Once in a while, I stumble upon an article that contains a summary of all the books on personal development in the world. Well, all the books this particular author has read. It tells you that after reading their article, you’ll never need to read any book that talks about self-improvement. It seems like a wonderful way to save your time. Unfortunately, it’s not.
Short, but not sweet
Even though all those extracted pieces of information might be true, they won’t teach you anything. Sure, it’s short, and I know everyone likes short. It also tells you everything you already know: don’t be too hard on yourself, get over your fears, meditate. But after reading it, nothing changes. There will be no lessons learned.
Why that is? These articles contain no examples, unable to leave you with any recognition. There are no mind-blowing epiphanies. In fact, those summaries shouldn’t tell you to stop reading self-help books, they should encourage you to read them.
I believe you should never stop reading books on self-improvement.
Repeat and improve
The only way to learn something, and to improve, is by repetition. We need examples from others to know how we can apply it to our own lives. And we should be reminded of our progress, to know we’re heading in the right direction.
Right now, I’m reading Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat. A great part of what he is saying, is not new to me. Yet, I keep reading, because not only does it remind me that failure is not a bad thing, it also shows me I’ve made so much progress over the past few years. I faced many fears and battled my anxiety. Realizing this by reading Solve for Happy makes me proud of myself. Apparently I found my equation already (not just by reading books though).
There will be books you won’t agree with, and you don’t have to force yourself to finish them. While reading You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero, it took me quite the effort to get through the first part, because damn, the pressure is high. I’m glad I finished it though, because her advice in the last chapters is something I still think of now and then. The same goes for The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson. The swearing just. Doesn’t. Stop. And we don’t really want to stop giving a fuck, do we? We just need to give the right fucks to the right things.
So what should you do?
Find lists that give you the best self-help books. Read them and put the advice into practice. Get rid of the books that don’t appeal to you. Perhaps give it to someone else, because it might be perfectly cut out for them. Who knows, you might even change someone’s life.