Self Help Continuum
I am someone who loves a good Brené Brown book, a Super Soul Sunday, a Michael Meade podcast or Allan Watts voice over.
I have listened to webinars, gone on retreat or attended workshops all with the intention of becoming “unstuck” and for the most part, I come out with a little more information than when I went in. I am encouraged, slightly more settled and generally speaking – more “aware.”
But what I think we often fail to realize the importance of integration. What it takes to integrate our learnings back into our lives. Some, come out the other side wanting to completely revolutionize their lives and the lives of those around them. Others come out more lost than when they went in! So what is the right way to be present with our learnings and how do we integrate what we learned.
STOP TAKING COPIOUS NOTES
There is a saying I learned from one of my teachers “you will be wrecked on schedule”. I found this statement noteworthy as I scribbled it into my notebook of course. After 4 days of learning deep and complicated theories, I went home with my “book of knowledge” confident that I captured everything I needed. You know how many times I’ve referred back to my notes? Twice. Do you know how helpful those notes were? Not in the least. They made great sense at the time..but now.. the context is lost and so am I!
You will be wrecked on schedule is exactly that. You learn what you need, when you need it. Trying to jam in more learnings actually leads to less learning. I liken it to reading a good book. Is a good book one that you can drive through in a day? Or is a good book one that you want to savor, to think through? One read for the writing vs. one read to find out who did it? Self-Help seems to be this way – something you integrate rather than “just do”.
What sticks with you, in many ways, is how it changes your thoughts or processes. How particular things are triggered differently than before the learning. It’s not a notebook of things you need to do, it’s what has been absorbed.
GOOSE vs. GANDER
What is good for the goose, it not ALWAYS good for the gander. The class is hearing the same words but we are interpreting ideas differently, applying them different and seeing different outcomes. What I highlight in one book, maybe something that others complete skim over. You can see this if you read with Amazon Kindle. It underlines the most frequent highlights. Sometimes yes, I highlight the same things, but often not. So, what you take out of the course or book is for you, and how this shows up for you is unique, to you. It really is about making your best guess on how all of this fits in your life.
You don’t need to be a bandwagoner. You’ve seen them.. hell, we’ve all been one! We’ve got the pom-pom’s out, we’ve bought the t-shirt and every sentence starts with “Tony Robins says….” But, is it all relevant to you? Can you actually apply “all of it” to your life? Maybe “all of it” is a stretch while “some of it” really resonates? How do you begin integrating without becoming an evangelist? How does all your learnings from multitude of sources, lead to living them in a way that makes sense for you?
READING vs. LEARNING
I challenge you to choose your self-help books wisely. Brené Brown, a wonderful teacher, has such amazing learnings in her writing, but can you really read through it and say you’ve learned it? What have you learned if you’ve only read the words?
Being read and being skilled are two different things. Choose skilled.
Continue to learn but learn deeply, not broadly. Take one topic you want to understand more of and completely become immersed in it. For the sake of continuity, let’s take Brené Brown’s Vulnerability as an example. How does life change when you practice vulnerability? How does this vulnerability show up in your life today and what are you comfortable braving today?
Vulnerability is such a huge life journey, do you really need to get into the next book? Is reading the next book just a version of distraction? Is it your way of not having to really make relevant what was read in the first book.
So I implore you to go through your stack of self help books and pick up one that you think is worthy of a reread. Challenge yourself to see what you’ve applied, what resonated before vs. now? What have you learned?
Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash
Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash