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Self-Help vs Self-Reflection

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Hey Everyone, 

I wanted to start a conversation and share some thoughts about self-help/self-reflection. As someone who own's a library's worth of self-help books I have started to find myself turning away from most self-help books and began to look internally for answers. I have been finding while i read a lot of self-help books, and they make feel good because I am motivated, and learning (or I feel like I am learning but how much I actually implement is questionable), I wonder if it in itself can become a destructive habit. 

I have been feeling when I pick up a new book, as my goal is too read every day, that a lot of what I am reading I already know, not intellectually per say, but internally. Is anyone else having these feelings when reading these self-help books? And has anyone discovered some meditative practices that help stimulate learning that work with them, I often struggle with meditation because my mind does not want to sit still, but if I am contemplating and idea, I feel I can reach a great depth of understanding about a concept.

Also I was thinking I  was reading these self-help books wrong, do people take notes when they read, and measure their progression towards certain goals? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

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Hi man.

I believe that what you refer too can be called "mind masturbation" when we do something that makes us feel good, and we do it again an again, without any real meaning or positive consequence to us. I also have read some stuff in the self help department, but my path began from inside, I wanted to answer the question of what I am, What is this entity that I call me.

So that path took me deep inside, and then through some deep dark shit where I got an answer to my question, but I got lost along the way. And ended up looking for help outside, from guys like Tony Robins and others. But as you say I never found their teachings very influential on my life, but I did learn.

I don't think any form of learning is wrong, but I think that learning only one thing can be limiting. I would recommend learning something else entirely. 

As for meditation, I have never found it useful. I understand the concept, but never felt any positive impact on my life. Maybe my mind was not ready for that exercise, maybe some day I will be ready and it will be amazing. Time will tell. 


Edited by dahankus
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I don't know if that answers your question, but I find it true nonetheless. No matter how much you know about anything, if you don't materialise that knowledge in action, it's going to be useless. Same applies to self-reflection, at least in my eyes.

Taking notes and tracking progress should be helpful, to make sure you get the most out of your book and keep you focussed on your goals.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The thing about self help books is that all the ones under the same general umbrella talk about pretty much the exact same thing in just a slightly different way. If you pick up The Slight Edge, The Power of Habit and The Willpower Instinct, they are all about the same general idea. The nice thing about there being so many of them is that you can take whatever bits and pieces are relevant to you and apply them to your life. You can come back to the book later and probably find some new insights that you hadn't thought of before because of your increased wisdom.

All that being said, while things like taking notes is a good idea, as @mattso says, if you don't actually apply the lessons to your life, you are mostly wasting your time reading these books. The one thing in common with every single one of them is that they give you an idea or a plan of action of how to incorporate their lessons into your life.

As for meditation, I think the thing that a lot of people miss is that there is no "point" of meditation, you're not trying to accomplish anything. The whole idea is to try and break free from the constant cycle of instant gratification and just being aware in the moment and being content with the idea that nothing is going on. You won't really notice much of an improvement day to day, but if you track your progress over an extended period of time, you may notice a huge improvement in things like your temper, your self compassion, how quickly you get frustrated, etc.

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