Self-help books won’t change you
A recent google search for “self-esteem books” revealed approximately 1.5 million results. A search for “books about happiness” showed 11 million results. Finally, a search for “books about stress” provided almost 12 million links.
Despite the fact that the publishing industry is moving swiftly in the direction of ebook and digital self-publishing, self-help continues to remain the world’s bestselling genre. In fact, I would wager to bet that anyone reading this article has purchased at least one self-help book in their lifetime. If you’re like me, you have been a repeat purchaser, perhaps looking for the book that will change the course of your life.
You would think that with the enormity of these types of books to choose from, many of which guarantee the secret formula for change, we would live in a much happier world. You could also make the assumption that self-help books should influence (in a good way) the amount of stress we feel. The list of positive effects from the self-help movement is countless, but the fact remains that it’s not the books themselves that are going to create change; it’s the reader.
Gary Zukav, a New York Time’s bestselling author of several self-help books, including The Seat of the Soul, is quoted as saying, “The longest journey that you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.” No truer words have been spoken, especially as it relates to reading a self-help book. While the words in these books are often poignant, it’s only when they resonate in your heart that true change can occur.
As you know, I recently joined the ranks of self-help authors with my book Seriously, Dad? While I’m certainly humbled to know that teens and parents throughout the country are beginning to read the book, I know full well that it is not my book that is going to create positive change; it’s the reader. Remember Mr. Zukav’s quote? You see, my book contains a lot of great concepts, tools, and strategies that are designed to empower the reader, but if the person reading the book is absorbing the content on a head level only, it will soon be lost in the enormity of other information in their mind. However, if the reader is transforming the content to a heart level, real change begins to occur. So, how do you get from head to heart, you might ask? The answer is simple. It’s the difference between reading the book and doing the book. When you incorporate the tools and strategies into your own life (doing the book), they resonate in your heart and become part of who you are. This is the case for all self-help books.
Here’s my advice to you. The next time you read anything that is self-help in nature (books, magazine articles, etc…), ask yourself the following question, “What will I do as a result of reading this book that will allow the content to resonate in my heart?” Perhaps you can find an accountability partner that will read the book alongside you. Maybe it’s a house full of sticky notes that serve as a reminder of important concepts. Remember, reading the book and expecting the words on the page to change you is an unrealistic goal. You must create the change. I believe in you.