OK I confess – I am addicted to productivity/self-help books. I already  have a house full of them but still get excited when I open the latest one to arrive. And you know what – I have learned not to feel guilty about this. Sure I worry that it means that something in me is forever disattisfied and seeking a “solution”, and I know the self help industry has its own charlatans. But I also know that the energy kick I get from learning and applying some new approach or technique is what makes me bounce out of bed in the morning. Over time I am gradually honing my own mix of tools, practices and beliefs that do feel like progress and as they say – this is more of a journey than a destination.

It is also for me most of what social media is all about. Learning about yourself, learning from others, learning and progressing together. It is interesting too how much of a response I get when I blog or tweet about this sort of stuff so it would seem I am not alone in my obsession!

10 thoughts on “Self-improvement

  1. Funny that we should feel the need to apologise for wanting to 'self-improve'. If it works for you and doesn't harm anybody or anything, then isn't it worthwhile?I tend to find that what's missing with most people when they start their journey to deal with their issues and open up to possibility, is that they think the answer comes simply from the surface level realisation and understanding they get by reading the book – once.There's no change without action, and IMHO learning can only get deeper with re-reading any book worth its cover price.Anyway, my two cents worth. 😉


  2. Totally agree David and indeed I have read some of my books many times and they offer up different things each time. Also when you are ready the right book will arrive.


  3. Good attitude, I reckon. It is elements of self-help books like 7 habits, GTD, 4-hour Work Week that have gone into helping me develop my ways of working. BTW a lesser known one on these shores is The Power of Full Engagement, which my Dad recommended to me a couple of years ago and is absolutely brilliant, written by a couple of guys who started out as sports psychologists. One insight they had was that recovery time is as important as the activity in developing peak performance. When they applied their approach to businesspeople, they found that unlike any athlete, business people had an expectation of themselves and others that they would perform at 100% effort all of the time. Crazy. That really made me re-evaluate my expectations of myself.


  4. Hi,Just surfed in while searching for 'self development blogs'.Loved your article on buying a house full of self help books. I must admit I've had the same problem for nearly 30 years. But must admit they have changed my life and will continue buying them for the next 30!With the help of these books I turned my hobby of drawing cartoons to drawing self help cartoons for a living. My passion!Please have a look and give me your thoughts:http://www.cartoonmotivators.comBest wishes,Richard


  5. I know The Power Of Full Engagement Antony – good book. I also agree about the need to pace and in fact have got real benefit from the Pomodoro idea since hearing of it from you.


  6. The greatest barrier to our success is all the things we "know" that are not valid. Our lives are full of these things and until we discover them for ourselves they can't be removed. In fact even when we've discovered them, and we know that particular idea is wrong, it still keeps coming back. Old ideas like old habits die hard. The secret is to keep a journal. Start when you are young, preferably about 30. Keep it up for 20 years. The Journal will keep your for the next 20 years., keeping a blog, and maintain these conversations does a similar thing. It help you identify what's important, and it focuses your attention, and it reinforces what you know now. That sets you up for future learning.


  7. I think the negative labelling of self-help books is damaging because of the poor brand associations attributed the the area. Call them something else and you avoid the bookshop stigma (a bit like being caught looking at the top shelf in a newsagents!).The whole area is rich with content and full of great insights and useful advice and guidance, admittedly much of which is hidden in between some rubbish. It's all about finding out more about yourself and understanding drivers of change and improvement within you. I am in the middle of writing a personal marketing book (self-help/improvement yes!) and the risks and pitfalls of the genre are all around me.Having read a large amount of books on self-help I can't help thinking that many of them are merely rehashes of work by Napoleon Hill.One final thought. Maybe we should work on rebranding the genre?


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