I don’t know if anyone else will tell you straight on this.
But have you noticed the size of the self-help section at your bookstore? It’s huge! It seems like if there’s one thing we’re obsessed with, it’s personal growth, change, or transformation. There’s got to be a billion different ways to improve your inadequate self. Maybe you want to make more friends, make more money, get healthy, or become enlightened.
But, here’s the thing. The whole self help thing depends on keeping this one little secret, and hoping no one ever finds out. It’s the biggest self help secret there is!
You want to know what it is?
How Much Help Do We Need?
Self help is a $10 billion a year industry.
There are endless books to read, DVDs to watch. Subscriptions to subscribe to. Conferences to attend. Each one has a smiling face on the cover, promising that this will be what you need to change your life.
It seems that we are positively addicted to self help. So why do we seem so helpless? Why do we buy more products than ever, more gym memberships than ever, yet we seem to be losing ground? We are less healthy, less happy, less…everything that we want to be, despite all this help!
Let Me Help You Help Me Help You
Isn’t it ironic that it’s called self help? Are we not supposed to notice that? Why would we need all these products if we are the ones helping ourselves?
Here’s the thing. Self help is all about change. And change is difficult. Because people are creatures of habit. We don’t like change.
So we’re willing to pay someone to goad us into changing. We’re willing to pay someone to give us some “strategy” to transform ourselves. And when the strategy doesn’t work, there’s another expert waiting, with another version of the strategy to complete happiness.
Self Help Yourself
I think the whole self help industry depends on us not noticing that word self.
We are the only ones who can help ourselves.
That gym membership will not make you healthy. Americans spend billions of dollars on unused gym memberships.
That patch won’t make you quit smoking.
That book won’t make you more charismatic.
That conference won’t make you a better leader.
That DVD set won’t make you more wealthy.
That next sermon won’t make you spiritually enlightened.
That next blog post won’t make you better at whatever random thing it’s preaching.
Even that next government regulation won’t stop you from making bad choices.
You want to do some self improvement? You want transformation, enlightenment, health, and contentment?
You have to start helping yourself. And stop relying on someone else to help you. The people who are helped the most by the self help industry are the people making money off of books and conferences and DVDs. Find out what you want to change…and change it. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy a book or anything. You just can’t expect that book to do the heavy lifting.
What do you think? Are we addicted to self help? Why does it seem like we’re so helpless then? What’s the last big, positive change you made in your life?