7 Ways To Eliminate Self-help Programs That Won’t Work For You!

Does your head start to buzz and your eyes start to cross every time you find yourself confronted with another self-help program? I don’t blame you. So many people are on the self-help bandwagon that it has become too difficult and too time-consuming to separate the wheat from the chaff. Consequently, in the interest of sanity, you miss a lot of valuable resources because you toss everything into the trash.

Is there a solution? Yes, there is.

Every industry is full of those who talk in the abstract; that is, they don’t really have a practical knowledge of what they’re selling. Internet Marketing is a prime example. In my forays into this particular world in an attempt to educate myself, I encountered so many people who were only in it for the money. I can’t tell you how many times I have signed up somewhere just to get a glimpse of what they offered only to discover that their sales pitch had more information in it than their product. After a few months of this, I was completely burned out! I began a daily ritual of hitting the trash button every time I saw an email from some affiliate or internet marketer.

Is this the kind of experience you’ve been having with self-help books and programs? Have you tossed the baby out with the bath water rather than spend any more time trying to sort through the mass of products out there? If it is, let me share some ideas with you about what I consider the qualities of self-help programs that can make a difference.


1. Always presents information in a way that it has value for those who are seeking understanding but who have no background in the field AND it also has value for those who have been involved in the field for a while.

“For those who have eyes to see and ears to hearÂ…” This phrase means that I see and hear different things depending on where I am on my journey. If I read a particular book five years ago and thought it was great, but today my interpretation of the material is vastly different, I am in possession of a valued resource. If I am able to see deeper layers to the work as I grow, it is indeed a valued resource!

2. Discusses things in a practical way. In other words, it relates the information to situations that are common to a lot of people so that I can identify with it.

If the body of a book or program is filled with grandiose examples or the writer/teacher spends most of the time citing cases of those who have been successful with their program, this is not useful information. Someone else’s success is not my success. Their issues and their background are not necessarily the same as mine.

A valued resource gives me the “facts.” It provides all the information I need to make decisions for myself so that I can address the beliefs and attitudes that are dominant in me.

3. Does not use “catch phrases” with no attempt at explaining their significance.

For example, the word “sin” has many connotations depending on the nature of a person’s belief system. If I am to understand what they’re saying, then I need to know how they define their terms. Do they define sin as a black mark on me or as a signal that I am off my path of well-being?

4. Never tries to convince me that my success is just a matter of “doing” certain things.

Doing things in the outer world, like making lists or following a particular regimen, is only one part of the process that effects permanent change in my life. I have to be willing to examine my thoughts and my feelings as well as my actions. You run across some systems that focus almost exclusively on emulating successful people. Nothing wrong with that, unless I never look at myself because I’m always looking at the focus of my attention. When that happens, my success, if it happens, is something I’ve forced into existence. It is not something that I have developed the consciousness for. In other words, something that grew out of my understanding. Consequently, it is on a shaky foundation.

5. Encourages me to think for myself.

Any self-help program that discourages me from thinking for myself, that is, tweaking what I’ve learned to understand myself is suspect. Growth is all about thinking creatively, and I can’t very well do that if I take on the role of parrot!

6. Never promotes itself as the only source of information for my personal growth.

If a self-help program or teacher expects me to accept only what they teach, their teachings are contrary to the underlying principal of personal growth. The underlying principal of personal growth is about my being creative – taking information I receive and embracing it, molding it until it takes me to a new level of experience. To do this, I must be free to explore all ideas that seem pertinent to me. I may choose to explore all the teachings of a particular source because they resonate with me. That’s okay because it is my choice.

7. Never assures me that my life will do a complete turn-around overnight.

Sure, my life is about change, but it is life-long change. It took a long time for me to develop the attitudes or beliefs that I currently hold. Most have become unconscious ways of looking at my life. Do you seriously think this is going to change overnight? Of course, I may be able to force a particular change near term, but the moment I take my attention from it, it will revert to the path of least resistance. So, even though I may have some new experiences right off, it is superficial. Real change comes from working on the underlying causes of my experiences, and that’s a 24/7 job. There are no quick fixes for my life or yours! Anyone who tells me that they can permanently transform my entire life in a few quick and easy steps is totally ignoring 1) the work involved in change and 2) that my life is a journey of change through refinement.

Just as change takes time, so does making decisions about where to invest your energy in terms of your personal growth. Don’t get discouraged or in too big of a hurry. Read about the people presenting the information. Make sure their desire is weighted toward wanting to help you rather than making money. There is absolutely nothing wrong with anyone making a living by helping other people. The difference lies in whether the money is a by-product of helping or the money is their primary motive for presenting the information. Of course, this is not so easy to determine sometimes. If they have a web site, check out their about us page. Google them. If they have podcasts or blogs, go there and check them out. Through all of this, you can get a feeling for the person(s). Trust your instincts!

Copyright 2007 Dannye Williamsen