I’ve already mentioned that I have a possibly unhealthy but very concealed interest in self-help books. It’s something that more that embarrasses me – it mortifies me. I get them from the library – concealed like porn within two more acceptable titles – from the self check-out desk and I hide them if anyone comes around to visit. It would just be too much of a Bridget Jones cliché to be seen with them and the mockery from my friends would be unbearable. I wonder if this is ‘normal’ – does everyone secretly consult these things or just the people who are feeling lost and in need of a friendly nudge back onto their path or answers to an increasingly unclear question?
The odd thing is that, after smuggling home one of these books, I am always very resistant to them – you really have to be going some to get through my cynical defence shields. I tend to pick them the book up, leaf through it, scoff and put it down on more than one occasion before I actually get started. I’ve definitely abandoned about 75% of them after chapter one – and that’s after I already vetted and vetoed a whole stack of them in the library. Is this a natural sense of caution and self-defence or just another manifestation of my own particular blend of neuroses?
To try and crack the cycle I’ve taken a different tack over the last week and it’s actually be the reason why my blog is late… I’ve checked out a Psychology textbook. For years I’ve wanted to do a course on Psychology at night school but have always allowed my lack of finances to get in the way. Then I readsomething Stephen Fry had to say about learning – that he cannot understand why people blame a lack of education when there are such amazing libraries at their disposal. So, I took action and got the text book – just to see if I really was interested or if it was a way to get free and slightly less therapy.
The initially interesting thing was that I did my usual leafing and ignoring thing for the first two weeks I had checked the book out – in fact I was going to return it when the library staff went on strike for a week and I found myself bored on a Sunday afternoon and the book staring at me. I then went into another of my default delaying mechanisms – finding a lovely book to make notes in and a pen that would make my notes look nice and neat and a good cup of tea…. Finally I decided to actually get on with what now felt like my homework. And here’s the thing – I’m really loving it. I’m not rushing through as I’m savouring so many of the ideas and I haven’t got my usual defensive resistance as it’s an educational source as opposed to a potentially cynical ploy to make money from the lecture and chat show circuit. I feel like I’ve learned heaps about myself and have started a monthly savings direct debit towards a training course.