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Saturday, December 05, 2020

Do self help books really work?

Personal development or self-help books push you out of your comfort zone and exhort you to explore your potential.

Written by Siddhartha S | New Delhi | Updated: June 8, 2015 1:35:38 pm
books-main If you are like majority of the people, the very mention of this phrase irritates you to the core

What are the first thoughts that come to your mind when you hear the word – ’Self-Help’?

If you are like majority of the people, the very mention of this phrase irritates you to the core. The popular voices against the phrase sound like-
“I do not need any help”
“Are you crazy, you believe in that stupid emotional stuff?”
“I can read a 1,000 page fiction work, but I cannot read a single page of ‘self-help’ books”
“Why is someone else successful, is not of my business”
“I am too engrossed in my life, what can I learn from anybody else’s story”
“It’s emotional CRAP”
“These books take away the power from me”
“Who is that author to tell me what I can do with my life?”
“I am very happy with my life, I do not need to know anything about how to live better”

Breaking the Myths
It is very funny to hear out these objections against the self-help books; even the people who have not read a single book have an opinion about them. Can you comment on the entire Bollywood film industry after watching few films by KRK (Kamaal R Khan)? How can you comment about the entire self help and personal development industry without reading at least 50 books? Through this write-up, I just want to clarify three few things around Self-help industry:

1. Nothing works if you do not work on yourself: We underwent formal education for 20 years, and then we had to work on what we learned to make a living. Likewise if you read a self help book, then you have to take action on the information mentioned in those books. Trust me; it will not take you 20 years to transform your life. Surprisingly, after 5-10 books on a particular subject you begin to understand what is stopping you from living the life you want to lead.

Personal development or self-help books push you out of your comfort zone and exhort you to explore your potential. The strategies, tool and stories shared in these books can save you a lot of time and costly mistakes. Get all the information and then use your intellect to decide how you are going to use that information. How can information about your unlimited potential be bad? It is the way you use that information that makes it good or bad. Reading a book does not change your life, taking action on what you read will surely change your life.

2. Why reinvent the wheel? A lot of us keep our problem for a long time, because we want to be the first ones to solve it. Every problem that you have ever faced or will ever face has a solution which has been documented by someone in the form of a book or a seminar. Never let your ego come in the way of learning. I think self help is the best help because there is no one who is going to come from outside to change your life. Any person who is reading this is a human being, and every human being has some problems and dreams which we want to solve and achieve respectively. Even the dreams you have in your mind, have been achieved by someone else and all the strategies that were used by them are available under the so called ‘self-help’ category that you have been avoiding for years. It is silly to spend 5 years on a goal that could have been achieved in 5 months. When I face a challenge, the first question I ask myself is – what are the 3 books I need to read to solve my problem? More often than not, I find the answer in the personal development books.

3. Solution is already out there: The steps to success and happiness have already been figured out for you. If you have the luxury of time, then you may spend years in figuring out what is already known but no wise person should ideally do that. There are books that can teach you- how to start a business from scratch, how to be a leader in your company, how to be a great student, how to be a great spouse, how to be a great parent, how to do meditation, how to have more money, how to have great relationships, and how to lead a healthy life. These books have been written by people who have already produced great results in their lives.

If an author spent 5-10 years to identify a solution to one of the problems that you are facing and he has documented it in a book which you could be read in a matter of 10 hours, you would be a fool not to access that powerful treasure of perspective. Thus, the only thing you must check is the credibility of the author. The books keep you inspired and tell you that you are bigger than your problems and can achieve all your dreams.

I am a big fan of personal development industry, and I believe that we all need some coaching in certain areas to live a better quality life. I became an author 6 years ago but I have been reading self-help and personal development books for over 16 years now. This one habit has helped me in helping and serving people through coaching and counseling. Remember it is not about self-help, it is about success strategies. And beware of the author who tells you that your life will change only by reading his or her books.
Siddhartha Sharma is a life-coach and a professional motivational speaker. His workshops and books have transformed over a million lives. His is the bestselling author of 5 books- Love Your Mondays and Retire Young, The Millionaire Entrepreneur, 60 Keys to Success with NLP, Mom I got the Job, and TGIM-Thank God It’s Monday. You can connect with him on his FB page- or his website -

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