How to Tell if You are Addicted to Self-Help | And Bust Out of the Cycle
Before online shopping, I used to be quite embarrassed to go to the bookstore and be seen in the self-help section. People must think there is something wrong with me, I thought. Then choosing a book, walking up to the register and purchasing the self-help book? That was hard. My palms were sweaty and my hand shook as I handed over my cash.
Yes, I paid with cash. I wasn't able to easily get a credit card during those times. It wasn't simply just filling out a form. They checked my credit to find I had absolutely none. And nobody would give me a credit card. Makes sense, why give a credit card to a financially responsible teenager with no debt?.... but that's not what this post is about.
I'm a much more confident person now than I was ten years ago, that's for sure. BUT does buying now with 1-click over the internet excite me because I don't have to go through the bookstore-self-help cycle of embarrassment? Maybe. 😊
So I bought the book The Self Help Addict by Daniel Gefen. And perhaps a few others. And it got me thinking, am I addicted to self-help?
What exactly is a self-help addict?
According to Gefen, a self-help addict is someone who reads tons of self-help books, listens to hours of audio-books, and attends countless seminars. Basically a self-help and self-growth consumer. He goes into more detail by pointing out that a self-help addict jumps from reading one book immediately into another without making any significant changes in their life.
"The addiction is so powerful that you persuade yourself that it is good for you. Each and every self-help book is going to 'change your life.' Every diet program is going to be the last one. The one that you will stick to and finally get you to your goal weight." - Daniel Gefen
How to tell if you are a self-help addict
Here are a few traits common among self-help addicts:
- Low Self-Esteem
- Information Over-Consumption
- Victim Mindset
- Neglects Health
VS Traits of Successful People
- Efficient Time Management
- Keeps Things Simple
- Maintains Good Balanced Health
- 100% Responsible
How to Break the Self-Help Cycle
If you look at the traits of self-help addicts vs those of successful people you'll see there is one huge difference. Traits of self-help addicts keep you from taking action. Whereas those of successful people almost inspire action from the get go.
When you can't make a decision, or feel overwhelmed. You can't start. When you doubt yourself or feel bad about yourself, you can't start. Perfectionism isn't the "good" bad habit we are lead to believe. It actually prevents us from taking the most important step! The first one. And playing the blame game is just rationalizing inaction. It isn't somebody else's fault.
- Stop consuming any more new material. Not forever, just for now. Are you currently reading a self-help book? If so, go back and re-read the first chapter. If you are not currently reading a self-help book, grab the last one you read and do the same. Now, start one thing you've learned from that chapter that will improve your life.
- Download this printable to help you take notes and make an actionable plan while you read! HOW TO READ A BOOK AND GET SOMETHING OUT OF IT
- Start tracking your habits. Whether it is to start exercising, waking up earlier, or spending less time on your phone. Start tracking it everyday. Resolve to stay on top of your habit tracking for at least a month. But if you've been following me for a while now, you'll know, I prefer 3-months.
- Be responsible for your time. Be efficient. Write down your plans for the day, include your priorities. Learn to delegate if you are in a position to do so. This will allow you to focus on what's important.
- Re-read the book when you are done. Don't jump straight into another self-help book. Re-read the current one you are on, and write down another action to implement. Do this over and over again, I guarantee you'll find things you missed the first few times in.
For a marketing position I was trying to get after college, my boss had me read My Life in Advertising & Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins, seven times in a week! The interview consisted of him asking me after the first few days what I thought and what I learned. Then at the end of the week he asked me again. Out of those interviewed, I think he could tell I was one of the few who actually did read that book seven times. It makes a difference.
To recap, a self-help addict is just addicted to consumption, jumping from one book to another without making any significant changes. Self-help addicts suffer from indecision, being overwhelmed, having self-doubt, and procrastination, just to name a few. These traits prevent them from taking any action. And the only way to end this cycle is to stop and take action, immediately.