Too Much Self-Help Can Do More Harm Than Good
The right self-help book or course can be a tremendously powerful tool. Many people have transformed their lives by learning how to overcome social anxieties, shyness, and lack of confidence. Many people have learned how to change their thinking and behavior and now are able to live more meaningful lives.
Is it possible that things have been taken too far?
There is so much self-help literature available now and so much advice on how we can become better versions of ourselves that it begs the questions – is it constructive?
Why Too Much Self-Help Can Be Harmful
A common example of too much self-help being harmful is using it as a delaying tactic.
Reading and learning about a solution, and reading it often in various books or courses, can feel as if progress is being made. This can lead the person to think that because they feel good about what they’ve read, they’re actually becoming a version of themselves. And then they buy the next book. And the next book. And the next course. And join the next online group. And they feel great about themselves except they haven’t actually changed anything. Self-help is harmful when the person continues to experience problems in their relationships and careers because they never actually implemented what they read.
What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
Who is writing the book that you’re reading? Is the information and advice based on science and real experiences? Is the advice sound and has it been proven to work for those who use it?
One problem that has become more prevalent is the internet. It is a place where anyone can share their thoughts and give advice. And, it’s easy to get quick answers and think that it’s good enough to solve a problem you have.
Why is this harmful?
For every person with an opinion and advice to offer, there is someone who needs more than just simple opinions or advice.
For example, it’s common knowledge that visualization is an effective way to achieve your goals. What isn’t common knowledge is that this only works if you use visualization correctly.
Another example is that studies by trained researchers suggest it is better to have a plan than to have a goal. And yet, do a search online for goal setting and what you’ll find are many tools that help you to set a goal and few tools that help you achieve that goal.
Is Self-Help The Wrong Thing To Do?
No. A better question to ask is if the self-help book in your hand is really what you need right now or will you be better served by putting into action what you’ve learned so far?