“Faster, higher, farther” is deeply ingrained into the American psyche. As individuals, as well as a nation, we strive to be better every day. Most of us read motivational quotes, look for inspiration, and read self-help books.
So, how come, that with thousands of books and programs on the market, too few of us have become millionaires or reached other goals?
It is a classical case of “we can’t see the wood for the trees”.
Success principles are eternal but they are presented in many ways.
My Austrian grandmother’s favorite proverb used to be “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. The same can be found rephrased as “Never, ever give up!” in self-help books. Attributed to Winston Churchill, these famous words are also a fixture in inspirational quote collections. And lastly, the same message is also an essential part of countless biographies.
Thus, when looking for some positive reinforcement for this one success principle only, you have hundreds of choices in four categories.
Here is what will help you make the best choice:
1: Evaluate if you need a self-help, inspirational, or motivational product
Self-help, inspirational, and motivational books are most often displayed very close together. Like displays in any department store, this encourages spontaneous purchases, which may turn out not to be what you needed. Reaching your goal may depend on better skills in a particular area (self-help), working harder towards your goal (motivational), or finding a goal, which really gets all your energies going (inspirational).
2: Select a product, which really focuses on your specific needs
There are no “One size fits all”-solutions in life. Therefore you should discredit anybody who suggests that his particular product can solve all your problems or that a certain product could help everybody… from the homeless to Donald Trump.
Such an amazing solution could not have been created; otherwise, why are marriages still ending in divorce, why are still houses being foreclosed, and why are too many people unable to find their dream job? Thus, unless you believe that everything is wrong in your life, avoid broad solutions and aim for specific strategies.
3: Look for authentic proof
Lots of charlatan experts are extremely “self-helping”, while also being inspiring and motivational. With all the means available today, one picture is unfortunately not always “worth more than 1,000 words”. It is very obvious that Tony Robbins really advised Bill Clinton. On YouTube you will be able to find a video, showing Bill Clinton talking about his ‘good pal’ Tony Robbins. Less convincing should be a single picture of anybody posing with a famous person, who is supposedly a client or friend. Indeed, I have unaltered pictures of myself with George Foreman, Roberto Duran, and Evander Holyfield, which does not make me a boxing promoter but just a fan.
4: Check “time and money” value
One old proverb, which gets hardly mentioned these days, is: "A penny saved is a penny earned." In the day and age of credit lines this proverb seems almost outdated; vendors want to talk you into spending money you haven’t even earned yet. In return, many promise you the wonders of the world, all deriving from this purchase.
On the other hand, the affirmation “Time is money” seems to get more relevant in everybody’s life, year by year. Since you don’t want to waste time or money, don’t listen to hype but read product reviews, including bad ones, before you buy.
5: Think outside the box
Each person is individual and what appeals to most people does not have to work for you. If you are an old soul, check out collections of time tested proverbs; also consider ethnic proverb collections. Maybe Chinese or Native American wisdom is more appealing to you. There is also the option to skip self-help and motivational altogether. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Get inspired by biographies of people who have accomplished what you want to do.
Beyond all, make your decisions based on the principle: “Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.” - Goethe
Gisela Hausmann is author of 7 books, including the award-winning ebook Naked Determination.
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© 2013 by Gisela Hausmann, All rights reserved.