Reading to Help Yourself
Nonfiction and self help books dominate the majority of all I read. Even then, the nonfiction books that I read often consist of biographies for the sole purpose of learning how to be more like certain great individuals. Thus, they are effectually self help books.
Despite this, I never feel satisfied that I have learned anything new about myself or my world around me. Reading the books tends to make no difference whatsoever, what does make the difference is definitive action, which I lack. Why?
Actionable Information and an Active Lifestyle
Nothing would please me more than to say that I will work on this, but I don’t know that I will. The more involved I get in this the more I realize the importance of remembering what you read and applying it incrementally. For example, after reading about Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues I decided to create my own list of 9 virtues that seemed the most applicable to my own life. The plan was to implement one per week, reflect on it and hope that the changes in my habits would stick.
I ended up making almost no progress. II remembered the first 2 weeks, after that, I never thought about it again, as I didn’t remember what the 9 week plan actually had on it.
By remembering your plans for the future, your self help will have a higher impact.
Another relevant example comes from How to Win Friends & Influence People. I remembered two of the principles: smile and listen. So far, they have served me well, but I didn’t remember any of the others, so how was it possible to implement them? By reflecting regularly on easily implementable actions, you can actually improve the way you are operating in your own life. Often, this is easiest to do at the end of the week. Sunday nights seem to be the best in my trials.
It doesn’t matter to read self help books unless you continually refer back the principles and work on them actively. Something I’ve learned, that I feel that we must all learn. Hope that is able to help.