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October 29, 2020

Why I’m Not Done Reading Self-Help Books

One question that I always seem to be asked is:

As someone new to reading, why do you spend all your time reading ‘self-helpbooks over novels?

The entrepreneurship craze is sweeping the world. In line with this, the youth are now putting down their games and voraciously reading books instead. Imagine that.

Admittedly, I too was caught up in this frenzy. But sixteen months of habitual reading and I’ve discovered more reasons why I won’t put these books down, and here’s why you shouldn’t either.

Get to know yourself

Through pages and pages of advice, instructions and shared knowledge, reading self-help books allows me to solidify my stance on what I want in life, why I want it and what I am (and am not) willing to do to get it.

Reading a book that speaks to you feels like a conversation.

As though you were conversing with your friend in a coffee shop, an author that lowers your guard and converses with you without condescension or judgement is a recipe for introspection.

Be it my thoughts, emotions or habits, each and every book I read may just lift the veil on who I am just that little bit more.

With so much left to discover about my story, I’d be a fool to start exploring someone else’s.

You’re letting time pass

Having realised I was pretty much the same person three years ago, I asked myself the following question:

Am I really living? Or am I just passing time?

When I think about the people around me (myself included), our routines are incredibly stiff. We’ve carved ourselves into distinct yet predictable characters, leaving zero mystery on the topic of who we are or what we might become.

Self-help books make you mouldable.

Think of your brain as a neural mesh of hardwired connections. Reading a carefully curated set of words in the right tone at the right time could gently break those bonds, affording you the privilege of creating newer, better ones.

If you don’t think that a book can change how you think, or how you act, you’re precisely the one who needs it most.

Self-change = Art

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the worlds conjured up by J.K Rowling or J. R. R. Tolkien are anything short of spectacular. But if a good story is a form of art, then so is your own.

If ‘atomic habits’ is the reason you’ve finally woken early enough to catch that sunrise, that’s art.

If ‘how to win friends and influence people’ helps you overcome the anxiety of seeking new friendship circles, that’s art.

If a self-help book is why your friends are noticing you’ve changed your life for the better, I think that’s art.

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Every week, I write about self-development, meaningful living and all things that matter.
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