A great quote by the late George Carlin:

“If you’re looking for self-help, why would you read a book written by somebody else? That’s not self-help, that’s help!”

Brilliantly funny, yet very profound if you dig deeper.

I’m here to start talking about self-help and the little nuances involved; the little things that actually go a long way for you and your life.

I’ve been blogging in the personal development niche for over a year now.
I’ve written 200 articles, got 50 over guest posts published and also coached several people online.

Now the thing is, I’m not your typical self-help “guru” who writes about personal development.

I’m real. I inject a very personal and real tone in my articles, all in the goal of helping you out.

Is Self-Help Actually Helping You?

If you answered no, it’s okay.

There’s a huge problem with self-help.

It’s not real.

That means it’s not realistic and certain aspects of self-help actually borders on being lies, straight up.

Also, people in need of real help have come to rely on self-help so much that they actually forget about themselves. They forget how much real potential they have and the importance of creating real life experience to harness that potential.

How often have you read about cliché advice? Things like, “Look on the bright side of life”?

Or have you wondered why, after reading up on so self-help that you still don’t feel like a better person?

That’s where the problems come in.

How to Truly Utilize Self-Help

It’s time to be real.

Relying on self-help is okay, but you need to step back now and then to really reflect and get out there to create a better life, your way.

And that’s the only way to actually get better in fact.

Here are 4 ways to keep it real with self-help:

1) Get out there for real experience

You want to be a better person?

Then you need real life experience.

Sooner or later you’re going to have to just stop with the self-help books, the personal development blogs, seminars or even therapy.

These are all fine and good, but remember that it is real experience from life that actually makes up your life.

This is means you need to start going out there and make mistakes. Failure is what gives you clarity.

You also need to start interacting with people. Forming relationships is how you actually grow as a person as you’d learn things about others and yourself.

Nothing beats real experience. They form visual memories you can hold on to, something books can never do.

2) Learn from people’s mistakes and failures too

More often than not we’re drawn to the positive and even perfectionist nature of self-help. This is where we get inspired by authors or speakers.

Inspiration is always good, but don’t forget that these inspiring people are also human, meaning they’re not without flaw.

The best way, in my opinion is to learn from their mistakes and failures.

This is how you can really build a connection and truly learn to grow as a person.

I personally think that many people take inspiration too far. We want to mimic others’ success, but we forget that we need to create our own path to be a better person.

Remember, self-help authors or speakers create their own path. You need to create yours too.

3) Stop reading, start helping

Hit the point where self-help doesn’t seem to serve its purpose of actually helping anymore?

Then you know what? It’s a sign to you.

It’s a sign that you’re actually ready to start being the helper and even the inspiration.

As with gaining real life experience, helping others is one of the best ways to effectively aid you and heal you of whatever you’re suffering from.

If you think your life isn’t that great, there’re a ton of people out there who have it worse. You just don’t see it.

It’s time for you to step it up and take control of the reins. Get out there and start helping people.

4) Be patient

Above all else, be patient.

Reading a single book or attending one seminar isn’t going to cure all your problems over night.

Some real life experience of getting out there all the time and helping others isn’t going to make you elevated immediately too.

If it was that easy, the whole world would be at peace.

Give yourself time.

Don’t buy into claims of self-helps where they tell you would feel “instantly” better or your life would be “changed”.

Self-help is simply there to guide you and inspire you. Use it for your life, but don’t let it take over your life.


Alden Tan keeps it real at his blog when it comes to motivation to do what you love. He pulls it off with style with his in your face articles.. Check out his free report right here for a quick kickstart to revive your life!


  1. Comment by Briana Blair

    Briana Blair Reply December 7, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    This is a good post. I’m a self-help writer myself, and one of the things I’m always telling people is that they need to take action and be realistic. You can’t build a better life on just happy thoughts and wishful thinking. You also made a good point about helping others. I experienced some of my greatest growth through helping others, and it actually became my passion.

  2. Comment by Maryam

    Maryam Reply July 21, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Thank you for your great post,i agree with your smart points,when we want have a great body we practice and we put pressure and weight on our musles ,so for having a good personality we must practice and we must go through some trouble and face them and i havenot seen great people who didnot suffer some how we grow up and reach to perfection through faceing with problems and solving them and after that we can enjoy every moment of life even very simple things such as a drinking a cup of coffee……

  3. Comment by Myrko Thum

    Myrko Thum Reply June 18, 2013 at 5:19 am

    @SJ Scott, I personally belief that the negative effect of delayed gratification can be lessened if we learn to enjoy the process. We have intentions we follow, but we are looking to be present while going there :)

  4. Comment by SJ Scott

    SJ Scott Reply June 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm


    You make a couple of great points. I am a big fan of improvement through self-help books. But if you do not go out there and put the stuff to use, you are really just wasting your time.

    The patience problem is something that I am seeing more and more of. Either that or I am turning into a crotchety old guy as I approach 40.

    More and more people are having issues with delayed gratification. With all the instant access to, well everything, some people want results and they want them NOW! When most really good things take time and effort for success.

    (steps off soapbox)

    Anyway, great points,


  5. Comment by Alden Tan

    Alden Tan Reply June 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    @Ericson Ay Mires: Thanks for dropping by Eric. Yeah I think as people, we all need the experience and interaction with other people to actually see a change from within. The sad thing is most of us today always look for short cuts, which never happens.

  6. Comment by Alden Tan

    Alden Tan Reply June 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    @Myrko Thum: Thank YOU for having me Myrko!

    Thanks so much. It’s this unique approach that I do what I do.

  7. Comment by Myrko Thum

    Myrko Thum Reply June 1, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Ericson, I think if you consume really good information, maybe a good book, just reading and internalizing the information can already transform your mindset. Then your action would adjust the one way or the other.

    I wrote more on that here: How to Read Books & Understand and Use New Knowledge

    But still, actually implementing practical information is of course better.

  8. Comment by Ericson Ay Mires

    Ericson Ay Mires Reply June 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I use to have a problem with tip #1

    I use to spend hours looking at self-help sites, learning and absorbing everything that I could. But nothing ever really made my life better.

    It’s not that the advice was useless, but I spent more time reading than I did applying. I wasn’t going out and testing all lessons I was reading about. Because of it, the advice became useless as it wasn’t being put to good use.

    Now I only read as much as I’m willing to apply. It’s made an immense change in the results I receive out of my life. Every lesson never goes wasted, and I feel much more purposeful than I use to feel.

    Very good post!

  9. Comment by Myrko Thum

    Myrko Thum Reply June 1, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Hey Alden, thanks for your honest and also entertaining guest-post. I which you all the best with your unique approach to personal development.

    Hey folks, get his free report to see what Alden can really offer you.

Leave a reply

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

Go top