This here is a quick rant about a common theme I’ve noticed in the public self-help/self-improvement pop culture. I don’t know where it’s come from, but it’s been on the rise for a few years now.
I see it on my Twitter feed, in live feeds, in podcasts, audiobooks, books, blog posts, and the works. People somehow think it’s ok to shame people who seem to be addicted to self-help material without making much progress and not acting on the material they have. Let me say it out loud.
This is wrong!
People are at different stages of their personal journey. Not everyone you see is at the same place mentally, emotionally, physically, or otherwise. Life is a trail run, and each and every person you meet along the path is going at their own pace.
Let’s assume that a person is trying to lose weight. That is an uphill battle against decades of bad habits and trying to change these habits requires a tremendous effort, a mindset paradigm shift, replacing bad habits with good habits, and maintaining the mindset to push through the rough patches. And yes, people will fail at it, multiple times actually, because it is HAAAAAAAAARD!!!!!
Same thing for a person who is trying to start an exercise routine. Why make fun of their lack of commitment? That person is trying to start something really really difficult, again, against years of the wrong habits and the wrong priorities. And when they first try it, they will do it wrong, they will overdo it and get injured, they will pay for a gym membership, stop going, feel like a loser and lose self-esteem, cry over the money they’ve wasted and swear off starting things they don’t know they can finish. Yes, it’s a fierce mental battle against one’s own demons, and quite often, the demons win!!!!
It’s the exact same deal with self-deprecating and low self-esteem and low confidence issues that need to be fixed and overturned with proper sustained actions in the right direction. People are battling epic battles every single days in their own heads of which you have no knowledge. Childhood trauma, abuse, negative self-talk, and all that jazz. Trying to pull oneself out of that shit is like climbing out of a tar pit unassisted.
Changing one’s habits is pretty much like steering a full to the brim oil tanker, or a fully armed battleship in open seas in bad weather.
So, people who are lucky enough to stumble upon self-help and self-improvement literature, use it as a tool to help them out. If they’re using it as a crutch and not doing something with it for a very long time, for crying out loud, let them! Do not shame them into dropping it because it hasn’t worked on them yet and it hasn’t improved their lives yet, it will someday, their journey might be just longer than other people.
It’s the same concept of compounding interest, even if what a person is doing, sustaining a certain good habit, reading the right stuff, doing the right exercise, eating the right diet, practicing a creative endeavor if it’s all seemingly not getting them anywhere and not showing much progress, it actually is. This is exactly how compounding interest work. Read Atomic Habits by James Clear and you’re going to get the right idea about creating and sustaining good habits.
There’s a point to be made about immersion in the right kind of information as well. You are what you consume, entirely. You are the average of the people that you keep company, the foods you eat, the places you go, the environment in which you live, the books you read, and the social media you flip, scroll, and swipe through. A steady stream of good content will slowly but surely eliminate the bad content. People will rouse themselves into action when the right time comes about when making the move happens to be the only thing left to do.
Don’t shame people because they haven’t made it yet, if they did, they wouldn’t even take a look at your content. Push people, motivate them, yes, but do not shame them.
Self-improvement does not offer new ideas. All of the same ideas are being repeated constantly in millions of books. It doesn’t make reading that information redundant. People need to be reminded of basic concepts, over and over and over and over again until they become innate and integrated into their minds.
And to you, the person who sees themselves as a failure or an “addict” who keep hoarding or reading too many self-improvement and self-help books, keep it up. One day you’re going to breakthrough. One day the words that had no meaning would be a compelling call to action and catapult you into a new kind of life. A life that you couldn’t imagine you could live. If it’s not working yet, just be patient with yourself, it will all work out. Give it time, forgive yourself for slipping back into your old habits, get back up on your two feet, dust yourself off from the negativity, shame and defeatism, move on and try again with relentless persistence.
The one thing successful people have in common is that they are persistent about trying again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and when they fail, they simply just try again.
Jim Rohn called it the law of averages, mathematicians call it the law of large numbers, I call it immersion. You are what you completely immerse yourself into. Use it, keep up the habit, sustain it, and sooner or later, like it or not, it’s going to drive you into action.
One of those days you are going to find the exact thing that works for you, the right approach to start that exercise routine, the easy to follow diet routine, the right kind of skill that you can start, cultivate and nurture, and you won’t mind how much time it’s going to take you to be really good at it, because it doesn’t really matter as long as you sustain it.
Whatever you do daily, and for a long time, will compound over time, and then sudden;y you will start to see progress manifest itself in leaps and bounds.
Keep the faith. Do the work. Keep at it. Never give up.
And most importantly, be kind.
Remember that being kind, is more important than being right.
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