I wasn’t depressed at the time, neither I’m concerned about my future, but I pick up the book anyway. I was in a large and luxurious local bookstore three years ago, analysing books title in the “self help” section. Not many people buy self help book when they are seventeen, most of the people pondering around self help section are adults, perhaps they are having problem, looking for a solution, or simply want to improve their quality of life. I was there for the same reason, not the former, but the latter.
I still remember the first book I bought, it was “How To Get Anyone To Do Anything” by David J. Lieberman, a psychologist. I have to admit that my intention wasn’t a good one when I bought that book, I thought it would be cool to have people obeying my order. Or at least I could learn to talk with strangers. I was an insecure and shy boy growing up in an extrovert environment, at that time I just couldn’t manage to start a conversation with someone I haven’t talked with before. I prefer having strangers to initiate the conversation first and choose the topic, I would do the listening and trying to figure what his or her motives is (trying to be friendly or about to ask for my help).
But I found something deeper in that book, and I was fascinated by the whole new perspective it taught me. Not only teaching me how to ask for a favour or rejecting others, it taught me more about myself. I wasn’t strange, just different from the majority of people. The book “Quiet” states that two third of the world population are extrovert while one third are introvert. These two types of people think and do differently in life, a person may prefer to have a companion to chat with while working while the other may prefer to work alone, one may like to go to a party while the other prefer reading a book. I’m certain I was the latter.
You may notice the choice of words in the last sentence, “I’m certain I was the latter”. Because maybe I’m not the latter anymore today. I change a lot in the last three years, physically I’m still a tall-thin male with glasses and short hair, but my personality and interpersonal ability improves considerably. After several reflection in the last one month, perhaps picking up that book is the best choice I’ve ever made.
Finish reading self help book is not the results, it was only the beginning of awareness. An awareness of who we are, what our strength and weakness are, and the need for improvement. That’s the centre of all self help books I read, awareness for a change and how we could change. If you feel resonated by the description of my personalities, you might want to read “Quiet”, it will gives you deeper insight into yourself, knowing what you are capable of and what you should improves on (like your communication ability). I did just that and with some practice I felt more comfortable and confident talking with people within months.
It does feel awkward the first month to talk more frequently and decide to join conversations, but as I talked more openly, people welcomed me. It creates slight confidence within myself and in turn motivates me to talk more. You may ask me, “how could an introvert talk confidently?”
Well, I don’t know. I don’t even know if I’m still an introvert or whether an introvert could shift into an extrovert. And perhaps I don’t really care, all I want is to talk more confidently with strangers and I did it. And it doesn’t stop there, verbal communication is important in sending messages to other people, but non-verbal movement contributes more to how they perceive you. People judge the way we talk, our level of charisma, and whether they will respect us.
The title of this post is “Self Help: Help Yourself”, perhaps it would be better if I wrote it “Self Improvement: Improve Yourself”. Because we may not need any help, but I’m sure anybody would appreciate an improvement. Really, what does reading self help books does to me?
– I know who I am, what I’m capable of, and what I need to improve on
– It teaches me to take responsibility of my life and not letting negativity to block my path to success; These days if a problem arises I always assess myself first before assess others as the source of problem; I took more control of my financial life by learning to invest
– I’m far more relaxed and patient in daily activity, although my mother still think I’m too furious (perhaps she means ambitious)
– I begins everything with the end in minds; I create goals for the next 5, 10, 15 years and break it down into yearly goals and target
– I don’t let people manipulate me, but I don’t confront them either when I found their faults. Most of these people doesn’t want feedback anyway. It’s a great way to cut down the amount of negative people in my life.