Posted in Daily Prompts, Kindle

Why I Ditched Reading Self Help Books?


Disclaimer: If you are a huge fan of Sadhguru, Osho, Gaur Gopal Das, Robin Sharma then please do not read any further. There is nothing that would kindle your interests.

“Success is what you do….” – said some author in some book which I don’t even remember now. Half of the self-help material which I consumed voraciously over the past few years are now vaporized completely from my brains. All that I now remember is that “Never Ever Give Up… Keep Going”. Simple, straight and direct-to-my-brain!

As a book worm, one of the most common questions asked by your fellow book-nerds is “What’s your favourite genre?”. Three years back, I would excitedly square my shoulders and say “Self-Help & Motivational Books”. Well, that was me about 3 years back.

After reading around dozens of self-help books, all the way from Robin Sharma to Ramakrishna Mission, all I found was each one beats around the bush to say the same old thing. As one of my good old Goodreads friend said “All self-help books are nothing but pure word play”.

Since the day, I started reading IT by Stephen King, I have ditched the whole self-help category and have embraced thriller, horror, supernatural and non-fiction category. I am not even regretting my decision now.

How did this transformation happen? In the year 2018, I was completely reading a series of self-help books in order to maintain my peace of mind. As I was reading these books, there came a point when my brain completely stopped reacting to all those flowery words like “Discipline, Dedication, Motivation, Arise, Awake..etc etc”. It was then I started searching for that one book which would kick start my desire to consume books again. My mind started looking out for a different kind of stimulation. I tried varieties of self-help books until I gave up and turned to Mr.King accidentally. Since then, there is no turning back. The King of Horror for sure has his way of drawing readers and make them addicted.

My first book by King was, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. It stole my heart. I highly recommend this book for everyone who wants to be a writer someday in their life. After this book, I then moved on to autobiographies, Kannada short stories, books on investing, history and Indian polity, International relations etc.

Surprisingly the old NCERT textbooks started seeming very interesting to me. Especially the literature textbooks. What was drudgery to study and pass marks now seemed like excellent companions and guides to life. The poems which we had to study with a red eye, now made so much sense.

Having said that, do I completely despise the whole self-help genre? Hell no. Who is going to save my sleep after reading a hundred pages of Stephen King?? Who is going to make me feel happy when the whole world is collapsing around me? Self-help has now become like a pickle. I go and infer only those parts which are pragmatic to my lifestyle. Just because an author says wake up at 4AM and run till 7AM, I won’t be doing it. Why? If I look at my own routine, I am a night owl. I am highly productive only after the sun sets down and the lunar clock starts ticking.

One of the biggest advice I would like to give to my younger self is to not completely rely on one genre. That’s a terrible mistake I did. As readers, we need to have a more open view of our whole world. We need to read all sorts of books. The good, bad, ugly, intolerable, mind-numbing and torturous ones too. That is when you will truly decipher what truly interests your grey cells and what does not. Exploring other genres has definitely made my reading journey invigorating. I can clearly see how my point of view about the basic human mind has started to shift.

Too much horror or too much non-fiction is also never good. One needs to maintain an ideal balance of all genres in order to develop his purview about society. Human beings come in all shapes, sizes, and from a variety of backgrounds. Stories are nothing but a compendium to the psyche of society. The characters, no matter how gruesome, scary, nerve-racking they are, we have to understand that they are not solely a figment of the one’s imagination. In some or the other part of the world, we do find psychopaths willing to turn Stephen King’s words into reality. There is no guarantee that Hannibal Lecter was purely a work of fiction. Who knows, what inspired Thomas Harris to come up with such kind of sick, and pure ingenious of a character?

That is why my suggestion to my fellow readers is that read what is edible by your brains. Read what nourishes your soul. Just because thousands of readers have voted a book five star does not mean it is tailor-made for you. Your taste could be very different from what your girlfriend/wife or the next-door neighbour reads. Take your time… and read slowly. When you mindfully think about the book after having finished it, ask yourself “Did this book make me happy? How do I feel”. If you feel terrible, then its time to ditch the book/genre/author. Life is too short to bear the torture of something which your brain hates to the core.

I am now curious to know what are you reading during this lockdown? Have you signed up for any challenges yet? If not, check these cool challenges hosted by Goodreads. In case you want to go by the reader’s choice then here is the list for you. In case you want to start your own 2020 Reading Challenge then here is something you would love to participate. Work, sleep, waste time, cook food, put your baby to sleep, go for a walk…. above all spend at least 5 minutes every day reading a few lines. It surely has some astounding benefits in the long run.

Header Photo by  Lacie Slezak on Unsplash

Author:

Motorcycles and Books constitute my life!

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