I’ve never written a self-help book and probably never shall.  I did contemplate doing one and made several false starts in that direction but never felt the urge to complete it.

The experience left me with only one take away, to never buy a second self-help book from the same author.  My reasoning is that if there is a second on the same subject then something must be invalid in the first.  If true, will there be a third, making the second obsolete?

During my “coming to grips with life” period I spent some time working as a “life coach” and actually found people who were willing to follow my advice.  Some clients benefitted by reaching their goals, others by abandoning theirs and reassessing what they truly wanted from life.

While employed in that activity I managed to distill the process to a few salient points, not nearly enough for a book.  And at the cost of a bit of your time, here they are.

First an observation and a quote.  The observation is that you can have anything you want in this life, you just can’t have everything that you want.  Another way to say that is prioritize your desires and then make choices.  The quote is from Lucius Annaeus Seneca:  If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.


(1) Know where you want to go.  Follow the advice of Seneca and decide which port of call you wish to arrive at.  I had a client who wanted to travel the USA in an RV and be paid for doing it.  We worked through the process and she landed a job writing for a camper’s magazine.

(2) Make three lists.  On the first, name everyone that you know, or know of, who would be interested in seeing you succeed in obtaining your goal.  On the second, all those who would be neutral to your ambition and on the third anyone who might be opposed to seeing you achieve it.  Once the lists are finished discuss your goal with EVERYONE on the first list and with NO ONE on the other two, without regard to your relationship to them or any other position they may have in your life.

(3) And now the work begins.  Either alone, or in consultation with an appropriate person from the first list, decide on the very first step to be taken toward your goal and then do that thing as quickly as possible.

(4) Repeat step number 3 as often as necessary.  Throughout the entire process be mindful of the “cost to benefit” ratio.  If the cost to you, either financially, physically or spiritually, begins to outweigh any possible benefit then you must abandon that goal and begin again at step number 1.  (Yes, the lists will change)

A second client example: A young lady’s goal was to live in a castle in Germany.  Although she spoke no German we managed to network her to a position as a tour guide for a British company which based her in Frankfurt.  I have no idea if she ever got the castle but she was well on her way.

As you can see, no book, just a couple of common sense ideas that if followed will lead to one of two conclusions.  You will either obtain your goal or you will decide that it isn’t worth the price you would have to pay to get it.  Either way you win.

In conclusion, one more from Seneca: It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.

About rixlibris

Retired from child care photography after thirty years of coaxing smiles and wiping noses. Currently venting years of repressed fictional story lines via self-published novels. Married and still alive in a remote corner of Waller County, Texas.
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  1. Roxanne says:

    Yet another layer of you. You are like an everlasting Gobstopper. Great advice!

  2. rixlibris says:

    Thanks for that. I have found that most people don’t get the things they want because they really don’t want the things they want. At least not enough to do that which is necessary to get them. A son of mine once came home from middle school and announced the he “wanted to speak German,” When I said that we could get a book and some audio lessons he replied, “no, dad, I don’t want to study German, I just want to speak it.”

  3. A wonderful post. Interesting how writing goals down (versus simply musing) grounds them. I guess I should get my pen and notebook out:)

    • rixlibris says:

      You definitely should. Start with a goal (only one) and then follow the steps as outlined. Be careful in writing the lists of people. Be ruled by your mind, not your heart.

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