Self help has been a bit of a taboo phrase in the past, an admission of weakness and often paired with the ‘single and lonely’ crowd. In the past few years it’s had an epic revival, the millenials want motivation, they want to be told they’re ‘special’ and they ‘can do it’..whatever it is. Well I’m here to tell you that I am one such millenial and I’m not afraid to admit it.
I have a strong work ethic but I lack that all American (apologies American readers but I’m using this is stereotype in the most positive light, promise) belief in myself and listening to audio books like The Year Of Yes & Miracle Morning really pep me up. I’m never going to get out of bed at 6am and look at my dream journal but there are elements that I can absorb from even the most outlandish of texts that make me feel like I really can conquer the world.. even if only for the next 10 minutes.
My favourite self help books often aren’t even labelled as such, they’re rather coyly dubbed ‘autobiogaphies’ and the best are read by the author themselves in audio form. I can’t get enough of celebrities sharing their stories, what they’ve learned (in fact, Davina McCall “Lessons I’ve Learned” is one of my absolute favourites) in their lives so far and what events took place to lead them to their successes. The best lessons come from things that have gone wrong and I’m afraid I just can’t take advice from someone for whom everything has come easily.
I like to read (listen, I’m lazy) about relationships, about parenting, work, anything people want to talk about. I was about to say that if blogs came in audio form I’d be all for them but I realised.. they do! Podcasts are another love of mine, I like advice shows, comedy, all sorts but again my favourites always come back to the hosts sharing something of themselves I feel that I can learn from. Often in giving advice to someone else you reveal something about yourself, an experience, a point of view, I just really enjoy hearing the many different sides of life.
I realise that this sounds like I’ve flipped you to audio book loving right now (and that’s partly true) but there are few non-fiction books (audio and non) that you can’t take something away from. Whether it be direct self help or self help by way of observation, in fact (this is going to sound bananas but) I’ve actually learned a great deal about myself by watching reality shows. I’ve identified less than desirable personality traits in other peoples interactions that are similar to my own and it’s helped me to work on myself.
I would wager that every one of you has indulged in self help in some way shape or form. For example, I know I’m (technical term) mouthy. I can talk and talk with little regard for my co-chatter but when I meet someone like me who doesn’t let me get a word in it makes me stop and consider my own behaviour. When you recognise something in yourself that you don’t like in others and you make and effort not to do that anymore, that’s self help!
Whether it be ‘get up and go’ or just simply learning to be better, there is something out there that can help you and if you’re open to it I can’t recommend it enough. Autobiographies are a great way to start because they’re passive life lessons without feeling like you’re being preached to. If you want a real kick up the back side however, we have you covered there too. Below are some of my favourite reads (listens) from last year.. those with a * next to them have been listened to at least 3 times.
Year Of Yes – Shonda Rhimes*
Yes Please – Amy Poehler*
Lessons I’ve Learned – Davina McCall
The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher
Wildflower – Drew Barrymore*
Get Your Shit Together – Sarah Knight
Girl Walks In To A Bar – Rachel Dratch
The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A Fuck – Sarah Knight*
The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod
Bossypants – Tina Fey*