Why don’t I write a self-help book?

Post written by Orsolya Hernold


I’m 38, I live in Hungary, and I like to write. As a profession, I’m a coach and trainer–a person believing in personal growth and self-improvement.

I was flattered when friends told me that my writing is good and that sharing my experiences would benefit more people. From parenting to healthy self-image; from mindful eating to conscious speaking; I have some experience that I distilled into examples over the years that could be followed. So I played around with the idea of writing a self-help bookt—here’s such a scarcity of these books anyway, isn’t there? I agree with Jamie Varon, sometimes I find and feel that the entirety of the Internet is trying to inspire me, too. (Thanks!)

But am I really in the position to tell someone what to do to have a better, healthier, happier, richer life? Who am I to give advice? Who am I to give advice to a stranger whose circumstances I have no information about? My knowledge and experiences are unique and probably have little use for others who have their own struggles in their lives. Anybody could say I was lucky: I had great opportunities, a supporting family and inspiring teachers. These are circumstances that cannot be set as examples for less fortunate fates.

I recalled a presentation by a former doctor that helped me to drop this issue altogether. She shared with us her insecurities about giving medicine to patients that she knew little about: she didn’t have enough time in her praxis to fully understand the living circumstances, the diet or all of the side effect possibilities of the many medications her elderly patient was taking. She felt she couldn’t be responsible for the healing process this way. She ended up giving up her praxis and pursued another career path.

I feel the same. I wouldn’t know my readers. My examples and advice would stand alone, looking empty without my experiences.

Let’s suppose my vanity overcomes my insecurity and I do write this book. And for my greatest surprise, there are people reading it. Still, how would they know if their lives have changed because of reading this book? That is only one tiny act that can, or rather cannot, account for a change. Life is so complex, intertwined with others, events, mischiefs and opportunities that it cannot be condensed into listicles, how-to guides and self-help books.

So what’s the point of writing and sharing this piece? To make a public vow not to write about self-help? No, I’m not a great fan of vows, I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I decided to give credit and listen to my friends a bit and share one thing with you that regardless of your circumstances does make a difference. Write. Journal. Start paying attention to your life and record what you discover. (Credit to Jonas Ellison for writing this simply as it is.) That’s what I would call self-help.

One tip for the end: if you see another self-improvement article whose title grabs your attention–write with this title about yourself. Personal growth starts when you start paying attention to your life.





Leave your journal entry

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe: email