I was in a bookstore tonight and wandered into the self-help section. There are a lot of good books out there. Of course, some of the self-help/self-improvement books, but I’d bet that well over 75% contain lots of good insights that would improve your life—if you acted on them.
If. That’s a key word. Whether it’s personal finance or cognitive behavioral therapy, it’s much easier for me to read all these great ideas than it is to do them. And it feels good to read. Learning is great—I love it and I hope I’ll keep on doing it my whole life.
The problem comes when we spend so much time learning that we don’t do. Or perhaps we’re paralyzed by our mental hangups and can’t bring ourselves to act.
We can reading Getting Things Done or Zen To Done (just won it from Christian PF–very exciting so far) but they don’t mean that we’ll actually get things done.
As a Zen master once said “I must leave now, to use the bathroom. Such a small and insignificant thing, but none of you can do it for me.” (I’m paraphrasing, he wasn’t quite that polite about it.)
David Allen and Leo cannot organize our lives. Well, they could if we paid them lots of money to do it and acted on their recommendations.
In fact, I have a hunch that it might be easier to act if we were actually interacting with them. I know it was easier to do CBT when I had regular therapy.
How do you do it? How do you translate the inspiration you get from books into everyday life?
Do you have to keep rereading the books? I keep a copy of Feeling Good around and reread sections periodically.
Do you make yourself notes or reminders urging you to act? I wrote “CBT!” on a sticky and stuck it on my work computer. Reminded me of what to do if I felt I couldn’t take things anymore.
Do you do something else? We’d all love to know.
Or are you still learning how to translate reading into action? I’m definitely there too.