personal development

The Irony Of Self-Help

The problem with self-help books is that they love to paint pictures of success that most of us will never see, and often don’t exist. They purveyors of these “truths” aren’t always multi-millionaires like they’d have you believe.

The people they use as examples, as models to emulate, often only tell a very skewed part of the story. I would imagine Tony Robbins (unless he’s a secret white supremacist and misogynist) probably regrets using guys like Donald Trump and Roger Ailes as people to look up to these days.

What I tend to find is that they present these ideal lives as the holy grail, without ever really emphasizing the fact that it’s not like that all of the time.

No one is ever sunshine and roses as often as these folks like to make it out to be, and certainly not in the instant gratification manner they often espouse.

The issue comes when reality meets ideality (is that a word?).

My motto has always been aim high and expect nothing. The problem with the way self-help is presented is that it’s aim high and expect everything (and if you don’t get it, you just didn’t try hard enough).

Growing as a person, understanding yourself as a person is important. Vitally important for a full life. The problem is when it’s presented as all shiny, happy people and if you’re not there, then you’re doing it wrong.

It’s pretty well setting yourself up for failure. Far better to focus on improvement and gains, while spending an equal amount of time enjoying what you have. You don’t need to be a multi-millionaire with a perfect body, a perfect spouse, a mansion and a million miles of travel under your belt to be happy.

Be happy now. Aim high, but enjoy whatever you’ve got. You may not get better, so at least be happy with what you’ve managed thusfar.

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