The thing about self-help books is the optimism. Not so much that of the author, thought it helps. How To Win People Who Vaguely Remember Your Face or Feel The Unease And Decide Not To Bother wouldn’t sell very well, would they?
No. It’s my optimism. My hope that this one will be the one to tell me what to do, that all I need to do is follow the instructions and everything will turn out marvellously. I’ve tried so many of them, these are just a few –
- The Energy Codes by Dr Sue Morter, which seemed to be largely yoga with knobs on.
- The Power of Moments by Chip Heath, which made me feel guilty for not giving my kids enough moments.
- The Writing Diet by Julia Cameron, which I was fabulously excited about… until I realised that the walk to the fridge is where I often find my inspiration.
- I Thought It Was Just Me by Brene Brown, which is a fantastic read for anyone who needs to get over their optimism (fantastical striving) and accept themselves as they are. Perhaps I need to read it again… See also The Gifts of Imperfection.
- Bullet Journaling by Tyler Dawson, which is a whole book about how to make lists.
- The Dental Diet by Dr Steven Lin, which is a really interesting book about why you need to eat chewy food.
- Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, probably not this chewy though… read instead of working.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Night, which is good for paying attention to why you do the things you do.
- How To Be Human by Ruby Wax, which basically says that mindfulness is great.
- Grit by Angela Duckworth, which says that you don’t need talent, just staying power.
- How To Be A Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott, which sort of works as my in-box has never got fling-yourself-under-a-bus full since I read it.
- Spark Joy by Marie Kondo, which I haven’t read yet because it’s lost in the clutter.
It’s no wonder I have trouble making my own mind up about what’s important and how it should be folded. I can’t quite give up on them yet… and I suppose if I learn one helpful thing from each one then maybe I’ll finally turn myself out to be a fully-formed grown-up in charge of her own satisfying life. Here’s hoping…
The current offering is – We A Manifesto for Women Everywhere by Gillian Anderson (yes, her off the X Files) and Jennifer Nadel. It was a recent daily deal from Audible (also another habit I might need to address) and its promise of nine principles for a more meaningful life would have had me, even if it didn’t have an added helping of Scully. The opening is easy enough – all you have to do is write down ten things you’re grateful for every day for a fortnight. Not so hard:
- Yoga at work (yes really)
- Getting through the first day back
- A nice cup of tea
- In a nice cup
- I didn’t get caught in the rain
- I can work from home tomorrow
- A lovely walk in bright moonlight
- Some things to look forward to (book group Christmas dinner)
- Some time to write a blog post (and a bullet journal, a daily affirmation and the other things the books tell me to)
- My children
That actually felt quite good, even if I got a bit stuck between 7 and 8 and had to prowl about considering whether I needed some chocolate (I didn’t). It might work, though it is only the first instruction and we haven’t even got to the principles yet. I’ll let you know how I get on with them and see if you will continue to be grateful that I haven’t managed to wedge in a ‘the truth is out there’ joke.