Self Help or Self Improvement?

by Daniel · 0 comments

Is there a difference? There certainly is and it is big. I was in a Network Marketing Company and I heard a speaker at a conference say “This is a self-improvement program with a high compensation outcome!” It was my first exposure to this way of thinking. Honestly, I was immediately attracted to the approach due to my self-help background and profession, social work.

Self-Help is what one would identify with programs like Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous, Double Trouble in Recovery, or Celebrate Recovery to name a few. Self-Help books and self-help programs begin with the premise that there is a dysfunction or challenge with the individual that needs to be fixed. It is an approach from the point of weakness.

Self-Improvement is the approach that is often found in the Business section of your bookstore. It often focuses on the attainment of money. Programs like “The Secret” have catapulted into the homes of millions for the “hope” of one day being “Bill Gates” rich! However, it comes from the position of “Strength”. What is right about the individual and how to make you a better person.

As you can see there are phenomenal benefits of both as well as challenges. So what is the best approach? My opinion is to take the best and leave the rest! Programs like AA work, however, they have created a culture of us vs them. A ridiculous premise that alcoholics are not like the rest of the world is the mantra. They base this idea on a verse of text. “We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.” ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, (The Big Book) p. 30.

It is a dangerous belief system and is taken completely out of context they assume they are different from others. Yes when it comes to the consumption of alcohol or other mind-altering substances we are different. Beyond that, Human Beings are Human Beings. It has been noted that 85% of adults report that they are from dysfunctional families! Yet, the Alcoholic/Addict believes that trait is reserved for them!

Members of AA are often extremely opinionated and protective of their way of life. In fact, I could write a book of “Comments” from all of the negative opinions on my Blogs or any of my friends Blogs when they do not agree with us. The idea of keeping an open mind is reserved for the message from the latest guru speaker on the circuit.

AA works and it works well! However, many people needlessly suffer because they refuse to get out of their own way. They have branded the “Victim” mentality deep within their minds. They focus on fixing what is wrong rather than focus on what is right. The key to happiness is focusing on the positive. Having a purpose, retaining hope and enjoying the Spiritual path we call Life.

The self-improvement movement has serious flaws as well. Capitalization on the state of the economy as well as seize the “greed” emotion of people is prevalent. They say that “Sex” sells, well so does money. More precisely “Getting Rich” building wealth is the goal. It is unfortunate that the message is distorted due to the guidance of the seemingly ill intentioned self-proclaimed experts.

The self-improvement approach works, and it works well. It simply sends the wrong message that life is all about your bank account. There are many self-improvement books, audio sets and professionals that do not subscribe to this marketing approach to their field. The challenge is the message is overlooked due to the prevalence of the wealth accumulation mindset.

Tony Robbins is often tossed into the ring as a “motivational guru”. However, study his teachings and you will uncover methods of empowerment that will baffle you. “Awaken the Giant Within” a weekly listen for me, focuses on Neuro Associative Conditioning, learning how to think and change. The late Earl Nightingale believed to be the “Grand Daddy” of the self-improvement movement carries the message of hope and strength to this day on Audio’s like “The Strangest Secret” and my favorite, “Lead the Field”.

Combine the two approaches and you have the prescription to overcome addiction and live a healthy, happy, prosperous, clean and sober life, which is my definition of “Wealth”. Recovery methods must move into the 21st century.

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