When did “self-help book” become a pejorative term? Maybe the more important question is, why?
Whatever the reason, a lot of people wouldn’t be caught dead reading one. Okay, maybe it’s mostly us guys who are afraid of what other people might think if they catch us reading a self-help book. All of the sudden it’s become somehow emasculating to want to improve yourself or at least know yourself a little better.
But what’s wrong with that? Was the Greek Oracle of Delphi just spewing nonsense when she advised people to “Know thyself”? We like to throw that expression around like it means something, but can we truly know ourselves without the aid of anyone a little wiser than we are? Isn’t that exactly what we’re trying to do when we pick up a self-help book?
No matter how successful, charming, even-keeled, funny, or brave we are, isn’t there always someone out there who existed at some point in history who’s just a few steps ahead of us in some department? Well, unless you’re a complete narcissist (and I know you’re not because you wouldn’t have read this far) then the answer is, Yes!
The good news is, a lot of them wrote things down. So, why not go ahead and read what they have to say and try to duplicate it in our own lives?
We don’t just become great, perfectly well-rounded individuals by locking ourselves in our own heads our entire lives. Sometimes, we have to have a little humility, and be willing to stand on the shoulders of giants who have walked similar paths before us.
Now, it’s easier than ever to do that. We live in an age where the summation of virtually every major publication known to man is available right at our fingertips, often for free!
Become a better _______
What do you need to brush up on? What have you never bothered to learn at all, but should? Spirituality, entrepreneurialism, how to get in the best shape of your life, or even being a better partner to your significant other. Whatever it is, why not ask someone who’s done it before? The priceless wisdom that holds the key to unlocking the door to almost anything you want to accomplish is sitting in your local library, on Amazon, or somewhere online for free in the public domain.
I try to always be reading at least one “self-help” book. I’m not sure I have enough years in my life to learn all the things I want to improve about myself, but I’m pretty confident there’s sufficient resources available to get it done if I can find the time.
One book I was fortunate enough to find recently is The Way of the Seal by Mark Divine. Mark’s book is about becoming better at anything with an equal focus on a sound body, mind, and spirit. In the book, Mark draws on his military and business background to tell life lessons about how to overcome the greatest of physical, mental, and spiritual obstacles. It might sound like it’s written for and by some macho military guy few of us can relate to, but it’s anything but that. I recommend Mark’s book to anyone looking for a routine to help keep them focused, energized, and successful in business or personal endeavors.
So pick a topic and go grab a self-help book. You might get a few curious stares or a couple snide remarks from friends, but are you going to let that stop you from living a more successful life? Let’s hope not.