Unlock Your Self Improvement Power!!!
Unlock your self improvement power!!!
It's sentences like this that give the entire arena of self improvement a bad name.
It makes self improvement seem like what it isn't (magical) when what it is, or what it SHOULD be, is a very logical way of going about improving yourself through your own efforts and abilities; but - I'm sorry to say - self improvement doesn't allow EVERYONE to do and become EVERYTHING. I do, of course, believe it helps, but it's not super-enhancing mystical wizardry or any such nonsense as that.
And it particularly irks me when I see the author of a website stating he's unlocked the self improvement power within himself and is now rolling in money and dripping with power, and he can help you (because you're so special to him, apparently) have the same success, yet his website looks as though it was designed in about ten minutes by a ten year old with a color co-ordination problem, and his articles are FILLED with grammatical and spelling errors.
People who own sites like the one I'm speaking about, in the above paragraph, are either ignorant, deluded, or - MOST OFTEN - they are, quite simply, blood-sucking charlatans.
If someone had to show me statistics stating there are more conmen in the self improvement profession than in any other profession, I wouldn't be at all surprised.
Now I'm not saying all those who make bold statements about self improvement are crocks; I'm merely saying they're the sorts of people I normally PERSONALLY stay away from.
They often promise a great deal (and, ironically, deliver absolutely nothing) by saying something along the lines of: all they need from you is to take but a SMALL portion of your monetary earnings in exchange for INFINITE rewards.
And I'm not sure what irritates me more... the fact that so many of these swindlers exist, or that there are presumably so many desperate and foolish people in the world who ensure these swindlers CAN exist.
So if anyone EVER tries to sell you on the idea that self improvement is a process that ONLY they can guide you through, using a special mental formula that you couldn't have thought up without them, then be careful. That way lies danger. At best, your wallet will suffer the consequences; at worst, you will.
But I'm not going to only be discussing the topic of conmen in this article; rather I'll mostly discuss why many (if not 'all') self improvement websites - including, perhaps, this one - are sometimes not quite as spectacular as you wish them to be.
The Facts About Self Improvement Facts
When all is said and done, you PHYSICALLY gain NOTHING from self improvement websites, not even a book to use as a paperweight.
Sure you gain knowledge, which sounds like a lot, but it’s not ABSOLUTELY factual in nature, so it’s not that fun sort of ‘knowledge is power’ knowledge which does indeed, quite often, benefit one.
The knowledge to be gained from self improvement websites (and any other self improvement material in whatever capacity its presented to you in) is simply a person’s SUBJECTIVE ideologies, normally based on said person’s first-hand observations (or second-hand understandings of another person’s first-hand observations); or else it IS objective, because it's based on psychological studies (which ARE scientific in nature), but those studies are not ENTIRELY conclusive in their findings. So while the knowledge may be correct, and therefore it may indeed be hugely helpful to you, you will never REALLY know for sure if it is ‘factually’ correct.
If, however, you’re dead-certain a piece of self improvement material worked for you, then this still isn’t proof of its validity; it's simply proof that the human mind can be exceptionally flexible in changing from one state to another.
To put it in other terms: Maybe ‘thinking positively’ makes you feel positive simply because you imagine that that logic sounds logical enough, so your mind makes it a mental reality as a result. It's called the 'placebo effect'.
And to put it in a way where I risk sounding totally conceited... You feel positive because you feel positive that feeling positive will make you feel positive.
Now if you take nothing away from what I've just written, at least remember this: when a person says they can help you psychologically and what they have to offer is ALL based on fact, I would have to say they are talking about Subjective Facts. And when you think about it, Subjective Facts are kind of ‘oxymoronic’.
The reason I say self improvement knowledge - while often based on people’s MANY observations of a generic humanity - is perhaps not always entirely legitimate is because one expert’s ‘facts’ quite frequently differ from another experts ‘facts’ in way of psychology. Now as much as I hate thinking in such black and white terms, I believe that a ‘fact’, by definition, is either something or something else, but not both, or even something in-between. Two people (or more) cannot have differing facts on the same point, only differing opinions. And when one point can be ‘proved’ JUST AS GREATLY as another point, that means neither of the statements or theories regarding said point were proved. If you were to say a cloud is round, this is not a fact (although it is obviously not totally subjective either). If you were to rather say a cloud is sometimes round, this is closer to a fact than the first statement, but still not quite right. If you were to say a cloud takes on many different shapes, you’ve successfully spoken an objective fact into reality. Well done! You just made a more concrete statement than most self improvement experts ever do when 'speaking professionally'.
Many 'authorities' on the matter of self improvement give advice as though it’s the most perfect advice you could hear, then they themselves seem to perform quite poorly (and worse, far often) in the everyday lives of their minds. If I read a self improvement article, I make sure the writer never sells his/ her advice to me as the ‘only way to live’, because I subjectively believe that is total hogwash. And if an author of a self improvement orientation doesn’t know this to be false about his/ her own writing, then I would be careful of taking too seriously anything they have to say, for they may be about to take you on a power trip, having you along simply as their passenger. If they do know their writing cannot be totally perfect, but are selling it to you this way anyway, again I would be careful of taking too seriously anything they have to say because then their end-goals will most likely involve something far more sinister than a mere power-trip.
Sometimes self improvement is even worse than being merely a waste of your time though.
If it were to become one’s only (or most important) source of all knowledge regarding the human psyche, then it becomes dangerous. Never believe anything that another person tells you (or that a voice in your head tells you, for that matter) completely, because it might be detrimental information for your mind. In fact, don’t even believe me when I say don’t believe anything anybody else says absolutely. Who knows? My opinions on this matter are also subjective, and perhaps there is someone out there who DOES have all the answers, and is now supplying them to an online person like yourself (or to a community of online people like yourself).
Maybe the business of self improvement is ALL a scam though because - when you think about it - feelings aren’t even real.
You feel your feelings... okay fine... but nobody else does. People feel their own feelings, which are often times the same (we imagine) as our own, but they’re not tangible and nobody feels things in a standard way, even in relation to themselves sometimes.
The truth is, however, I’m not an android, so I don’t really believe this, but it is something worth thinking about; not with your heart though (because that’s an organ to pump blood with, not to think with) but with your brain’s mind... with your ‘thinking mind’ and your ‘feeling mind’ and your ‘sceptical mind’ and your sometimes ‘dumbly optimistic mind’. For starters.
So why read information supplied on a self improvement website?
Why read ANY of the information on THIS self improvement website?
Well, dear jury, from my totally subjective opinion on the matter (again): do so because, at the very least, it springboards your thinking in a direction when you are wanting (or needing) a jump-start.
I’m perhaps not qualified enough (academically) to give any advice to you concerning how you should think or live (or both or more) but, then again, nobody else is either, from my perspective. Not even the ridiculously qualified people who earn a pretty bundle, but essentially quite often don’t do much more than make weather forecasts... base a judgement on something that IS very likely, but nonetheless still merely an ‘educated’ stab in the dark.
Anyone in the self improvement business is therefore 'sort of a fraud', myself included.
Psychologists and psychiatrists are just more qualified frauds who’ve established themselves in a long line of - very often - highly intelligent sort-of frauds who had better (slightly more reliable, that is) fraudulent opinions on matters of the mind than many others. I think.
What Am I ULTIMATELY Getting At Though?
I would recommend your readings on self improvement to be sourced from many different 'pools', or - maybe more importantly - from many differently original pools that come from websites that at least seem reputable. Eg: a poor website to learn of the intricate ways in which the human mind works would not be one called ‘Bob’s Home Of Help For You And Your Mindaroo... and don’t forget to check out our discount section!’.
The above advice will no doubt send traffic away from my website (unfortunately), but you have to leave this digital shoulder of the universe sometime anyway, so I may as well recommend you leave for a website which heralds at least as much quality as I hope mine does, if not more.
NB: Should you find a self improvement website that is quite obviously far superior to mine, please advise me on the matter so that I can take notes on it... before making my plans to then utterly destroy it. Ahem.
Being entirely serious again, however: My main point in writing this article is to remind you that while being positive is all well and good (it's the corner-stone of positive psychology, in fact), being positive about rubbish (to phrase is politely) is not all well and good.
And so this article is one of the few I'll write where I'll not only NOT advocate being positive, but will instead argue in favor of BEING NEGATIVE.
It's perhaps more important in this day and age, than ever before, to learn to be sceptical about what you read and to know how to validate the truth of findings, because we're able to get our hands on more data now than any of our forefathers were ever able to. But much of that data is useless (less than useful) or harmful (full of harm).
And sometimes we preach the wrong advice and 'facts' to each other, but not on purpose; simply because we sometimes don't know better ourselves. So be wary of what people tell you (whoever they may be) and don't be afraid to question them on what they might happen to be saying.
For that matter, question your own thoughts too.
As with the scientific method, try and disprove your ideas. If you can't, then you've got something to work with. If you can, then rethink your thoughts. And if you can't prove or disprove your thinking either way, then the 'belief you hold', whatever it is, may not be worth feeling so precious about.
Being (and remaining) positive is important, but having (and retaining) balance is more important. So don't always JUST be positive; be negative too sometimes, when the situation seems to call for it.
What do I mean by 'be negative'?
Many regard 'being critical' as a negative thing, and it generally is. But it's a negative thing that OFTEN produces positive results if you're critical in an intelligent or scientific way.
If you don't know about the 'scientific method' (which teaches the best way to be critical), then I implore you to read the Simple Wikipedia entry on the topic here. Another way of gaining 'a grasp' of the scientific method is to perform a Google image search on the words 'scientific method'. You'll find many of the most simple illustrations explaining how it works.
Inspired by Carl Sagan, Michael Shermer wrote an interesting article about 'baloney detection' where he discusses methods to employ when trying to ascertain if somebody is presenting you with 'false facts'.
And while I'm still feeling 'link-sharing crazy', here's another Unlock Your Self Improvement Power... Yeah Right sort of article, that you might find interesting (albeit it may be a bit crudely written at times).
All that out of the way, I must - one last time - warn you that while I have a BA in Psychology, I’m not a psychologist, and maybe this is why I wrote this entire tiny little article. Perhaps I’m merely trying to discredit everyone else in the self improvement field just to bring everyone down to my level because I’m not yet at their level of qualification. But maybe not. And if you’re game, I’m hoping you’ll find that out for yourself by reading a little more of what I have to say! If nothing else, I'll hopefully at least amuse you somewhat along the way and get you thinking!
Lastly, I think ‘weight-loss programs’ are GENERALLY also bunk. But that’s definitely a topic for a totally separate article. I just felt the need to mention it as a random concluding side-note.
OTHER RECOMMENDED ARTICLES
* Finding Reliable Sources
* The Power Of The Subconscious Mind
* The Heart Of Self Improvement
* Self Hypnosis
* Free Self Improvement Downloads
To return to the main Mental Health Articles page, CLICK HERE.
To return to the Homepage, CLICK HERE.