Why knowing stuff is way more important than doing stuff, and other amazing lessons self-help has taught me.

By E.F Nicholson 

Self-help, self-growth, self-improvement, self-selfing and all the self-related literature are tools I have personally consumed much of, and they’ve really helped me a lot. Minus my crack addiction, my spiralling gambling debts and my recent Hep C infection, I personally couldn’t be happier. Having any kind of problem, you can be assured there is a book tailored to you. Is your parrot not talking, and in its own way passively aggressively and unfairly taking out their parrot trauma on you, making you feel unworthy? Never fear; there is book for you: Polly doesn’t want a cracker: How to deal with emotionally detached parrots: Their trauma and yours, now in its 6th edition.

penisNever in human history have we had access to so much knowledge on how to be happy. It’s obviously working; how else do you explain those who are not one of the 30 million people on antidepressants in the US and not part of half the population addicted to some form of escapism? Some could argue we don’t need a book to tell us how to be happy, that being happy comes naturally and effortlessly when we are aligned to who we really are and living in healthy and supportive environments. Yeah, right. Whoever said that obviously hasn’t read the best seller Happiness doesn’t come naturally and anyone who says so is a loser.

So whatever the emotional upset, self-help is here to cure it. With the tapping of your fingers you can go on Amazon and get access to those who know what to do, how to do it, when it should be done and why, in fact, now is a good time to start. Then, if you’re really lucky, they even explain what “it” actually is, although personally I’m still trying to work it out. Every time we reach out and get someone else to answer our fundamental life questions, we affirm to the world our learnt helplessness. Luckily for us, we have self-help to aid us in realising how truly helpless we are. We reach for the expert in happiness, love, reducing stress and preventing blading, as it seems what we lack, they have.

howtobetotallyunhappynewcoverI recently read Happy Chappy: 9 ways to be happy, which validates the 9 reasons I was not happy, and the original title for the book now makes sense: Suck it: 9 reasons your life sucks and mine doesn’t. I was blessed with these 9 action steps to achieve my happiness, but there was one problem. Knowing information mentally isn’t the same as being able to integrate that knowledge into practical day-to-day life. That being the case, I then bought the book How to integrate knowledge into day-to-day life. The problem, I found, is that I am a serious procrastinator, which comes from not handling stress very well. So, of course, I never got around to ordering the book on procrastination, but I did manage to buy Stress less: How to be stress-free in 7 glorious days. This way, if I can reduce my stress I will have the emotional space to take the 9 steps to be happy and unsuckify my life. Yet, wouldn’t you know it, just as my stress level started reducing, my mother-in-law paid us a visit. She is very controlling and my wife is totally dependent on her every word, so 9 steps to happiness when she is around? Forget it! More like “9 steps to kidnapping your mother-in-law and hitting a big pay day with the ransom.” So I get my wife the “Stop being co-dependent” book, hint hint, and of course I just had to buy the book Mother smother: The way to deal with controlling mothers. Seeing as she is so controlling and meddling, she seemed to have intercepted the mail, and the book never arrived. This forced me to buy on Kindle You aimed way too high: How to deal with deep disappointment. The problem this time was that I couldn’t install Kindle properly on my iPad, which to say the least was very disappointing, and what was worse, I didn’t even know how to deal with that. Finally, I installed Kindle and now I can read it. Yet I just can’t seem to find the motivation to pick it up. “What’s wrong with me,” I wonder. So I then ordered the book Stop sabotaging your life and be happy today. As you can imagine, I unconsciously gave the wrong address and the book never got here.

Never-Give-UpDespite all of this, I am still determined to learn how to practice the 9 steps to happiness, by learning to integrate the knowledge, whilst not procrastinating, reducing my stress and not being controlled, all the while managing my expectations with the assurance I don’t end up sabotaging the whole process. Then I suddenly looked at all these books I had ordered and the real problem was staring me in the face. I didn’t need to read the 9 steps on happiness. This whole time, the solution was right before my eyes. With all these books on improving this and improving that, it seems obvious now: the real issue was that I needed a book on how to manage my time more effectively. How else am I going to read all these?