Why I Don’t Like Zen Habits

July 13, 2008


Is your nose permanently stuck in self improvement books? Have you read every single post on Zen Habits at least twice? Or do you find any reading materials that tell you how you should be living your life just a tad irritating?

I was reading this post by Skellie and I was surprised to find myself admitting that although some of the posts on Zen Habits were good, I wasn’t keen on others – I found them repetitive. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Zen Habits, it’s Leo Babauta’s amazingly popular self improvement blog.

Later that day, I found myself pondering on why I didn’t like many of Leo’s posts. For a start, he’s an interesting writer and he covers many topics I enjoy. Plus, I prefer to read information that is repeated in varied and interesting ways, as repetition is the easiest way to learn. In fact, the most useful self help books I’ve read repeat the most important points throughout the book.

So there had to be another reason. And while I was reading this post, by Dr Cason, it finally dawned on me. The reason I dislike some of Leo’s posts so much is because they make me feel completely hopeless. It’s kind of irritating when some perfectionist rams their organised and healthy morning routine down your throat, when your average morning consists of 20 cigarettes and a dozen cups of coffee while you try to complete work you should have done last week. And it’s even worse when they remind you that you still suck at time management, even though you’ve read a dozen books on the subject.

My reading avoidance doesn’t just apply to self improvement. When I was going through a particularly unhealthy phase in my life, I began to avoid two of my favourite health blogs – Vegan Momma and The Fit Shack. I really enjoy the content but I could no longer look at pictures of Opal Tribble glowing with health, or read JoLynn’s motivational posts without feeling guilty. I was reading all this great advice and ignoring it, in favour of carrying on with my extremely unhealthy and dangerous ways.

Thinking about it, it would be far better to read less and do more, so no more self improvement books for a while. Oh, but first I have to read Steve Pavlina's new book and I’ve been promising myself Eckhart Toll's latest for quite a while.

Are you like me – do you read far too many self improvement materials and fail to use much of the advice to improve your life? Do you avoid reading things that you know would help you, because you feel guilty about the way you’re living?

Image Credit Cogdogblog


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