(On pop psy, self-help, and the the truth about change)
You read self help books because you want something to change. A truism, I know, but let’s talk about what really, for real, is going on.
Change is hard and sometimes doesn’t happen.
Meaningful books you read flash through your brain like a distant lightening storm, leaving behind… what, exactly?
WHAT SELF-HELP BOOKS ARE WRONG ABOUT
Let’s get to the nitty gritty.
The authors of these books and podcasts don’t tell you the truth about change. The reason, I think, is because they don’t know. Or maybe they have an inkling but can’t express it.
Tips and tricks are great as long as they work. But fuck them if they don’t—they are a distraction.
Fair Warning: Heady Truth below. Please muster some energy and courage to read through this next part, you might be exhausted.
Change is bio-psycho-social-temporal-environmental. Ehem, cough.
Bio: your body and bio chemistry.
Psycho: your mind and emotions, moods, attitudes, and biases.
Social: people, it’s all about people and relationships.
Temporal: your life happens in time, the day, the week, the morning, the season.
Environmental: the spaces and places you geo-locate your lovely behind—your couch in the living room, your block in the neighborhood, your car seat on the highway. Your life’s (physical) context.
All too brief and insufficient conclusion: to stop, start, or modify a behavior, you may need to change all or most of the above.
For example, to stop smoking you need to consider:
- the biological bang for the chemical buck of smoking
- the people you get to hang out with while smoking
- the afternoon break when you habitually pull out the ciggy and your hot pink lighter
To start eating more spinach, you may need to:
- change where you eat lunch with your colleagues
- talk to your partner about contents of the fridge and dinners
- find inspiration and emotional release in new recipes
Aaaaaandddd …. We’ve begun to crack the code.
More on this soon! (And always–my fav topic.)