A short while ago I wrote a post titled Why Self-Help Books Don’t Work. I have been reflecting on this and found an alternative angle to better understand it.
The human experience is complex. We each have different life events and each affects us individually. This map of experience is often uncharted and key points along the timeline have a significant impact on us. These can be positive or negative and I discuss the concept of reviewing your life story further in Finding My Authenticity: Breaking My Chains.
I have always had an interest in astronomy, even from a young age at school, and went on to work on cosmology while I studied physics at university. I wanted to go on to study astrophysics, but that’s a story you can read in the Breaking My Chains post.
Looking at the messages of the leading life coaches in the business today (mentors, thought leaders, high-performance coaches, trainers, etc) there is a common thread that refers to your authentic you.
Using astronomy as a reference point, my analogy is that you are the sun in the centre of the solar system. Your life experiences map out and build the planets that orbit around you. Your own life experiences are multi-layered and complex and the planets in this model are key life events that impacted you in a self-limiting or negative way. The positive events add fuel to your own inner light, but the bad stuff adds multi-layered balls of rock that spin around you and get in the way of your authenticity. When you try to interact with the outside world, this debris interferes with the results.
If you think of an orrery (the name for a mechanical model of a solar system) you can see that the layers of experience are mappable and can be charted. Through journaling (plus psychology, meditation, coaching and other techniques) you can map out these orbs (aka knots of mental conditioning), start to understand their construction and how to start to take them apart. But you will need lots of tools and maybe some help along the way.
This is where self-help books come in. Self-help books are the tools that help you understand and deconstruct all these self-limiting beliefs and unlock the true power of your inner sun, the light you shine on the world. One book will not clear all of your blocks, but each one helps release you from the constraints of your knots of mental conditioning a little more.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel like you are making progress when you read a self-help book (including the ones that come with so many success stories from people whose lives changed after reading them). Some won’t appear to help much, and some will make big differences. Because your own orrery – your psychological map of your existence – is unique to you, your own path through the books and mentors and coaches will be different. What works for me may not work for you, or we may experience an epiphany with the same book.
But keep reading them, take from them what you can and unlock the doors to the real potential that lies within you (yes, it is there). Let your inner light shine out.
And if you get stuck, feel free to reach out.