Reading Books Won’t Make You A Better Person
The number of self-help books out there in the world is absolutely absurd.
And that’s even before we get into seminars, conferences, and courses.
In the end, this industry has grown to the point that it’s bringing in $10 billion a year and still adapting to every generational shift. But it still begs the question:
If the self-improvement industry is really that big then why aren’t people having better lives?
Why do we still see so many people stuck or down in the dumps?
Why aren’t people healthier?
One of my accountability partners recently vowed to avoid reading books for the time being. Ever since I started setting goals with him, reading was a core thing to him. From his late teens, he spent a lot of time reading and accumulating knowledge.
But I believe he is making this shift to putting down the books because he recognized something.
A problem not just in the self-improvement industry but rather in books in general.
Yes, books can provide a lot of merit in our lives. They can give us a means of escape and may even provide us with some valuable life lessons. Hell books are crucial to us learning when we’re babies and are trying to learn how to speak.
Books have played an intricate role in our lives from the beginning, but there is a problem with them. And we really start to see the problem when we turn to the numerous self-help books that are out there.
You can read all the self-help books you want in the world but that doesn’t make you a better person.
No matter what genre of self-help books that we read from, people make a habit of reading books but not applying them. It’s as if we’re instinctively addicted to passively consuming content but not necessarily applying it.
Even books that try to mitigate this fact still fall short.
It may be because a lot of people who create this content are trying to “far transfer” information. This has been mainly an educational tactic that research has pointed out in 2013 doesn’t exactly work the way we’re thinking it would work.
What the research uncovered was that when people learned something, they had trouble applying that same logic in another situation. For example, the study taught students about a military tactic where an army was split into three groups and tackled a fortress from three points. They were then immediately quizzed on a problem of how to deal with a tumour. The answer in that instance was using laser treatment and hitting the tumour from three different points, similar to how the hypothetical army attacked the fortress.
But while that study showed two completely different topics, I can imagine that this same information would apply to things that are even more related to one another. That much is certainly clear as so many of us read self-help books that apply directly to our lives and yet we can’t seem to apply that knowledge.
Absolutely, it’s a matter of taking action, but this has been said so many times that it’s become stale. We’ve grown a little numb to authors, and other content creators telling us time and again that we need to apply what we learn.
But as I said above, some people simply don’t have what it takes to make that leap. To apply that knowledge and see where it takes them.
Instead, I’d look to figuring out the best way possible for you to begin applying that information. If it’s something that truly motivates you and you want something done, you’ll find a way to work around it.
And I think people are starting to catch on.
Laura Mazer, the Executive Editor at Seal Press, noted that younger folks were moving away from resolutions. And that’s a good thing as U.S. News reported that 80% of us give up on them by February.
So if it’s something that we’re really passionate about, it’s clear we need to be doing more than just “taking action” or talking about it, or soaking up a bunch of content.
We need to be taking action, but a very specific action that is right for us. Whether that’s betting on ourselves that we can hit our goal, looking at ourselves and finding a deeper reason to follow through with our goal or being around other people who are actively doing stuff.
Whatever the case may be, we need to be moving away from books for at least a little bit and start looking at our lives and seeing what we can change and how we should change it.
That is of course if you are really looking for a change.
Reading Books Won’t Make You A Better Person
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