"Stories" from the Collective (YOU)

How Do We Really Develop?

by Sandy
(California, USA)

Or, can you ever read too many Self Help Books? One view...

My personal story is involved with studying major religions of the world, in depth use of meditation techniques, reading psychology, sociology and self help related materials most of my life. That said, I feel that I have been a productive member of society: I've tried different businesses start ups, held several private and public jobs. I've treated the public and private consumers the best I could and with ultimate respect. Of course, I'm always looking to try new things.

I can remember questioning at times during particular decades of growth, "Am I reading too much self help?" But in retrospect, and being over 60 years of age, I think the answer is NO:

I don't believe anyone can get enough of learning how to improve themselves and their lives.

I believe many people confuse "reading about self help" with a subjective opinion of what it means to be "helped". Since there are many in the self help field (as in other fields) who have written books on self help and prospered, there is almost this unwritten code that somehow reading volumes about self help means that one day you should wake up perfected and get a business and become "successful".

Let's not forget that many are reading for particular problems... co-dependency, exploitation, feelings of inadequacy, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders and on and on.

Not everyone is reading just to become "successful" or confident enough to speak in the public or make lots of money.

I think each individual case is different. There is no blanket determination of how much is too much. Each individual will at some point discover what they must do for themselves.

I think if we label those who "read too much self help", one could form another extension in thinking that authors who write about self help books have some flaw (because there are so many books on the subject)

My major concern is the quality of materials on self help. Some subjects have been rehashed to death. However, that said, there are many authors who are bringing fresh solutions to old problems. Unfortunately, one may have to read many books to get to the good ones. But that is not an earth shattering thing.

So I think one should be careful branding the self help field as a vocational interest, or otherwise, as a sign of a person who is not growing. Just my two cents.

Let's remember that people have their own time for change and the point is that they are learning more about themselves and others and what it takes to change.

Thank you for this website, Steve


Thank YOU, Sandy, for all YOUR contributions to this website. Always welcome hearing your views! I shall on what you say here below...

Comments for How Do We Really Develop?

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Feb 07, 2012
You have read a lot...
by: Sandy

I hear ya. I see where you are. And acting it shall be. I don't want to see you overdose.

The other day I was thinking about all the books I read and which ones I've kept on the shelf. You see, I get so many of them that I start re-cycling them and giving them away and all sorts of things.

But my true blue books left were the Tao Te Ching, The bible, and my Zen books. And two others, which may not seem exactly self help in respect to being on certain topics:

When I was 10 my dad gave me two books to read: Booker T Washington's autobiography and Think and grow rich. Booker T was to be the example, for me, that if he could become such a great man after having been a slave, nothing is impossible. It is quite a story.

And then he gave me Think and Grow Rich to read because that is the book which changed my father's life. My father had done share cropping in the South....and to make a long story short: he went back to school much later in life, got his education, started his own real estate company, despite the odds at the time....

For a long time I thought Think and Grow Rich primarily dealt with financial growth. But boy was I wrong.

I come back to that book over and over and each year I get a deeper level of understanding. It truly is a book about desiring and having faith and perseverance.
What stands out for me are the 6 basic fears of humans and that we all have to deal with "negative influences" in our lives. It tells you how to deal with them. And the realization that many great people had most of their opposition from those close to them was quite a revelation.

But if you pick up that book and look for the sections which pertain to where you are you'll discover deep eternal truths. And no...you won't have to read the whole book...it's just that the author talks TO YOU instead of ABOUT something. And that's a different type of reading.

So each morning I pick out maybe a page. That's it. Then, back to acting on some of my desire knowing that what I'm dealing with is universal since the beginning of time.

But I do read other books, and not overdose; but just casually picking a topic that is related to what I'm going through and then going back to action.

The reading isn't the doing; the reading is just like I'm speaking to you through the use of words. Sometimes we "read" as though to absorb, but now I read to listen to the deeper conversation.

Well, I enjoyed your response.

Maybe someone will converse ,through words in a book, straight to the soul of one is overdosing on books. Who knows?

Take care.


Thanks, Sandy, and I enjoyed your response too. I love the idea of listening to the deeper conversation that you mention and will think of reading my favourite self-help books like this from now on.

Feb 07, 2012
Too much?
by: Steve

Thanks very much for sharing your wisdom here, Sandy, as regards the not uncommon belief that there is such a thing as too much self-help information.

Interestingly, I currently happen to believe that you can overdose on self-help information and I've decided to NOT read anything new for the whole of 2012. (These are my the self-help books I've read and enjoyed most in the last 10 or 15 years!)

This doesn't mean I won't stop learning or developing or growing - life is such a fabulous teacher that she gives 'lessons' each and every moment of each and every day. It just means that I won't seek to 'know' any more from a self-help book without first putting what I've learnt from reading etc. into ACTION!

I do believe that people get addicted to knowing - knowing, knowing, knowing (there's so much interesting, relevant stuff to know after all). But they're not addicted to ACTING.

And that's why I've decided to DO and BE (ACT) rather than to READ.

And that's why I'm presently reluctant to unleash more words (or videos) onto a self-help audience addicted to 'more' - i.e. I'm reluctant to create/sell yet another self help 'product'.

But you're right, Sandy, this is my journey and it's right for me now - it may not be right for others.

I for one, though, have had 'enough' for now... I shall bow down to other teachers for a while (not least of which, as I say, is 'life' itself and my reactions to what it brings to me).

Thank you, Sandy - always!

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