By Willie Horton
Having worked in the personal development field since 1996 – long before it was fashionable to admit to your friends or colleagues that you were ‘into it’ – I am firmly of the belief that people who read self help books – and people who are into positive thinking – are not only fooling themselves but are a danger to themselves and those around them. They read a little, get a ‘feel-good’ after-glow, perhaps put a little of what they’ve read into practice for a short while and then convince themselves that things are either better or, worse, that things are about to get better when all the signs point to the exact opposite. Of course, the attitude that things are about to get better is a widely used excuse for not doing what you should actually be doing to make things better yourself.
Reading books doesn’t change your life. Thinking doesn’t change your life either. Action is the only thing that changes your life – real action on a daily basis – action that you have to take yourself. And I’ve seen precious little evidence of action. Sure, I see plenty of reaction – but everybody reacts, does it regularly and makes things worse rather than better. Reaction will, at the very best, simply give you more of the same. And more of the same simply will not do.
So, put down your self help books, throw away your positive thinking and ask yourself this searching question? What action could you take today that would make your life better? Be clear, I am not asking you what would make you feel better – I’m asking what will actually make a positive difference in your life – one that will provide you with ongoing lasting benefit. Not knowing your life, I’ve no idea whether something major needs to be done or, perhaps, it’s just something small. But I do know this – I am constantly questioning myself, challenging myself and ensuring that I keep taking the little and large actions that need to be taken to push – yes, you’ve got to push yourself – my life in the right direction. And I’ve the results to show for it.
So, what am I suggesting? Very few of us can run out the door and do something startling in the twinkling of an eye. I am also not suggesting that you do something outrageous based on the impulse of the moment – that’s just a recipe for more trouble. I am suggesting that you get yourself used to the idea that you can take different action. Your subconscious mind is not used to this idea at all so it needs to be reconditioned. Again, I use the term reconditioned advisedly because we were all conditioned in the first place – by our upbringing, by society even by the trendy notion that positive thinking works.
To recondition your mind you need to start small. Simply doing one of your morning chores differently will, believe it or not, awaken your slumbering mind to the possibility that you can do anything or everything differently – I’ve seen the enormous benefits of such small steps – so have my clients. The greatest journey starts with the first step – why not take that step this morning and see what happens.
Willie Horton has been a Personal Development expert since 1996 – working with top leaders in major organizations. An ex-accountant, ex-banker, published author and keynote speaker, he travels the world, from his home in the French Alps, enabling people “live the dream”. All his work – including his acclaimed Personal Development Workshop – is now online at Gurdy.net