Motivational Books: Are They Useless?

One Sunday afternoon I was having a talk with my mother. We always have these talks in the kitchen, and I have grown to adore these conversations we have.

She told me about an article she read in the paper about people who read motivational books. She was very passionate about what the author wrote. The article mentioned those who read one motivational book after another, and yet do nothing to change their lives. They seem to remain as they always have been. My mother interpreted it as “building castles in the sky” as one reads these books, deluding themselves with imagined empowerment, preaching to everyone about how to live better, yet having nothing to show for it in their own lives.

I thought about her comment for a while… actually for a few days. I have had many friends tell me motivational books are pretty useless, and that they only gas you up for a few days, maybe even a month, but after that you’re back to your old ways again. And I get that. Truth be told, there are some awful motivational books out there. There are also some terrible fictional, business, religious books out, but I digress.

I have been reading self-empowerment books since 2005. I believe the reason why I have the courage to do the things I do now is because of these same books I read. I consider them as mental seeds. Every book I took the time to page through was like a seed being planted in me. Many of these books contained insights I never considered at that time.

I remember back in 2005 when I first read Louise L. Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life.” Her book introduced me to the concept of positive self-affirmations, the most striking one being “I am willing to change.” I spent days saying “I am willing to change” to myself. Years later, I have read many, many books on changing one’s thinking to change one’s life, and I truly believe that by reading these books, I planted powerful mental seeds in my mind.

But they cannot grow without action!

It takes a lot more than reading some awesome books that make you feel 10 feet tall to become who you really want to be. The next barrier after getting all pumped up, is fear. Your mind isn’t going to let you feel like a super hero for too long. Fear will creep into your mind like a dark fog. Your mind isn’t going to allow you to consider becoming bigger and greater without reminding you about how badly you did the last time you tried to do something beyond your comfort zone.

It’s going to take work. It’s going to take time, commitment and courage, plus it’s going to take lots and lots of patience. You will have to train yourself to take small, but calculated and incremental baby steps. And you will have to be committed to the changes you want to make in your life.

So read all the motivational books you want. But don’t forget to take action!