Self Help

Lately, as I’ve been trying to start this business, I’ve been reading lots of self help books. When I started this whole thing, I was really enthusiastic. I jumped in with both feet and started doing stuff. Not recklessly, but with thought and energy. Lately the enthusiasm has been replaced with doubt, and my motivation has suffered quite a bit.

My idea for S.H.E.T.T. has been floating around my head for years, but it wasn’t until recently that I read a few books and decided to make a serious effort. It started with “Level Up Your Life” by Steve Kamb and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson.

“Level Up Your Life” is more of a “how to” book. The author is a bit of a nerd and wrote it to appeal to nerds. The whole point is to use your nerdiness to motivate yourself to do….. whatever you want to do. You make lists, and assign experience points (EXP) to the items on the list. The more difficult the item, or the longer it takes, the more EXP an item is worth. When you complete the item you add to your EXP total, and when you hit a certain total, you literally level up. I have a nerdy side and this idea resonated with me, so I started using it. When I realized that starting my own business had always been a dream of mine, I added it to my list and S.H.E.T.T. was born. My list hasn’t been completed as far as I’d hoped it would be by this time, but the next few books have helped me with the disappointment of that.

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” is more philosophical. Its teaching you how to approach life and how to think. The title really says it all. The general idea is one that most of us have heard before: that people care too much what others think, when in reality they’re too busy worrying what you think of them, to think anything about you. He goes in to much more detail, obviously, the book is over 200 pages. Nothing in it is very new, but the way the information is conveyed was new to me, and it made me want to read more. The last chapter, and the story about the cliff, I found very motivational and (in my opinion) it’s worth reading the whole book for. This book put me over a major hurdle. I have a horrible need for approval from others. A HORRIBLE need. I would consider it my most debilitating personality trait. It has prevented me from trying MANY things over the years. The book planted a seed, that has grown into a very small, very delicate plant, that helped me get this far with my S.H.E.T.T. plans; and even though I’m not as far along as I had hoped I would be, the next book has helped me with that.

The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday is a bit of both the previous books. It’s premise is that the thing you want to do the least, is the thing you really need to do the most. It teaches you about stoicism and a way of thinking that wasn’t new to me, but that I hadn’t learned about in detail. I have encountered a lot of resistance getting my S.H.E.T.T. “to-do” lists done, and this book has helped me identify a bit of why that is, and helped overcome some of that resistance. Sadly, its not a fast process for me, so the “done by” dates on my lists have passed on many items, but progress is being made. It might be slow progress, but slow progress is better than NO progress.

While these books are unlikely to impact others like they impacted me, I found them to be beneficial. About the biggest hang-up for me was all the authors are quite young. It felt a bit odd taking life advice from people 10 – 15 years younger than me, I’ve always felt (somewhat ridiculously) that life lessons should be taken from the old and wise; but experience is experience, and the best experience is someone else’s.

I suppose the biggest pull-away I’ve taken from these books is that my issues (for lack of a better term) are not unique to me. We all have problems, and we all lack confidence, one way or another.

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