Do not get stuck in reading

by Henrik Edberg

When you first get into personal development it’s easy to get stuck. And I think that applies to other new fields of interest too.

You read and read and watch dvds and listen to audio-programs. And then… you do pretty much nothing.

Why is that? Here are a couple of reasons.

An addictive escape from your reality
One way to get stuck in reading is when you feel it’s an escape from reality. You can read about time management, about exercise and healthy food, about fixing your personal economy. There are so much wonderful and positive information in the books. It’s different from your life right now.

Especially in personal development I think there is a risk that you get hooked on the information. There are so much positive feelings in the material that when you are done with one cd or book you just want another one with an enthusiastic person who tells you that your life can be so much better. Much like watching a horror-movie it’s strong, exciting feelings but in the safety of your own home. And you don’t want to move past that.

Because there will probably be pain when you try out your new knowledge. Maybe people will react negatively to you changing. Maybe you don’t have what it takes. Maybe you’ll make a fool out of yourself. Maybe, maybe, maybe. It’s easier to stay inside, read a new book and get a new kick.

Waiting until you know everything
You want to study so hard and much that you don’t have to make the mistakes out there in the world. Others read but when they tried they made mistakes. “I’ll learn all that they failed with before I leave my house”, you might say. And the days, week and months go by.

You can’t avoid failures and making mistakes. But you don’t have to be perfect. Instead, just start. If you fail that is ok. You can just get up on your feet again, learn from what went wrong and try again. If you want success there will be failures. But don’t take them so seriously. Try interpreting failures in a new way. Don’t think about them as you might have learned through school, work, the movies and other parts of society.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

A failure is not the end of the world. In NLP they say that there are no failures, only results and feedback. There are often valuable lessons, insights and opportunities to take away from what you may have felt to be mistakes.

Now, I’m not saying you should stop reading entirely. Continuously providing your mind with new thoughts reinforces your new habits and expands your knowledge. Listening to personal development-cds or reading about the benefits of exercise and healthy food for just 20-30 minutes is also great way to get your energy and motivation back when you feel down.

But don’t get caught in reading too much. It’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of moving ahead by reading about some area in you life you would like to improve. It seems like you’re improving, but after the initial, excited immersion into the subject it’s easy to just get hooked on the information instead.

Reading and reading about a subject gives you the feeling that you are getting closer to your goal. But it’s a false, comforting feeling. Without action you will never get truly started on your path towards your goals and new possibilities. After that first period of reading, try to incorporate some of what you have learned into you behaviour. Go out into the world and try it. Find a balance between studying and taking action. Try, see what the results are, then learn from them and books and optimize. Rinse and repeat.

To get started and yourself out of procrastination try a couple of the methods I have written about. Just get yourself to take action for five minutes. Or get some leverage so you really see and feel what you will miss out on in your life if you don’t take action. Change your focus from short-term thinking and instant gratification to thinking a bit more long-term.

Books or cds can’t do things for you. They can help you find doors and open them. But you have to step through them yourself. Now, relax, get out there and just try some stuff.





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{ 9 comments }

Ravi October 30, 2006 at 8:50 am

Great point about not reading too much. I think many of the problems we face in our lives are the direct result of us not focusing 100% on the problem, and instead trying to find the answer outside of ourselves.

In my own life, I have found that I have had the most profound insights and learnings in silence/meditation, than I have had reading a book, talking to someone or watching TV. It is in stillness that we have the breakthoughs, not in action.

Henrik Edberg November 5, 2006 at 9:17 pm

Thank you. I agree, we often get too distracted to find a solution. Or we look in the wrong place. In stillness the solutions often seem to just pop up.

philip January 18, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Great words, very insightful, it seems to me from my life, that the reading becomes, your best friend, very comforting, but it is deceptive because all good friends, should push you forward, to make those actions, that you need to make for personal, realised growth, not just conceptual growth.

bellbird February 14, 2007 at 12:45 am

A wonderful read, thank you for that. I have found it interesting that you feel sometimes you muddle along in life, having plans but not realsing them straight away. Then you get to point where you decide to stop that muddling (because enough is enough right) and then getting a clearer image of where you want to go. I’ve had that realisation of coming to a deciding point recently and boom! all sorts of things start happening, handed to me through other people. Amazing stuff which propelled me forward (I felt I had been ‘stuck’ for a while…) Once you’re ready that’s it, it starts happening. It’s probably the difference between reading and thinking about GOING to do something (whenever) or DECIDING you want to (NOW). Interesting that. Did any of you have that?

Henrik Edberg February 16, 2007 at 6:20 pm

bellbird: Thanks for your kind words, I really appreciate them. I know what you mean, it can take a while before you come to the point that you just do what needs to be done.

And it´s interesting as you say, that when you´re ready things come to you, handed to you through other people. You may want to look into the Law of Attraction that seems to describe this phenomena. Do a search for Law of Attraction on google or search for The Secret on youtube.com. The Secret is movie about the Law of Attraction and you can find clips from it on youtube.

pratik.patel July 13, 2008 at 4:01 am

good points. life is a one kind of game. you have to play patiently. u have to decide which way u have to spent either good or bad……..
seriously i learend a lot of things after i read this imporetent points….

Saidely February 24, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Really important issue your are discussion
A lot of us became self-help junkie as a way of escaping of the reality!!

Hope all recognize this and start to understand

We have a prayer in our religion that said

God, teach me what will benefits me
And Benefit me from what you almighty have taught me

Peace
Saidely M.

suki June 10, 2009 at 9:23 am

i know that i have a tendency to try to load up on information, rather than to take action. so this is definitely a good point! i’ll have to read the other entries for tips. ;)

dorjilee October 20, 2009 at 8:37 am

i’m also loading myself with a lot of information w/out taking action or applying what i’ve read in real life. i guess this is a good start to make things happen!!!!

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