Imagine Person A and Person B have complex jigsaw puzzles to solve in a limited amount of time. The puzzle has many intricate layers and various pieces, shapes and colors. Person A searches for as much information as possible to understand what the end result could look like and puts into practice suggestions and tips to increase success. Person B refuses such assistance and wishes to figure it out alone. While both may complete the puzzle, who do you think will be more successful and who will have more difficulty? Anyone observing the progress of both individuals would recognize the advantage one has over the other. Yet a lot of us go through life like Person B and make decisions without helpful guidance. Whether it is to resolve self-esteem issues, the next career move, or explore relationship advice, Self-Help can be an important first step to solve our personal challenges.
Self-Help: Your Life is a Personal Puzzle
“There are so many people who have lived and died before you. You will never have a new problem; you’re not going to ever have a new problem. Somebody wrote the answer down in a book somewhere.” Will Smith
This quote reinforces the notion that it’s unwise to spend time and energy reinventing the wheel. I once had a conversation with a friend who asked what types of books I liked to read. Fiction? Drama? Thriller? I remember pausing before speaking because I knew the type of response my answer would elicit. Once I said “Self-Help, I noticed the brief look of disgust and confusion as these books are sometimes viewed as outsourcing and betraying one’s thoughts and decisions to some random person with little effect. While there can be some truth to that, I’ve always thought that it is empowering to leverage some of the best practices for personal growth from people who may have gone through mistakes.
“There is Nothing New Under the Sun”
While personal problems often find a way of repeating themselves in different forms for different people, they can be solved by common strategies and proven solutions. I believe, at times, that life can be as simple as an equation. That certain forms of a “Cause X” plus a “Cause Y” will produce an “Effect Z”. Ultimately, Self Help is built on this. Learning from the past successes and failures of others can advise us on how to achieve future wins and happiness and avoid certain losses and sadness.
There are Three Points of Caution:
Lack of Credibility
- This process only works if it’s backed by credible, reputable and proven techniques. In this “Age of Information” there are too many resources readily available. Choosing the wrong ones can be ineffective, contradictory and damaging. Check out The 50 Best Self-Help Books of All Time for a starting point.
Intention over Action
- We can have the most credible resources in the world, but without deliberate exercise of principles, there will be no result. This is similar to the intention of living a healthy life style. You can read all the health books available but by not actually exercising, eating the right foods or getting adequate rest, you will not achieve any growth.
The Gospel Truth
- Treating a Self-Help solution as if it is an absolute and 100% applicable for all situations and circumstances is not the answer. It is a potential guide, not an precise terrestrial map.
What Self-Help Book do you turn to for development?