Many self-improvement schemes are simply the means to make money for the author, originator or seller. Some deal with weight loss, increase of sexual prowess, and of course the never-ending pursuit of success and fiduciary fecundity. However, many lack the understanding of the underlying factors that produce these desirable things. Additionally, each individual, each system, is unique which necessarily means that no single approach works for everyone. Plowing through self-help books can be depressing as many of the schemes may not work if we apply them without understanding our personal roots of behavior or if the scheme does not first help to identify and understand the root causes.
The self-improvement industry is akin to a Chinese medicine pharmacy with roots and seeds up on the shelves. However, unless we are a Chinese medical practitioner, we won’t have a clue as to what to purchase or combine to produce any effects. Furthermore, we lack evidence as to what works and what doesn’t in our own lives. Thus, it is imperative we seek out the root causes within our own life prior to applying one of the myriad tools available in psychology, self-help and motivational industries.
As written on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi: γνῶθι σεαυτόν: “Know Thyself” In this day and age, the old adage is even more appropriate given the veritable cornucopia of information available to us whether it be verifiable, backed by evidence or not.