Sundays and Self-Improvement

I’m currently reading yet another self-improvement book. I can’t recommend it as I’m currently wondering whether to carry on reading it, and one of the few things that I have learned from it is that extremely successful people say “no” more often than people who are merely ordinarily successful.

So I’m close to saying “no”, I won’t waste more of my life on this book. It’s strident in tone, doesn’t really explain the concept of being extreme and isn’t giving much in the way of insight.

Fortunately, being a Kindle book, it was cheap, it hasn’t killed a tree and nobody else will have to suffer as I can’t pass it on.

It’s even worse than the last one. I decided I would benefit from a book on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. So far, I haven’t. I kept falling asleep when I read it. This probably isn’t the fault of the book as I have a habit of buying psychology books despite knowing that they have a soporific effect on me. I’m going to persist with this one as I think it has something for me.

I can finish most books, including the one about eating frogs. It isn’t really about eating frogs, but it does offer an extended, and overdone, metaphor. It was irritating but useful.

For some reason the writers of self-improvement books really have it in for frogs, as do Victorian scientists.

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to a radio programme on self-improvement and research suggested that by the end of a self-improvement book you feel worse about yourself for failing to be the person the book implies you should be.

The strident book mentioned in the opening paragraph is a bit like that, and tells you that you should write all your failures in a journal as this helps you get over them. I’m currently failing to make the change from self-employment to employment, and did wonder, momentarily, whether to write it all down. I’m not sure, but if I do you will be the first to know.

The picture shows a cream tea that came off second best when it went head to head with me on Wednesday. It wasn’t the greatest cream tea, but it does have a link to self-improvement and failure in that one of my long-standing self-improvement targets is to lose weight.

That cackling sound you hear is 2,000 calories laughing ironically.

And that concludes my thoughts for Sunday morning.

33 thoughts on “Sundays and Self-Improvement

  1. Donnalee

    I feel there is no real trade-off with calories and weight, and that seems completely unfair. I want to lose weight, so i move around a lot, drink a lot of water, eat very little when it is so hot, and yet I no longer shrink down sylphlike. Then again, I never really did, but do recall that once after some romance breakup in my teens or so I lost 23 pounds in a month, and that was drastic and visible. These days i stay stout no matter what, which is depressing. I have even discovered that when it is too hot, I cannot taste the organic chocolate which is one of my five staple foods, but fortunately have the wit not to bother shovelling it in.

      1. Donnalee

        That old fatostat does it every time–

        My mother went to Weight Watchers way back and lost 89 pounds over the course of a year or two, but we eventually discovered that diet drugs had contributed. One of my online friends in ireland goes to that…oh, Slimmer’s World or whatever it’s called, where they have a completely insane concept of nutrition and yet the people lose weight (viz, some foods are ‘free’ and you can eat all you want of them, and they include fruit and pasta…) The people who have done it and blogged have had some very good results, for whatever reason–maybe the support?

  2. Clare Pooley

    CBT can be useful in some situations. It is often used inappropriately to ‘cure’ people with mental health problems who would be better treated with something else. It is cheaper and easier to send someone for 4 sessions of CBT than to really find out what is wrong with them. CBT is good for people with phobias and also good after a person has been diagnosed and is on the correct medication but they just need help in getting back to work/out of the house etc. To be really effective more sessions than the usual four or six should be offered. It doesn’t help people with depression or anxiety unless they are also having additional help with those problems.

  3. jodierichelle

    Have you ever listened to “The Accidental Creative” podcast? He’s smart and sweet and encouraging and generally spends a lot of time thinking about how to live a healthy, enjoyable, productive life. I think it’s much more helpful than those people who pretend to be so perfect and smart and better than everyone else.

    Cream tea – not a term we use around here. I would call that little lovely a strawberry shortcake. And I would remove all glace cherries. . . from the universe.

  4. tootlepedal

    Why buy a self help book when you have a life partner? That seems like keeping a dog and barking yourself. My self help book keeps the garden nice too.

    1. quercuscommunity

      That was just a random figure but if you think of a scone with glace cherries, cream, jam, fresh strawberries and icing sugar you could be getting on towards four figures.

      They had run out of plain scones, which was why we ended up with glace cherries.

      I like glace cherries but I’ve never had them in a cream tea before, and don’t really want them again. πŸ™‚

  5. derrickjknight

    At first I thought the picture was a shot of your choppers. Self-help books and CBT are anathema to me. While they do work for some people, mostly they don’t get to the root of problems. People can often work out their own strategies with their brains, when, in fact it is their emotions that need engaging with the help of a listener with time and patience – something in today’s world considered “a waste of resource” (Quote from Jackie’s manager who said she shouldn’t spend time listening to her elderly clients).

    1. quercuscommunity

      Yes, can see the resemblance to teeth.

      Self-improvement books are all about the quick fix, which is what the modern world is looking for.

      Sadly I can see that engaging with clients is considered a waste of time – it does interfere with meetings, training, assessments, KPIs and all that paperwork which are the first concerns of any modern job.

      I won’t dwell on that in case I turn acidic.

    2. Clare Pooley

      I agree with you, Derrick. I am also shocked by Jackie’s manager’s comment though not surprised. When I worked for the Housing Dept in Lewisham I was reprimanded for spending time listening to tenants who were having problems!


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