The problem with self help books is that when we need the help the most the self is not capable of delivering that help. Don’t get me wrong, for over two years I have devoured some really good self help books. Some I have read and listened to over and over again. Sometimes it’s because of the subject matter, but most of the time it is because of the author. Connection is important, its everything. Even in and especially in the self help world.

There is a problem with self help books, and I am including any book that aims to encourage or help someone do something that makes them better. All of them. Every genre and every incarnation. They all have a flaw, well, two in particular.

The first flaw is the self. There are just so many things that are so deeply connected that it is absolutely impossible to explore or shed insight on in any single book. We have habits we have to build, dreams we have to dream, plans we have to make, and then there is discipline, will, fear, failure, and the meaning of life to get to.

We are very complex people and we love simple and clear solutions. We love them but they never fully work. There are no shortcuts in life. There is no hidden secret, no formula, and nothing that will take our responsibility away from us and do things for us.

The self is the first problem when it comes to self help books, and it’s not really a problem. The human condition is not a problem. You are not the problem. Your mistakes and failures, you own, but they are not a problem. They are part of the beauty of life. All of it. To pick and choose who we think we are, in the end hinders and strips us of what we want and who we wish to be.

The second flaw is the help part. We all need a hand and the more hands the better some days, but it is when we need that help that matters. The best way to receive help is before the problem. The best time to prevent yourself from quitting is to put routines in place that mitigate the opportunity and the feelings of wanting to stop what you are doing. Habits and routines are built before there is a problem. Shelters are best to be erected before there is a storm. They are not as useful after.

Self help books are best consumed when you don’t need them. You should read and absorb information before you need it. Our brains are very powerful. I have recently realized that we don’t even know the power that we behold, and that our minds, and the way we see the world ultimate do shape who we become, or what we fail to do.

Your mind is the key to everything. It is a muscle that needs protein to survive and good thoughts to live. Your mind needs self help. You need to arm it with thoughts that will serve it well when it needs something. Later is too late. Tomorrow is too late. Being without an umbrella, and wishing for one, when the heavens rip open and begin to pour down rain is something that you control.

Carry an umbrella with you everywhere you go. Study and learn everything you can. Make that a habit. It is a good habit to have. Give yourself  some help, but do it today, not when you see tomorrow.


Cover photo generously provided by photographer Aline de Nadai |