When it comes to personal development, there are a lot of people who are quite against this self help movement. They are the ones that say it is all hogwash and that it doesn’t work, and they are both right and wrong about it!
Self improvement works and it works very well if YOU are willing to put the effort in, and this is where the movement falls down. People today in Western cultures, and increasingly in Eastern cultures due to Western influences, expect something for nothing. They have very low attention spans probably not much longer than a music TV and are conditioned to believe that they can get things for nothing or for very little work. TV shows like the X Factor, American Idol and so forth have glamourized getting something with what appears to be very little work. Teenagers firmly believe that being a superstar involves no work, not realizing just how much gruelling hard work is involved.
If you wanted to be a brilliant guitar player, would you expect to pick up a guitar, having not played it before and play like Jimi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen or any other top guitarist after a few minutes of messing around?
Of course you wouldn’t.
Yet people insist on picking up a personal development book, audio program, dvd set or attending a seminar and expecting to walk away afterwards with their life changed.
It doesn’t work like that, I’m sorry! You have to actually do some work. Reading a book about becoming richer isn’t actually going to make you any richer. In fact, it will make you poorer becuase you had to pay for the book!
All of these programs will, to some degree, work and work very well but unless you consistently apply what you learn from those books then you cannot expect any results. The key word here is consistently.
Of the millions of self help books sold every year, probably less than 10% of them get read cover to cover. Most end up gathering dust before being donated to some charity drive. Of the 10% that get read, I would probably estimate over half of those, if not more, take no action, expecting life to change because they read the book or decided the book was not “right” for them.
Something like 40-45% of the 10% who actually finish a book give it a go applying it. They try for a day or two, make a bit of an effort, write a few things down, you know … maybe you’ve done it yourself? I know I have. After a couple of days life takes over and they get distracted and there’s all sorts of other things to do so they forget about what they were doing.
I reckon less than 5% of people who finish a self help book actually apply it and get results of varying degrees.
Now why is this when they’ve all read the same book?
It takes consistent effort and focus for someone to make a change in your life. Unless you are in an extreme emotional state, making changes can take time and effort. You need to condition yourself so that the change becomes not only a habit but a part of you. You don’t get ready to run a marathon by running around the block once or twice. You train consistently and regularly.
This can be quite difficult, particularly when trying to conquer negative thoughts. You will find them slipping through and then you’ll beat yourself up and tell yourself it doesn’t work. Accord to the universal law of attraction, the universe will say, “Your wish is my command” and it won’t work.
Every time you slip backwards instead of telling yourself off, congratulate yourself on catching yourself slipping and righting yourself again. It takes time and you have to be your best friend and be patient.
How long will it take to make changes stick?
Well, it depends on how long you’ve had the negative behaviour, how firmly entrenched it is and how consistent and focused you are in your efforts to make it happen. It could take anything from a few days to a few weeks or even months. But if you are consistent and focused you will notice the changes and the changes will amaze you.
Literally you can do anything you want IF you put your mind to it.
If you are wanting to change negative behaviour then whenever you catch yourself participating in that behaviour, very nicely and firmly tell yourself no and do the opposite positive behaviour. So if you are having a negative thought, catch it, look at it, turn it into a positive one. Repeat the positive thought 5 or 6 times in your mind in a strong, confident tone of voice.
If you find yourself in a negative situation or a situtation that is upsetting or distressing to you then you have to look for the good in it. Tony Robbins always says to ask “What’s good about this situation?” or you could ask “How can I feel good about this now?” or something similar. This simple reframing is going to help you to change the negative conditioning into a positive conditioning that empowers and transforms your life.
Simply put, the next time you are reading a self help book, don’t just put it down afterwards. Take inspired, consistent action from what you have learnt and you will see some incredible results. You really can create the life of your dreams, it’s just it’s going to take some effort.