Confession: I am a consumer of self-help industry.
It started decades ago with Harry Lorayne and his book.
The Harry Lorayne Mental Magnetism Course
With a title like that, how could I resist.
The sales pitch: How To . . .
- Organize the Power of Your Mind
- Organize the Power of Your Personality
- Develop Steel-Shutter Concentration
- Build a Will of Iron
Lorayne was a successful magician and author in the 1960s, well known for feats of mental recall during his shows, such as memorizing the name of every audience member. If his methods worked for him, why not me?
I was hoping to develop a little mental magnetism of my own, the first step towards solving all my problems.
It Didn’t Work
Just like some much of the self-help materials, it didn’t work.
If you’re wondering when this quest started . . .
Let’s just say that trying to achieve mental prowess while still in high school is a losing battle. All of my mental energy was consumed by trying to look cool for girls and simultaneously not appearing as easy prey for the bullies. It’s a delicate balance.
What mental energy remained was spent on homework.
I continued my self-help quest over the years. I’m hardly alone. In the US alone it’s $10 billion/year business.
If the stuff actually worked, would it continue to grow year after year?
I’ve read a lot of book reviews that say:
“This book totally changed my life”
I always wonder — if we checked back in 6 months, what degree of change really occurred.
Are they buying a new book every 6 months?
Are they being “totally changed” every 6 months?
This isn’t a recent phenomenon. You could argue that the self-help concept goes all the way back to the writings of the Greek philosophers.
And Stoicism is making a big comeback. Check out Amazon and see how many books have been published in the past few years on the Stoic philosophers.
Why are millions of us reading this material? What are we hoping to achieve?
Personally, I’m looking for:
- More peace of mind and less stress
- Improved self-awareness and mental clarity
- More efficiency
My list probably matches millions of others.
The terms “more” and “improved” are very subjective.
But, since I’m listing those, it’s obvious that I consider my current levels inadequate.
Achieving high levels is the key to success — or so we believe
And, that’s what drives the industry.
I’m sure some people are actually helped. Whether or not the benefit is in the methods or the placebo effect—I’m not sure that really matters. If a person is convinced it’s helping, then who can argue?
But, none of the self-help I consumed seemed to be doing a great job. So, I developed The Clarity Journal.
The basic premise behind my effort is to get clarity and self-awareness. Clarity includes external events, actions and other people. Self-awareness in simply knowing yourself, what motivates and energizes you, what are your negative patterns of behavior and traps you fall into.
It just seemed obvious that the paht to self improvement requires these two components.
- Clarity ( a clear and unbiased understanding of the external conditions)
- Self-Awareness (a clear and unbiased understanding of myself)
If I can achieve these, or even come close, then the correct decision in every situation should be obvious.
How do you get there? You journal every day.
Here’s another post on journaling you may enjoy.
Here’s a link to my habit challenge. It’s a great way to supercharge your habits and make sure they include journaling.