Do you like personal development books or are you basically content with your current level of mediocrity? Unless there is a major problem, most of us are happy with the status quo.
Or perhaps you’re a personal development addict and read self-help books incessantly. If so, have you gotten better or are you more of a personal development reader than a personal development developer?
Or maybe you hate self-help books and consider them fufu literature for wusses who can’t help themselves. Well, if that’s the case, then clearly you don’t need any further improvements in the compassionate attitude department.
Well, I love personal development books. Partly because personal development is what I do. I’m an author and speaker whose goal is to help people have a better existence. I don’t consider myself a guru or “America’s Best” at anything but I am a guy with a few ideas that I believe can help. The other reason I love personal development books is that we’re never really quite done. There’s a lot of life to live, at least for most of us. And if we can live better, even for just one day, then that’s pretty cool.
One of the problems with most personal development books, however, is that they can be embarrassing to purchase. Who really wants to walk into a bookstore and buy, “Low Self Esteem and the Reasons You’re No Good” or “I’m OK, But You’re Messed Up.” or “An Idiot’s Guide” to anything? It’s a little intimidating.
Then, if you can get past the embarrassment hurdle and actually buy one of those books, you have to implement all the steps. Honestly, I’ve found that some books can be way too complicated. Even “7 Steps” (of Highly Effective People) is a stretch. I don’t generally trust anything that promises “easy steps” if there are more than one or two. In fact, that’s why I have a remote control for my television, a calculator for multiplying numbers, and a car. They save steps. I don’t need more steps.
But, if you’ve noticed, putting big numbers in the title seems to sell these books. There’s “101 Ways” to do this. “12 Steps” to avoid doing that. And “50 Shades” of, well, inter-personal development. Apparently, by adding numbers, these books promise a tangible path to success, wealth, buns of steel, or steel on your buns in the case of “50 Shades of Gray” (So I’m told).
I’d much rather buy a self-help book that recognizes my innate limitations and appeals to my natural laziness. And it must include a little humor. For instance, I’d love to see these titles on the shelves at Barnes and Noble:
“The Only Habit of Highly Effective Nuns” (Get it, nuns…habits!)
“2 Steps to the Top of Your Stairs”
“The Commode Less Traveled:” (You groan but this IS something we all seek, is it not?)
The bottom line, so to speak, is that we need simple rather than complicated. I won’t watch my diet if it requires keeping track of every single calorie. I won’t exercise if I have to track the time I spend on each muscle group. And I won’t improve my relationships if I have to count the times I’ve offered positive rather than negative feedback. There are too many steps.
So, I chose to keep it simple. Do it Well. Make it Fun. Two steps. Easy.
But I suspect you knew I would say that.
If you want to improve, and I suggest that you should, try to eliminate the extra steps and find a way to make the remaining steps fun. That way, you’ll actually want to improve. It really IS that simple.
For Ron’s white paper on Do it Well, Make it Fun, click here.