
So, what is a paradigm. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a paradigm as: a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them.
In other words, a paradigm is a habitually-ingrained way of perceiving something.
Paradigms emerge for one simple reason: human beings like to feel comfortable. We like the familiar. We like to tread that well-worn path and know that all is right with the world. When we go to bed at night, we want everything to be the same, nothing out of place, when we get up the next morning and trudge into the shower. We like our routines. No news is good news, right?
Self-help books, motivation products and inspirational systems are by their very nature paradigms. Even that brand new self-help book, motivation CD or inspirational DVD, fresh off the shelf, represents a paradigm waiting to happen. To be fair, it’s unavoidable, as these products are designed to encourage you to look at things in a new way. In the process, you will doubtless lose some of your own inhibiting and potentially destructive paradigms, but you will simply swap them for another set of paradigms, ones which are just as prone to making it difficult (maybe even impossible) to tackle new problems and confront unprecedented situations.
Thankfully, during my pre-writer/editor days, I also learned how to deal with and remove paradigms.
The key is not to become reliant upon any single solution. In order to survive, the modern business cannot afford to cling slavishly to the tried-and-tested. Instead, a suite of solutions is always kept on hand, a bristling box of problem-busting tools.
Likewise, the modern seeker of self-improvement cannot afford to become reliant on a single solution or to simply swap one paradigm for another. A suite of solutions is required, mixed-and-matched according to the particular set of problems or issues that need dealing with at any given time.
I am quite fond of reading self-help books, as I have seen a dramatic impact of those books upon my own life. My personal favorites are Anthony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy, Joel Osteen, Paul McEnna, and Robert Kiyosaki. All these authors are part of my shelf. Some of my apprehensive and naïve friends ask me the benefit of reading all these books. Questions and comments such as “can’t you get ahead in life without these books?” or “is it mandatory to waste time reading these books?” are quite frequent. Some even go to the extent of saying that this is all crap and even they can write a motivational book.
But, I have seen that the people, who refuse to accept the need of self-help books, are mostly living monotonous and boring lives and are cynical about life. They are frustrated and derailed though some of them have accumulated a sizable chunk of money. So, before I describe the importance and impact of these books, tapes and motivational seminars, I would like to throw some light on the theory of positive energy of the universe. Lots of people and recently Lynda Byrnes of “the Secret” fame have realized the value of this positive energy in our lives.
The source of positive energy may be the universe, the sunlight, the amazingly beautiful nature, a fresh breeze, an oceanic tide, a smile, a beautiful face or even some inspiring positive thoughts. This positive energy clears the “dust, gloom and darkness” present inside of you and prepares a positive, healthy and pleasant mindset. Yoga is also a wonderful art of wellness, where breathing techniques are using to create positive energies in our body to cure of its ills and keep it healthy and glowing. Yoga experts also link the negative energies with many illnesses and the most common among them are skin diseases, depression and hypertension. Skin diseases have found their best cure in Yoga rather than using ineffective Allopathic ointments, which cause the allergies to grow and further alleviate our miseries. It also leads to asthma. So, it has been proved that treatment of skin diseases is best possible through Yoga breathing techniques.
Our present topic though, is not dedicated to Yoga; it’s to do with self-help books. We have tried a lot to create a huge buzz around materialistic gains in our lives, but our souls are wounded and hurt. Our society or the governments do not provide a therapy for those unhealed wounds. The irony of our times is that our parents and families are also so preoccupied with their own affairs that they are unable to dedicate some of their valuable time and attention to understand our issues, suggest the right way and cure the wounds and bruises on our psyche inflicted by the cruel world during our endless quest for success. We need a messiah, a caretaker, an expert and an adviser, who can understand our problems and suggest us the correct path. He should also be able to heal some painful memories hidden in our subconscious mind. Unless it happens, we will continue to live a life of misery, regardless of how much money we have.
Self development books and self-help tapes have always been a passion of mine. Since my early 20?s (1974) I have always had lots of both around and they made a tremendous difference in my life. Today the tapes are CDs and the books might be an eBook on your Kindle but it doesn’t matter, they are transformative.
Favorite Self Development Books
Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and Robert Collier wrote some of my favorite books. Later, when audio programs became more popular, I found self-help tapes by Denis Watltey, Zig Ziglar, and others. These were exciting times, I had advanced to a job where I traveled from city to city and the tapes were constantly playing. I grew in character as well as in my job. I became the expert in several fields related to my job and finally a software engineer for a major corporation. All of this with no college, no degree, only with Denis Waitley telling me “If you think you can you can” and those words by Napoleon Hill, “whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Self development books are awesome, the greatest thoughts ever said are in them; the same with self-help tapes. The amazing thing is even if you weren’t exposed to this information growing up, but if like so many you were exposed to the negative ideas that are all around and repeated by so many, even if that happened to you, you can take these books and tapes and erase that negative programming. It will be gone forever from your thinking and it is that easy.
When Zig Ziglar gives you a check up from the neck up something happens to you that you can never change back. When you read Napoleon Hill and he says, “All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.” Or Robert Collier saying, “All riches have their origin in mind. Wealth is in ideas – not money.” Or Wallace Wattles: “by thought you create the object, by action you receive it.” Or the Bible telling you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You will simply never go back to your negative ways. You are the raw material being transformed into a new being. It is exciting to see it happen.