In this age of short attention spans, information overload and instant gratification, we’re ALL looking for the “EASY” button; to change our habits, to improve our lives, to add to our knowledge and expertise, to lose weight or to find our soul mate. The simple truth is that there ISN’T one. All of these things are possible, and NOT overly difficult or complicated to achieve, but they don’t happen by “magic”, or by pressing a simple button. What they DO require is focused and determined effort and action on our parts. It helps to have a clear understanding of the “WHY” in what we want/need to learn, so that we can realistically decide and evaluate if a program is going to provide that answer, or at least send us down the correct path towards our ultimate goal(s).
I have rightly been described as being an “information sponge” and have also been a big proponent of investing in one’s personal self-education, as well as furthering your professional education & skills. I have personally received much benefit from this practice, but I’ve also experienced just as many disappointments in my efforts and substantial expenditures. This has occurred mostly when I’ve tried to seek in others, or their products, what I wanted to see in them, as opposed to what was actually there or the benefit(s) they would realistically provide to me.
I was recently on my first call with my new personal business coach and during our conversation, we were discussing my past efforts and “rather impressive” collection of self-improvement and self-development books, DVD’s and programs, when he used a term that I’d never heard before: “Shelf-Help”, to describe our propensity to buy self-improvement or self-development books and/or products, that we do so with the best of intentions, but that we NEVER use, instead allowing them to collect dust on the shelf. I’m certainly “GUILTY” of this behavior, as my family with readily attest. The problem with this type of behavior, while it may be well-meaning & good intentioned, is that it can cause the following negative outcomes:
1) It can provide you with a false sense of security.
2) It can cause you to become uncertain and make you feel “inadequate”.
3) It can cause you to feel overwhelmed and more confused.
4) It can also cause you to become more indecisive.
5) It can cause you to always be chasing the next “magic pill”, or solution, and never focusing on finishing and MASTERING the program(s) that you already own (a perpetual dog chasing his tail).
In the end, I would still make all of the investments that I’ve made in the past, and will continue to so invest in the future, but I will do so with the understanding and knowledge that the mere act of purchase does not constitute an “education.” Action is always necessary for growth.
My suggestion to you is to finish and master one program at a time, before you’re distracted by the next flashy, wiz-bang, shiny object that’s sure to come along. Now go blow the dust off and turn your shelf-help back in to self-help!