Do you get sick of the sight of self-improvement books? They’re everywhere! Book shops, Amazon, motorway service stations, railway stations, newsagents, charity shops. The wretched things get everywhere all competing to grab hold of our credit cards, and persuading us we’re just not good enough until we’ve bought them!
Don’t get me wrong – many of these books have fabulous content, and I have learnt so much from them.
But what have I learnt?
It’s basically stuff that’s been drummed out of me by society’s ability to tell us how we should be and what we ought to do with our lives. As children we already have all the resource we’re ever going to need to succeed and achieve our desired outcomes. Our great learning is how to marshal and harness the great potential that’s already within us. We’re not “improving” because there’s no such thing as improving something that’s already complete!
So much of what we believe and how we behave as adults originates from our experiences during our formative years. It is often suggested that the period during which we pick up most of our later adult traits is between ages 6 and 12. And as the child develops and grows, he or she learns the rules and norms of what society expects, and looks up to the iconic role models on stage, TV, pulpit and classroom. In the process he or she “forgets” the person they were born to be, and the wonderful amazing potential that was their birthright becomes neglected or even wasted.
This tragic misunderstanding leads to many consequences, not least of which being lack of self-esteem. And the self-improvement industry simply exaggerates it.
“You’re not good enough – buy this book to improve.”
“You’re inadequate – invest in this training course!”
How about books and training to help us rediscover ourselves? Our journey is about
self-remembering not self-improvement.
It’s about reclaiming our authentic, wonderful, amazing, complete selves, the children we were before our self confidence and resourcefulness was “conditioned” out of us!
Why do so many of us wear masks and pretend everything’s ok if we’re not struggling at some level with a sense of inadequacy? This inadequacy is a lie. And the more we persist with the deception that’s been drummed in us, the more we struggle with our identity and purpose, and our belief that we have anything worthwhile to offer. In so doing we are betraying others and we are betraying ourselves.
I welcome all the many resources out there we can buy and we can use to help us with our journey. But for goodness sake let’s drop this self-improvement nonsense and reclaim rightful pride in the unique and wonderful talents and abilities we were born with and we can share uniquely with the rest of us. That’s how we can all grow – together!
So next time you pick up one of those self-help books, or see a promotion for a training course, that tells you how it’s going to “improve” you in some way, consider re-framing your search and seek out something that will encourage you to re-discover or self-remember the complete, extraordinary and perfect person you already are!