Why Self-Help so often Fails
The Riddle Behind Trying to Improve Yourself
Here’s a conundrum: The part of you that tries to improve yourself is the part that most needs improving.
Hmm… So, that would imply that trying to improve yourself is a waste of time. How could that be?
Maybe the part of us that “tries” is not our most intuitive self, but is actually just our ego.
Let’s look at some common self-help fails in action:
- You post motivational quotes, but rarely follow them.
- You tell family and friends how you’re going to write a great novel, but never actually sit down to write it.
- You indulge on junk food one day, so you compensate by running with marathon-like intensity until you finally collapse and get ill. You recuperate by gorging on more junk.
- You listen to self-help podcasts until the cows come home. It feels like you’re improving yourself, but you stay the same.
- You try to meditate by twisting your body up like a pretzel and attempting to stop your thoughts (wrong). It’s so boring and uncomfortable you finally say fuck it, fire up Netflix and crack open a Häagen-Dazs.
- You write a long to-do list on paper, full of ambitious goals. You start a few items but quit in frustration as obstacles arise. Finally, you crinkle up the paper and throw it away (along with your hopes of improving).
So how do you boost yourself? If trying backfires?
The answer comes down to how your brain processes information.
Your brain doesn’t care about words, it cares about action.
Here’s proof: tell your brain to stop thinking about a polar bear sipping coffee. The more you try, the more you’ll see that polar bear…
Thus, thinking is useful up to a point, but it’s not transformative. If you want to believe you’re something better than what you are, you have to actually do something better than what you normally do.
Listening to podcasts and reading inspirational quotes won’t get you anywhere, unless you bring action into that new wisdom.
Action is the language of the bold, for people who actually get things done.
But there’s preparation to take before we launch into action, which is equally as important as acting itself.
We all have a deeper, intuitive side that only ignites when we stop trying to improve and just let go.
Letting go allows the dust to settle, so we can see things more clearly. Clarity leads to more decisive action.
So, first we allow some silence and stillness to let our ego to calm down, then we listen for our intuition to speak (ego shouts, intuition whispers…).
Here comes the most important part…
Once you shift to intuitive thinking, you’ll start to see amazing opportunities open before your eyes. However, you must do more than see opportunity, you must seize it.
How? The answer is easy yet difficult: courage.
Intuition will open amazing windows of opportunity for you. But when a window opens, you must jump through, and that takes bravery.
Therefore, trying and striving are not needed, but courage is.
You have to be brave to seize the opportunities that arise for you. If you do, you’ll begin to transform your life so radically you may soon not even recognize the person you once were.
Here’s What Real Self-Help Looks Like:
- You make the big phone call, or start the tough conversation.
- You forgive everyone of everything, quit judging others, and point all arrows inward. This means you take full responsibility for who you are and your state of being.
- God made you the Captain of Your Soul … how dare you assign that role to someone else? Instead, become the master of your destiny.
- You do the things that scare you, without looking back. Example: I recently pushed through my own fears when I wrote and directed a play during this unending pandemic. After four packed shows, it was one of the best and most fulfilling things I’ve ever done.
- You stop posting inspirational quotes, but instead save one secretly in your pocket, one that you will actually follow — without telling anyone!
- You stop bragging to family and friends about your amazing project, but you simply do it. You know one day they’ll find out about it, and will see it already completed rather than another work-in-progress.
Stop thinking. Stop talking. Start doing…
Some of your finest moments will feel intense at first, like passing through a fire. But on the other side of the fire is a better you. If you can stand the heat, those fires will purify you like 24 karat gold.