What is wrong with self-help books?
I just read a blog by L. Michael Hall who is one of the best commentators on the topic of personal development. It was titled “Why Self-Help Books Don’t Help.” I can’t give you a link to the article because his website has issues as of this writing.
I just wrote a self-help book, “A Private Conversation with Money". Dr. Hall nailed the reasons why most self-help books fall short. I held my breath as I read his blog and compared the criticisms against my book.
My own trading experience shaped this book. This book evolved out of my work with professional money managers, active traders and investors. Over the last 20 years of training traders and coaching investors, I have experienced every issue traders face and created a process that opens the door to behaviors that serve us better.
How is your relationship with money? One of the surprising issues I never expected was a trader’s relationship with “money.” Why do you make trades and then regret the impulses the next day? Some of the answers you won’t believe. That is why I wrote this book.
Does my book fail it’s readers? Is “A Private Conversation with Money” another self-help failure? Would my book fail his criteria?
Here is Dr. Hall’s list of ways that many readers of self-help books fail and my comments on his major points.
1. Many people read self-help books too fast. People skim the parts passively without engagement.
2. Most people generally don’t have the skills to apply learning to personal development. Personal development is expansive and helpful if we have the courage to examine our deepest beliefs and who we are at the core. This ability requires courage that can be expanded in supportive environments, but is far more difficult to do by ourselves.
3. People filter out things that don’t fit their worldviews. It can feel great to read a self-help book that supports our world view and we can feel enlightened without risk of change.
4. Learning is passive. Can most people explain what they have read? Dr. Hall states, “If you can’t explain it, you don’t really know it.”
5. Do you make the material experiential? Because of what you read, what actions will occur, what difference will it make, and how will it expand your life’s menu?
His advice? “If you don’t know, stop and establish a learning intention. Self-help books could help, but to help you have to take an active stance. You can’t read for entertainment. Instead, read for transformation. Identify the change that you want. Then, using the seven dimensions of learning, use that structure to organize your learning experience.”
OK, we know the problems. With over two decades of working with clients, students and online courses, my opinion is that he has nailed the problems of self-help books.
What are the solutions to self-help books?
Experience your relationship with money. In my book, “A Private Conversation with Money,” my mission is to invite my traders readers into an experiential frame of mind. I introduce the main character, Joe, who is a struggling journalist and writer who is facing real world money issues that are similar to many of my clients and students.
The reader is challenged along with Joe. Joe is visited by a character, “Money” who has a series of challenging conversations with Joe. Joe struggles and fights Money’s re-frames every step of the way, just as a reader might do. Money invites Joe to a series of ten exercises that give Joe the opportunity to experience each re-frame, so Joe can actually feel what it is like to take on a new context for his behaviors, beliefs and even his identity.
The reader completes each exercise along with Joe. As part of the book, each reader is given an online version of the exercises for full participation. This allows the reader, not only to struggle with the positive changes along with Joe, but increase their self-awareness by doing the same exercises themselves.
These major improvements in self-help are not enough. Even though the conversation allows the reader to protest each mindset that Money presents, and experience a more expansive mindset by doing the exercises along with Joe, it is still not enough.
Why? Our survival mechanisms protect us against any changes by keeping us in our comfort zone. By ourselves, it is easy to skip the exercises, skim the material, and keep repeating behavioral patterns even if they no longer serve us, or worse, create misery in our lives. The suffering we know that we can survive is better than the risk we don’t know, and may not survive.
This sounds strange and many of you may not believe how powerful of a force our survival mechanisms are and can trick us into repeating old behaviors that we know don’t work.
You may experience this with food, trading, investing, gambling, alcohol, drugs, or destructive emotional reactions. You swear you will never repeat the same behavior again...but… it happens over and over. My trading clients swear they will follow their strategy and by the end of a day...they have violated their rules many times.
Most of my new traders and clients come to me because of this repeated pattern. In over two decades working with professional money managers, entrepreneurs, business people and active traders, this survival pattern remains in place. With private coaching, I can invite them into a new context of less struggle and more rapport with themselves and the world. However, private coaching is available to only a few people a year.
I created an online course where the reader can experience the Money-Positive beliefs in the book, “A Private Conversation with Money.” The clients who were committed to improving their financial outcomes and completed the course on their own report major positive changes in their lives. I have over 100 testimonials of the positive changes from my online courses.
BUT...here is what matters, most people who paid for the course did not complete it. Why? We go back to Dr. Hall’s summary.
We avoid the actual experience.
1. My book, “A Private Conversation with Money”, allows the reader to challenge the precepts along with Joe.
2. The book invites the reader to experience the exercises.
So, given what we know, let’s take this a step further.
3. I invite you to step into a new set of expectations by becoming part of a Money-Positive community.
Join a Money-Positive community. By becoming part of a community with a new set of expectations, the self-defeating patterns we experience and try to change on our own can be replaced with positive behaviors and beliefs that serve us better. What a difference an entirely new context of people and expectations can make on your life.
How do we do this?
- Problem solving: Bring your frustrations and issues to the group
- Friends: Meet Money-Positive friends from all over the world
- Celebrations: Have your progress celebrated
- Safety: Experience a safe space to explore your conflicts with courage
- Coaching: Personal coaching in our group setting
- Shared experience: Real world experience that apply to the issues you care about
- Mindset growth: Building a Money-Positive Mindset
- Realize rapport: End internal conflicts about money and wealth
- Learn skills: Presentations on topics the group has selected
- Contribute: Support others with your own knowledge and skills
You need not struggle alone. Instead step into a world of positive support and encouragement. Our community is coming alive this December. You can participate in a number of ways:
- The book, “A Private Conversation with Money”.
- Our online course, “Conversations with Money - Your Book Companion Exercises.”
- Our online course "Conversations with Money - Your self-directed, Money Positive Path.
I look forward to many creative conversations.