The secret of getting ahead is getting started. – Sally Berger
Reading these materials is great but the only way you will really gain something from them is if you apply what you learn. “Self help” is exactly that – you help yourself. It isn’t a passive thing, it is something you have to take an active role in.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of reading posts such as this one for the sake of it, as a hobby, as an intellectual exercise, or in the hope that one day you will find a magical post that will show you how to solve all your problems in one easy hit. But if you actually want to change your life for the better then it is up to you to help yourself.
Here are 4 important steps to take to get more out of personal development materials:
1. Choose your source of inspiration wisely
Not everything you read will be sensible or relevant to you. Some of it may be downright unhelpful. So think about what you read and figure out if it is right for you. The person writing it may not be any more qualified to give advice than you are. Anyone can set themselves up on the internet and claim to be a guru of this or that. Don’t accept anything you read at face value. Use your common sense to decide what advice you’ll heed. Do this with everything you read, including this.
If you’re confident of the quality of the advice then it’s really simple – the only way to bring about change is to ACT. The kind of changes that you are most likely looking for in your life are unlikely to happen by chance. So take note of what you read. Print it out or write it down and highlight what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. Carry it around with you or stick it on the fridge until you’ve acted on it’s advice so you don’t forget about it.
If you’re happy with the results you get then stick with it. It’s easy to get excited about a new book, technique, philosophy etc. But it’s also easy to let that enthusiasm pass and forget about it. Self improvement is not a quick fix unfortunately and results often take time to show. Don’t lose heart just because your life isn’t fixed overnight. Hang in there.
A little further down the track reassess to see if the changes you’ve made are actually working. Do you need to tweak things? Are you ready for the next step? It is best to see self-development as an ongoing process rather than a one-off quick fix.