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Self Help Has Brainwashed Us into Misunderstanding Its Real Use

Self Help Has Brainwashed Us

Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash


The world is at war with cold shower bros.

If you’re one of these people then watch out. Twitter missiles are coming your way. Thankfully I hate cold showers. I need my shower to be so warm it turns my skin red, makes it peel, and nearly leaves burn marks.

I fell in love with self-help many years ago, not because it was cool, but as a survival mechanism. Undiagnosed mental illness caused daily torture. I turned to self-help as a last resort. It actually worked. Trips to the gym helped release endorphins after my workout that enhanced my mood.

Neuroplasticity helped me learn to rewire my brain.

I’m using it again today to overcome tinnitus, a hearing condition created by the brain. I tried meditation and found it difficult, so I found my own way to become present again and stop living in the future. That severely reduced my anxiety.

Self-help works. We’ve been brainwashed by social media trolls seeking to get views and attention to hate it. Don’t fall for the hype. Here’s how to rethink self-help so it works for you, not against you.

Self-help can accidentally lead you off a cliff with the sheep

The point of self-help is to inspire you to take your life to the next level with practical ideas and strategies.

It’s not to follow some BS rules and become a 4 AM cold shower guru.

There are no rules with self-help. Rules are for schmucks. School taught us to be good little boys and girls and follow the rules. Real life is far more complex. The point of self-help is to break every rule and find what works for you.

I like to be productive, but I don’t like to have a sore back. I like music to help enhance my flow states, but I don’t want to cause further hearing loss after already doing damage, thanks to noise-canceling headphones.

I like to go to the gym, but I’m terrible at lifting weights after being absent for so long, thanks to a global health crisis. So I go to the gym and lift the baby weights.

The bros laugh.

I smile back. I do the best I can. The 2KG dumbbell feels heavy to me. My arms shake when I lift. Yes I look like Gumby. Yes I suck. Yes I have no endurance. Yes I’m weak. Yes I don’t eat manly steak or kiss 6-foot tall busty blondes after I finish my workout.

I’m doing the best I can. All you can do is be unashamedly yourself.

Don’t become Rocky Balboa and overdo it

A lot of self-help goes too far.

There’s a new trend on Twitter where gym buffs turn animal organs into popsicles. Then they lick the heart of a cow like it’s an icy pole and film it for their followers.

This is self-help gone mad.

Calm your farm. Some self-help is disguised as acts from a Las Vegas magic show with Penn & Teller. It’s done for likes not practicality. If you try and implement every technique you learn, it will overwhelm you.

Start with a small change. Add a new tiny habit and see how you go. See if it makes a difference. Do it for 21 days to turn it into a routine. Then consider what else you might want to add.

Think of self-help like this from now on

There are so many life hacks with self-help. As a human guinea pig, I tried to do them all. Many didn’t work. The trick isn’t to try and adopt every self-help piece of advice on the planet.

It’s to do what works for you.

Read self-help. Watch it on Youtube. Listen to it via podcasts. Then choose what makes sense for you and what doesn’t. I watched a video yesterday on calendar hacks. It required me to switch to Gmail.

I can’t be assed doing that so most of what I learned is useless. Except one technique suggested I color-code important events in my calendar as red. I use that trick and it’s a life-saver. The rest of the advice I chucked in the bin.

Use your gut feeling to choose self-help that works for your life.

Don’t take anything as gospel

None of the self-help industry is 100% right.

Not all of it is based on hard research. Some is experimental. Some is pseudo-science. It is what it is. Consume self-help with an open mind and don’t get sucked into the self-help gospel.

Remember: the point is to improve your life, not sign up for a new type of religion.

One class of citizen is left out

A friend of mine became a dad yesterday. He’s cuddling his new baby girl and in love with his transformed life. Meanwhile, I renamed him “sugar daddy.” He doesn’t love my humor.

Since his daughter was born all of his self-help hacks have gone out the window. He’s changing nappies, instead of riding his mountain bike. His phone is on 24/7 in case an emergency happens with his tiny family. He hasn’t read a single page of a book in 24 hours.

OMG! *Does outrage face*

The truth is when you have a family (so I’m told) parts of self-help don’t work anymore or need to change. That’s fine. Self-help makes it seem like parents are stupid or lazy. My friend taught me they’re not. They’ve just discovered something better than self-help in the short term. No problemo.

Self-help works for parents too. You simply have to apply lots of filters to many of the ideas to come up with what will practically work.

Let’s end on this positive note

Ignore what the self-help critics say. Adapt what you learn through self-help and make it your own.

The point of self-help is to be a slightly better version of yourself than you were a year ago.

If you’re doing that then you’re already winning. Everything else is self-help clickbait designed to steal your attention and make a hater rich. Make yourself rich instead by improving yourself, so you can buy back your time.


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Tim Denning
I am an Aussie Blogger with 500M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. You may have seen my work on Medium, LinkedIn, Bitclout, or Twitter.

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