Recently got a chance to browse the nearby bookstore. Aside from further affirming why I prefer amazon to brick and mortar bookshops, there was one other thing I noticed. Getting a chance to walk down the self-help aisle, I couldn’t help but feel my inner cynic trying to claw out.
I think one of the most damaging and pervasive myths of self-help is that of the epiphany. It is the myth that keeps self-help books outrageously popular and simultaneously keeps a lot of people from really making improvements in their lives. This is the myth that says all you need is just that one key idea, understanding or technique to overcome your problems.
What I noticed when I walked down that self-help aisle is that there is an increasing amount of books that seem to purport that all you need is their one great idea to make radical improvements in many areas of your life. The answer, it seems to be, is a better quality of ideas.
Now I can’t blame the self-help authors. They are just selling what people want to buy. But it does reveal an important problem. That problem is that many people are waiting for that sudden flash of insight that will quickly turn their fortunes and allow them to make rapid improvements in their entire life.