I love self-help and I'm guessing you do too. All those books, courses and workshops can genuinely help increase your happiness, success and wealth (they have mine).
But how much is too much? When have you become a self-help-aholic?
See if you recognise these signs in yourself or anyone you know:
It all starts off innocently enough with buying a self-help book or three. The books get you excited; some of them change the way you see the world, and help you believe you can do, have, and be more of what you want.
Fired up by this, you book yourself onto a weekend workshop, perhaps more than one. You come away fizzing with energy... but somehow after a few days the excitement drains away and life largely returns to normal.
So... you take the plunge and invest some serious money on an expensive programme with your favourite coach, mentor, or guru. And yet you still come away unsatisfied; it wasn't quite the solution you had hoped for. So you buy another programme or hire another expert. And another and another.
Now you're an addict.
The Self-Help High
Self help is addictive because of the high it gives you - the hit of excitement and insight, and the hope that things are about to change for the better. (It's not so different from the high the gambling addict feels with the rush of dopamine and norepinephrine every time they place a bet.)
The self-help high can be a good thing if you use it to jump into action and implement what you've learned.
Here's the kicker: insight and excitement are wonderful but if they don't result in you taking action and making changes, then you are just an addict.
I'm going to be tough with you here for your own good...
You are an addict if:
- you keep seeking the next self-help hit, only to watch it drain away a few days later.
- you keep looking for the next book, programme or guru to give you the perfect solution before you start doing anything.
- you haven't taken all the advice you've received so far and jumped to put it into action - as incomplete and imperfect as it is.
- you're using self-help (or even therapy) to avoid your problems, as an escape from thinking about the parts of your life that make you unhappy.
And the first thing to realise if you want to recover is that the self-help high we love is not inherently bad. Just as prescription medicines can be used to solve a problem or can be abused, so can self-help.
Secondly, you need to accept that no book or guru at this point is going to give you the perfect solution or some magical strategy that you can't google for free right now.
The thing is if you're a self-help addict, you're not short of books you already own that could create wonderful changes in your life if you actually put them into action.
The common themes in self-help works have actually all been around a long time (some of them for 2000 years or more!)
The central theme of all self-help
Here's possibly the most important theme of all self-help. (Read this instead of buying another book!)
Take complete responsibility for your own life and the results you get.
Don't waste time blaming others or complaining about your situation.
Instead, take the actions required to get the results you now want.
Taking those actions of course can be uncomfortable, frightening, or downright unpleasant if you haven't done it before. Daring to express what you want, to make a change, or to take a risk to take on a new role or project can be pretty intense. If you're hoping another book or course will show you some way to avoid all the discomfort you'll be searching forever.
Don't keep looking for a pain-free answer, look for support to take action despite your discomfort. If you're looking for a coach or mentor, look for one to encourage you, console you, and most importantly challenge you to take the actions you need to take.
As soon as you're in motion and taking action, you're no longer an addict. Welcome to recovery!
Let us know what you think
Please leave a comment and give us your opinion. Feel free to confess your self-help excesses and your own recovery stories.
This month, we're all about getting you moving. If you've been wanting to make a big change to your work and haven't yet done it, stay tuned because we're going to help you beat that block and get on the way to getting paid to play.
And... on top of that we're kicking off our biggest project ever very soon: The 30 Day Challenge