Self help books usually don’t.
The problem is they give you a plan that you didn’t create, to reach a goal you didn’t define, via methods you don’t normally use. If you’re struggling to lose weight or make a million dollars, it’s reassuring to have a safe, proven path laid out before you. But if this sort of easy solution worked, wouldn’t all the books we need on these topics have been written by now? The truth is there is no short-cut because there is no one path that someone can tell you how to walk.
What I find works much better is having a coach. An insistent one, yelling in your ear to get off your ass and keep moving. When I took Krav Maga, the trainers alternated between encouraging and berating us, yelling and screaming and using whatever tricks they could muster to get us to push ourselves harder. There were times I hated them, but in the end I did far more kicks, punches, and burpees than I would have on my own. They ranted and supported, but it was up to me to keep trying and keep getting better.
“This might not work” isn’t merely something to be tolerated; it’s something you should seek out.
~ Poke the Box
That’s Seth Godin’s Poke the Box – an 85-page mental trainer encouraging you to Go Go Go. It’s even the way Seth wrote it – as a series of anecdotes, reminders, inspirations, admonishments, ideas, and challenges. What connected with me may not connect with you, but something in these pages is guaranteed to make you want drop the book and go do something crazy.
That’s poking the box. Not throwing random stuff at the wall, but picking your direction and driving forward. Trying something new. If that doesn’t work, trying something else.
Risk is avoided because we’ve been trained to avoid failure.
~ Poke the Box
Sounds absolutely right to me. I have my own objectives and windmills, and am always trying new ways to reach them. I’ve mucked up more than once, sometimes quite spectacularly, but I come back and try it again from a new angle. It’s out of that improvisational effort that the things I consider my biggest personal successes were born. And as a bonus all those failures make for great stories over beer.
If you’re looking for some motivation to shake up your world and deliver something new, I quite heartily recommend Poke The Box. If you’re looking for a plan to get you out of your rut in 10 Easy Steps, Poke isn’t for you. But keep on looking, as surely some other book out there will solve your problems for you. Right?