Write your own self-help book.

Saturday August 24, 2013

The gaping divide of opinion on self-help books never ceases to amuse me. The mere mention of such a book can send a person into a caricature of a bear with a bump on his head.

You may be familiar with the little square books (The Little Book of Calm, for instance), each page containing a pithy crumb of inspiration. Or, Lesley Garner's delightful book perhaps - Everything I've Ever Done That Worked - which contains a collection of personal insights and a short essay on each. Lovely it is. Well, why not write our own?

I riffled through my drawer of notebooks and plucked out a handsome one with a clasp. (I like to accord the same care in choosing a notebook as I do when purchasing clothes.) I set about writing just a line or two on each page. Concise reminders of what consistently helps me.

For example, for me personally, I've recently come to realise that 'to-do' lists leave me ill. This is unusual maybe but I become obsessed with them and wind up writing 'to-dos' within 'to-dos'. Instead of finding joy in ticking off accomplished I add more and more, and yet more still. I'm stressed just thinking about it! No matter how hard I try I'm ntasksever realistic with them.

So one page in my book reads simply: Daily to-do lists make me unwell. Another: Create something. I always feel better if I allow my creative juices to flow.

What would the pages of your own personal self-help book contain?

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