It seems too easy. Pick up a book, learn a few things, and improve your life.
Does self-help work? A lot of people think that is does, and this interest fuels a $10 billion market for motivational self-improvement programs and products.
“One-third to one-half of Americans have purchased a self-help book in their lifetimes.” (Self-Help, Inc.)
Consider these scenarios: Someone who wants to be more productive, so they learn to focus on goal setting, prioritization, and time management. A person who studies to develop skills in an area that has become important to them. A man who uses better spiritual habits to help him stay on the right path. A guy who reads regularly in order to receive ongoing inspiration and new ideas.
Does this kind of stuff really happen? Does self-help work?
Yes, self-help works
- Most people have within them untapped potential that, if released, can improve their lives.
- Much can be gained through determination and hard work, which are largely self-driven.
- Learning new concepts and techniques can help people develop skills they can benefit from.
- Anything that provides motivation or inspiration can help someone make a positive change.
- There is proven evidence that millions of people have improved their lives in many ways.
But self-help alone can only get us so far
- Much self-help material is more hype than substance, with no transformational value.
- There are no magic formulas for success, and moving forward almost always takes hard work.
- Other people such as mentors, sponsors, and pastors can play a role in life improvement.
- Serious issues such as depression, anxiety, and addiction often call for professional help.
- The term “self-help” leaves the most important factor out of the equation–God.
The Bible is consistent on where our biggest form of help comes from, which is from God directly or through his transforming power working in us. And not just from any God, but from THE God.
From self-help to transformation
Transformation is made possible through our relationship with God. But he also gave each of us talents to use, and he endorses hard work and perseverance. It often seems that he wants us to take the first step to show that we are “all in” before he brings his power to bear in our lives.
Consider these scenarios: A husband so embedded in hurtful habits that he can’t change on his own power, but who slowly gets better anyway. An alcoholic who had been drinking for thirty years who no longer feels controlled by alcohol. Someone who finds their priorities shift inside them, changing the entire direction of their life. A man searching for the meaning of life, and finally finding it in God.
Does self-help work? Yes, it does, and we can all do things to improve our lives. But, alone, we can only go so far, and true transformation comes from God.
How do I know? Because I have seen, met, and read about enough people to know self-help can be productive. And that lives can be turned around, even transformed through the power of God.
And because I know the scenarios mentioned above can happen. Because they happened to me.
You can take steps to improve your life. And, through God’s help, your life can be transformed.
Question: What is one area of your life you would like to improve?
Action: List positive steps you can take in that area, and then pray for God’s transforming help.