Self-help Isn’t For Suckers

From Craig McBreen:

Self-help is for suckers.

And that was me. I read, and read, and read. I listened to audio books on topics such as: Being a better you; making people like you; stress-free living; winning friends; intention; creating the life you want, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I was a junkie and I needed a fix.

I also didn’t realize that most self-help isn’t worth the price of admission. I wanted to believe everything I read, so you can imagine the confusion.

“Self-help is for suckers” rings false, but everything else Craig says in this post is solid gold. I think the truth is simply Reading self-help is for suckers. Doing self-help (which is what I think Craig is really saying here), not so much.

When seeking out the voices that can help guide your way, start by looking at what they are doing rather than focusing on what they say. Seek out writing that is tactical rather than emotional. Look for things that you can do rather than another idea you can absorb. It’s easy to dismiss a lot of self-improvement as theory, but so much of it is great in practice. You just actually have to practice.

If we are really being honest with ourselves, isn’t writing these blogs and thinking these things out in public an inverted, action-oriented version of self-help anyhow? The act of self-improvement isn’t passive, it’s active. It isn’t about reading things, it’s about doing them. So determine what you really want to do, find the books, podcasts and people who might be able to help you improve and get started.

4 Responses to Self-help Isn’t For Suckers

  1. Hi Michael,

    First of all, thank you for linking to my post.

    I guess my title is a little link-baity, but I did state in the post that I thought I was a sucker too, for I bought some of the snake oil. I have kept the good stuff in my memory bank though and cobbled together a makeshift system of my own, one that is constantly being updated.

    I don’t follow all of the people you linked to in the, “Five People Who Scare The Crap Out Of Me” post (love that title, by the way), but do spend more time watching people like Gini and Mitch. In fact, I’m still working on implementing some of the stuff Gini mentioned in her interview. I don’t see too many people doing it better, so I’ll take her advice and run with it.

    Thanks, Michael

    • My pleasure and hope you don’t think I was refuting your point as much as I was building on it. 

      Nothing wrong with a little bait on the hook. Nice to know I’m note the only one cobbling together and polishing up a system… one day we will have to swap recipes. 

      When in doubt, WWGD. Just listen to Dietrich, she knows all…

      • Hey Michael,

        I don’t and I really appreciate you building on it so well and linking to the original post.

        Yes, we will have to swap recipes one day, fellow cobbler 😉

        Dietrich does know all.

  2. I would agree. Taking the effort that 95% of people don’t, and actually attempting to follow the given advice is what makes self help…. well, self-help. Otherwise you just like to read.

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