The first self – help book I read was written by the larger than life, force – to – be – reckoned – with Les Brown, now in his 70’s……and still talking and teaching. That must have been at least 30 years ago. My daughters have since discovered him, without any prompting from me……and they both tune in to him regularly, whilst going about their business, and they both quote him. Two chips off the old block!
I have walked for miles with Tony Robbins ringing in my ears, on my old cd Walkman, nestled in a shoulder bag. I have scoured his books, and written quotes in diaries, and re – read them again and again. My daughters have also discovered him, but I can take credit for that……they grew up seeing his cd’s and books lying around, often enough to register with them!
I have benefited from the life stories and words of wisdom of Jim Rohn and Lisa Nichols, Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Steve Jobs, Oprah…..the list of mentors is long, and each one has contributed to my thinking and my life. However, I have had to do way more than listen and nod in agreement. And often I have had to listen to the same stuff again and again, before finally absorbing it. And indeed, some of it I am STILL in the process of absorbing.
I am not suggesting that we should unquestioningly accept and absorb every word uttered by the self – help ‘gurus’. They aren’t saints, and they have their own problems. I don’t agree with all that I hear, but most of it makes sense, and most of it works…..IF acted upon. Research indicates that less than 10% of those who begin self – help programmes complete them, or act upon them, which is probably why the industry is worth billions……people coming back for more of what they are willing to pay for but not act upon. And no – one can blame the motivators for that.
The world of self – help has caused me to become consciously aware, to question myself, and to strive. Without those mentors I might become unconscious, taking each day as it comes, accepting my lot, and putting all of my energy into surviving, rather than growing. It has encouraged me to keep believing, even when the evidence suggests I shouldn’t. It has made me understand that I need to accept responsibility for my own thoughts, feelings and actions, even in the face of challenge and hardship. It has allowed me to think bigger, and to aim for more, even when I am skint and nothing is coming back, apart from the echo of my own voice.
Some people with life issues and general dissatisfaction have told me they don’t have time to involve themselves in the world of self – help….they are too busy. And what they are saying is “MY life is busier than yours…..I have to live in the REAL world.” Well, many times, their life is not busier than mine, but our priorities are different. My own real world includes the NEED for information and insight, for the wisdom of mentors, for the stories of those who have faced great adversity but chosen to leave bitterness behind, in favour of a better future. Life is like a baton race……we run and run, and we hand the baton over to the next person. We need to be grateful when we get to take the baton from someone smart and informed, and we need to make sure that the baton we hand over represents something worthwhile. No man is an island……and there is always someone who is willing to share an insight that we ourselves really need to hear and absorb, and that we ourselves can share.
You know, prediction IS part of the self – help arena, and can serve a very valid purpose. It can inform, guide and warn us, enabling us to be prepared for some of what lies ahead, helping us to make choices that work better for us. However, it isn’t always used that way. It is generally appreciated in hindsight, reducing it to a form of entertainment. My work is not actually as much about prediction as it is about change. And so my real ‘power’, the way in which I can be most effective on behalf of the customer, lies in my ability to open things up so that they can be seen. So that they can be inspected……so that they become a set of insights to be acted upon. We can actively alter the course of our potential destiny NOW, rather than passively waiting to see what shows up.
And you know, many of the most successful people STILL listen to their mentors regularly, because they know how important it is to monitor what kind of information they are absorbing, and because they know how easy it is to fall by the wayside. They make time, because their time on Earth is precious. And so is yours. Seek, and ye shall find. Start by heading to Youtube….you will find a whole universe of wonderful information, wisdom and insights……and all for free!#self-help.