The Self-Help Generation

The Self-Help Generation

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” – Tony Robbins

If you take a look at my books, scattered around my ‘man cave’, you will see a lot of books that fit into the self-help category. I am not ashamed of it. Although I wonder, when I find another book from this category on my door mat, if I haven’t read enough by now. Not all, but definitively some books just get me fired up, especially the ones on business, growth, and learning.

In my eyes a good book, informs and educates me, but at the same time motivates me. It shows me the actions to take and why I should take them. Like a motivational speaker, the text grabs you by the throat and shakes your belief. You can do it, you will do it, you are on your way to success. Whatever success may means to you, I value the distant care of the writer for me to reach my success.

When I open Instagram, I get hit in the face with hundreds of motivational quotes and inspirational words. Wow! Although sometimes they seem somewhat superficial and corny, I happily take part and I write motivational words every day to myself, and anyone who’s interested. The fact that all the young people have access to these quotes and positive vibes is fascinating. Could we be part of the Self-Help Generation?

Do you believe in unlimited possibilities? Can anyone reach their life goal, just by believing? Will we see an entire generation living fulfilled lives? Who knows. I certainly hope so. The information, knowledge, and experiences of those who tell you how, is readily accessible. Books are cheap, internet is free and motivational speakers stalk you in every corner of Instagram. The power is yours.

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It’s true, that once you’ve read half a dozen books, you’ve read them all. But like Zig Ziglar said: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” And taking in motivational quotes, inspirational stories, and success tips is good, as long as you need it.

The thing I find most important about this development is the underlying mindset. I first learned about it in a Strategy course at University. The development of business strategy was portrayed as being on a continuum between Choice (or Free Will) versus Determinism. In what way could you fully decide the outcome of the future with choices made now. And in what way are you just a pawn on a chess board, outside of your control.

This suspense between choice and determinism can also be seen in our own lives. The strategy we pursue in our career, and how we handle health, family and love, are all part of our mindset. Are you more of a choice kind of person? Do you think you can control the outcome of your career, learn a skill you have no experience in, and influence the major flow of your life? Or are you more of a determinist? Do you think that things come as they come and you can’t do anything about it, do you think innate talent is the major determinant of where your career will lead you?

When you look at the scientific research the real world truth will of course lie somewhere in the middle. We have influence over major choices (at least we believe we do; our mind plays more tricks on us than we are aware of), and at the same time the world definitively has a lot more things going on that you can NOT influence. Just try to plan for a sunny weekend in the Netherlands.

My point is this. What counts is what you believe. And for me it is the belief that I do have influence over my future. Because this mindset WORKS for me. I can learn new skills. I can become who I want to be. I can design my career as I wish. I learn and become experienced. I will do things, make mistakes and grow. I will take full responsibility for my life. Not because it is the full scientific truth, but because it works for me. I design my life. I design my happiness. A choice mindset works for me. I am sure it will work for you too.

 

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