- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
- What Colour is Your Parachute by Richard N. Bolles
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- Un F*** Yourself Up by John Gary Bishop
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
- Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight
These are just a few of Forbes suggested ‘Best Books to Help You Figure Out Your Life’ (with the additional of ‘Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight, just because I like the book).
‘Self improvement’ books are an $800 market which is growing steadily year by year, but this isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. Any Sex and the City fan can remember season 5, episode 4 when Charlotte (recently separated from Trey) seeks solace in the ‘Self Help’ aisle of a bookstore, only to feel so humiliated that she takes herself home and orders the self help book on Amazon. There is definitely less of a stigma now on buying these self help books, whether you are buying them for your career, your relationship or even to help you grow your social media presence, they are no longer hidden in the dingy back aisle of the bookstore. They are now sold in stores such as Urban Outfitters and Oliver Bonas, laid out proudly beside ‘110 Ways to Eat Avocado’ and ‘Pictures of Europe’s Best Flat Whites’ (not really but you get my point). So, is it true that self help books are almost becoming “cool”?
The truth is that so many of us feel like we are constantly underachieving, so is it any wonder more and more of us are turning to these books for an answer. From relationships to careers to our social lives, it has clearly become so much tougher to ‘do it all’. Even if we have great friends, a promising career and an exciting relationship, are we underachieving because we haven’t travelled the world or lived in a different country? If we are spending all our money on experiences and travel are we underachieving because we haven’t started saving for a house? If we spend years travelling and seeing the world are we underachieving because we haven’t kick started our career? If we spend years studying and qualifying in one professional field are we underachieving by tossing it aside and trying something new?
The truth is there is no ‘one-size fits all’ answer, and everyone is succeeding in their own way, be it big or small. For some people succeeding is just getting out of bed in the morning and that is okay!
We are constantly subjected to the rose tinted version of other peoples lives on social media, so when we sit down at our desk on a Monday morning and have a quick flick through Instagram and see someone sitting in the Maldives with their Chanel beach-bag on what is their 20th trip already in 2019, you can’t help but wonder, where have I gone wrong?
I honestly believe that we are our own worst critics, I know I most certainly am. When we do something great, that we should be proud of, we should spend more time celebrating our achievement rather than quickly moving on the the next thing we could be doing “better in”. At least once a week I get this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach because career wise I am not at the stage I thought I would be at 24, but I am slowly (but surely) coming to the realisation that I am not failing just because I’m not exactly at the stage I planned to be at. Truthfully I am years behind my “goal”, but I do believe I will get there. Whilst it can be good to set time limits as an incentive the vast majority of the time they don’t work out because life isn’t quite like that. It’s not an equation you can carefully set out and calculate, its messy and emotional and complicated but despite everything it is bloody great.