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Louise Koeckhoven

No more self-help books!

Think about it… how many self-help books do you have on your shelf at home? And how many did you actually finish, or even start at all?

Maybe an even bigger question… how many actually made you feel better about yourself?

One of the pieces of advice I recently gave to my clients is to stop reading these self-help books. Two reasons; firstly, they only tell us what we cannot and do not do yet. They tell us how to better focus, breathe, do sports, and work. But uhm, aren’t we good enough yet?

Secondly, our minds race all day already, from to-do to task and back. Reading, especially in our spare time, should be fun and relaxing. It helps our imagination go wild and makes us creative and courageous. But mostly if we read books that take us away from reality, show us a different world and have a happy ending. Hmm.. wasn’t that exactly what all these gurus try to achieve with their books as well?

Be honest, how many tips and tricks did you really put in practice? Most of my clients read many of them, but the main reaction is; closing the book, thinking “this is a great idea, I’ll definitely do this”, followed by putting the book on the shelf, picking up the next book, and repeating the cycle.

My advice: Stop reading those books, preferably stop buying them at all! You might wonder, but what if I am stuck or do want to improve myself? Go outside, meet friends, see the world through your own eyes. You are good enough as you are and if you need help seeing that, there are friends, family and professionals to help you.

But if you read for relaxation, for fun. Read something you love reading about and which uplifts you.

This weekend, take your time and go to the bookstore. But this time, walk straight to the romance section, the thrillers, the manga books or the chick-lits. Pick up a book that excites you. That book you would maybe be ashamed off telling anyone about (because too simple, too dumb, too romantic). Pick a book you would pick up years ago, when you didn’t know about ‘smart’ books yet. Pick that one book, buy it and just for this one time lose yourself in the imagination of the writer and the magic of your own creative mind!

Try it, just once!

And well, if it didn’t work… you probably still have a friend with some books to borrow.

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