Confessions of a self-help junkie

2012-02-25 00:00

I HAVE to admit I am a self help junkie. I am like a moth to a flame — give me any book in a soft cover with a sexy title that promises to fix my problem and I’m hooked.

Of course I realise that over many years very few of my so-called problems have actually been resolved.

I am still overweight, still broke and still far from spiritual enlightenment.

I have had lightbulb moments — where I feel I have come close to understanding the crux of the matter, but within a few days of finishing the book these epiphanies seem to fade into the background and I am back at square one.

Of course that just means I need to find a new book with a better solution. I have read them all — Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, The Secret, Women who Love too Much, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Seven Habits of Effective People … Why French Women Don’t Get Fat, The Happiness Hypothesis — you name it I’ve read it.

It didn’t help that I had a friend who was a publicist and who handed me copies of self help books to read and review.

I read them religiously and then over the years became cynical. Nothing had really changed. I was not happy, successful, rich and no matter how many times I did my affirmations — I remained bored and irritated. Clearly the problem was me … I was not trying hard enough. I was not using the right technique. I was at my wits end until I decided to stop. I have since banned all self help books from my bookshelf. They are librorum non-grata.

I did have one brainwave though — writing a self help book to fund my retirement. This book will be to teach others how to get rich by writing a self help book. I think it will be a best seller.

I did think of calling it “The Secret 2” — but apparently that’s taken. So I’ll call it “The Message” or maybe another funky title.

People seem to go for a combination of abstract and pseudo-deep like The monkey who stole a bicycle … or something like that.

You need to promise people what they want — an amazing technique that is quick simple and easy.

But there is always a catch. They can only succeed if they do a bizarre technique.

Eg: To lose weight you have to eat pomegranate pips standing on one leg for forty minutes on every second Friday night. So easy — you guarantee this is a no-fail diet. Of course no-one can keep up this diet. But it’s too late, they’ve bought the book.

You package the message in a whole lot of psychology gobble-gook, all paraphrased off the Internet and boom, there it is — success. Watch this space, it’ll be me talking to Larry King next.

• trish.beaver@witness.co.za

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