Why self help will actually make us worse

All my life I've had the pleasure and misfortune of developing personal vendettas against many different things.

It's in my nature and I can't actually help it.

Nor do I want to, for that matter.

These things are not always things that actually matter for the general population.

They're just things that make me cringe.

They don't take away my sleep, but they do often fill my daydreams.

My most recent personal vendetta: self help.

Self help comes in different shapes and forms.

It shows up in different media.

It makes us feel understood in different periods of our lives.

It's an easy way out.

And there lies the problem.

What most self help fails to teach us is that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Life, society, the universe, these things were not made to make our lives easier.

Which means shortcuts are meaningless unless we can actually control the system.

And that is not as easy as it sounds.

Perspective, of course, is the basis of all self help.

If I see the world as a positive thing, then my mind will focus only on the positive things in the world.

Making the world, well, more positive.

But such bland advice stops working when the world actually proves us otherwise.

Because it represents a linear notion trying to deal with a non-linear reality.

Which means it might sometimes be the solution to our problems.

But most of the times it won't.

Leaving us helpless and in need of another self help guide.

And the cycle repeats.

Making self help the incredibly profitable industry it is today.

But what if shortcuts were not the answer?

What if the answer would lie not on following the orders of a spiritual guide.

But instead on guiding our spirits in non-linear ways?

By forgetting rules for happiness.

And replacing them with guidelines for the art of adapting to what we experience.

If we always look on the bright side, the world won't be brighter.

It will just be perceived as being so.

But that makes as much sense as ignoring a lion in the jungle in hopes of it not attacking us.

Not acknowledging something doesn't mean it will go away.

Because life is not linear.

So nor should be life advice.

The best lessons we learn don't come from self help books.

They come from helping ourselves in real life.

They don't come from direct lessons based on some guru.

They come from implicit lessons based on our own experiences.

Ultimately, linear lessons create linear people.

While reality actually works in non-linear ways.

This means self help becomes the right solution for the wrong problem.

Making it no solution at all.

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