The obvious issue with self-help is this: its ultimate goal is to reach a point where you no longer need it.
Think about it: The whole goal of personal growth is to build yourself to be the person you’ve always wanted. The whole point of pursuing happiness is to reach a point where happiness no longer has to be pursued.
Destiny is not what happens to you, but how you react to what happens to you.
There’s this story about Winston Churchill who, after the Japanese bombed Hong Kong and Singapore, forcing Great Britain to declare war, he signed off with the following words, “I have the honour to be, with high consideration, Sir, Your obedient servant.”
They say we are capable of experiencing millions of different mental states, yet we waste most of our life cycling through the same five or six of them.
There are around 200 countries in the world, yet one in five people never travel to another country. They also tend to die within a fifty-mile radius of where they were born.
The average person spends eight hours per day sleeping, six hours watching television, and more hours than I’d care to count rewatching the same movies and TV shows, reading the same books over and over again.
The average woman will kiss 15 men, enjoy two long-term relationships, and have her heartbroken twice before she finds someone she can settle with. The average woman will have seven sexual partners, while the average man ten.
I have wasted three years of my life wishing for someone who didn’t love me to come back.
I only ever traveled to England for a total of ten days. Once.
I, too, have rewatched the same movies, over and over again, with different people or all by myself.
And I, too, have been reading The Great Gatsby once a year ever for the past decade or so.
But more tragically than all of that, I have wasted an awful lot of time vacationing on Someday Island.
“Someday I’ll be a published author. Someday I’ll find the love of my life. Someday I’ll be financially free.”
And you know what makes someday such a perverse word? We often couple it with “if only.”
We lose hope before we even embark on the journey.
And that’s how we waste our time.
The truth is that life’s a beautiful thing. Yeah, life’s pain. But it’s the kind of pain that reminds you that you are alive.
It would be quite terrible to live forever because then we’d all be kings and queens of procrastination.
You’re going to die. And I don’t say this to make you panic or anything. The panic will grow inside you, as your time runs out, as you grow tired and weary and unable to do what you’ve always wanted to do but postponed.
“The man who has anticipated the coming of troubles takes away their power when they arrive.” — Seneca
The oldest tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon, has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877. Just above the players’ entrance to the Centre Court, the tournament’s main arena, inscribed are two lines from Rudyard Kipling’s “If:”
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same
According to this website, there are 7,796,402,449 people in the world right now. It’s got to be true because it’s on the Internet, right?
Out of all these billions of people, you will only ever interact with a small percentage of them, you will only ever care about those closest to you, physically and emotionally, the ones you understand, the ones who understand you.
But at the same time, and I’m sure you noticed this, there are certain traits or habits that we loathe in others.?
We often have strong reactions to certain behaviors, but fail to respond properly to major flaws in character and personality. If you’ve never been the victim of oppression, it won’t elicit the same type of response as, say, being revolted by how reckless with their money our friends are.
These subtle traits that drive you crazyare not random. They get to you because you recognize a bit of yourself in them; they are, in fact, the traits you are most afraid of, the traits you suppress in any way you see fit.
For instance, I have a strong reaction to anyone who’s addicted to any substance, bad habit, and so on. I believe that it’s a sign of emotional weakness to be addicted to drugs, or cigarettes, or gambling.
Well… bad habits and addictions are something I struggle with. I’ve used to be addicted to a number of them over the years, and I’ve always hated myself for it.
That’s why I have never been in a relationship with someone who drinks. It’s an instant turn-off for me.
In other words, what we hate most in others is what we hate most about ourselves.
The flaws of character that drives us mad act as a sort of spotlight on similar flaws of our own, and act as a constant reminder of our daily struggle to avoid having to confront them.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” — Carl Rogers
Every night is a dark night of the soul; fear and loathing overwhelm you whenever you stare in a mirror or think about your actions. You fail at everything you do. You struggle with low self-esteem, high-functioning depression, and social anxiety.
How do you change that?
Because you’re not going to change by spending all the time wishing you didn’t feel like that; you’re not going to change by writing down a bunch of positive affirmations and reading them aloud in front of the mirror every morning.
The paradox of changing oneself is that the more you want to change a negative trait you have, the more you become it.
When it comes to getting what we want, desire is an important element. Set a goal, go all in, and achieve it. The beach body, the business, or the book you want to write, all require that you genuinely want to do them.
But when it comes to changing the inner reality of who we are, it doesn’t work that way.