An image of a journal page with self-development notes.


What was once a sparse and shameful section of the bookstore is now littered with pages of different ways to improve our lives. Creased books, over-leafed by eager customers, cover quotes claiming ‘advice we all need to hear’. Coffee machines somewhere close by, that bittersweet smell in the atmosphere, the clamour of customers. We try to find the book we’re looking for, piecing through the Eckhart’s and avoiding the twelve copies of The Secret.

Self-development, self-improvement, self-help: three terms for one universal concept- that we can take autonomy over our happiness and our future. In a time where self-development resources are more sought-after, and more utilised, than ever, it’s important to consider whether self-help is actually helping us.

With each new on-sale Kindle book, a new message is passed out into the self-development wash. With so many conflicting messages, dedicated readers of self-improvement are bound to reach moments where they question which concepts to follow, which words to live by, which advice is going to change their life.

To constantly consider life changes is to live somewhere other than the present. This, in itself, can result in a decrease of contentment in the present moment. On top of this, the mixed messages of self-improvement books and resources can ultimately lead to confusion, rather than certainty in how to improve.

Elements of the self-help industry, like any industry, can be divisive in their methods and messages. It’s important to refine the self-development resources which we choose to help inform our lives. Of course, there are other issues within the self-development sphere which have the potential to negatively impact us. Like anything, it’s about finding balance in the ways that we utilise these resources and incorporate them into the rest of our lives.

Has self-development impacted you positively?

Featured image: Noemi Macavei-Katocz via Unsplash.


  1. this is wonderful. My favorite line is: To constantly consider life changes is to live somewhere other than the present.

    I watched a really helpful TedTalk about the danger of self-improvement and our addiction to it. It reminded me of that sentiment. If we’re always looking for ways to improve we’re not only chasing the wind because there will never be and end, but also harming our own self-esteem by proactively looking for what’s ‘wrong’ with us.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good question. I agree that the books you mentioned may be doing more harm than good. I believe though that it is difficult to grow faster than my understanding of correct principles. I sometimes find a useful nugget in a book.

    Liked by 1 person

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