Doh!!!! So much help; so little improvement!

Think about it. You can get help these days on every aspect of your life; sex, work, relationships, stress, fitness, eating, career, even laughter and happiness! So why aren't we all expert at everything and leading amazingly successful, happy lives? Could the whole self help model be broken?

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I can't help thinking something's wrong. Mental health issues are steeply on the rise in schools. People generally feel more isolated and lonely than ever. Binge drinking and eating continue to rise and more people feel stressed than ever. Why?

Given the range of amazing technology, coaching and psychological support available, shouldn't these trends be going the other way? Is there something fundamentally wrong with the way we are trying to improve our lives?

Could it be that change now happens so fast and the volume of noise competing for our attention is so great, that all the help, coaching, books and technology on offer to make our lives better, is simply adding to the stress and burden of already overburdened lives?

Do we need to be told how to laugh, or be happy or distress or would we better stopping doing stuff and simply finding ourselves, playing, laughing, talking and chilling as a result?

Is the answer to simply, turn everything off, close all the books and be ourselves for a bit? After all we learn and grow best when we play!

Will Murray

Founder, Packtypes Gets you talking. Makes you think


Go to the profile of James Craig
almost 7 years ago
Great piece - whole heartedly and enthusiastically love all that is above in this blog. The piece around the suggestion of turning things off is interesting and my main point of comment. I feel that there is a need to truly have an approach that is accessible for the masses and can be a core part of a persons daily life. The health agenda and the leading a happy and mentally stable life have obvious parallels. Public Health England however have the focused attention to look at the core health indicators in the nation and then invest time and effort into tackling the most prevalent health problems. If only there was an openness and joined up approach to ensuring the nation has a balanced, happy, fulfilling and meaningful life. I propose we should not switch off, but in fact switch on to ourselves and others and synthesise the most prevalent indicators to having the balanced, happy, fulfilling and meaningful life. Once we have a focus and a joined approach and mutually agree the key indicators of how we get there, it is then, that we can start to efficiently put the appropriate resources in place to help the masses enjoy life. If only their was an independent, resource, life coach, streamlined psychological domain and a philosophy that was accessible and objective to the delicate needs of a nation. There is answers out there but how do we engage people on this subject matter that for alot of people is a subject only for a shrink or the nearest and dearest? I think my last additional point is the reference to being ourselves a bit, and the lonely fear I think there actually is of not being definitive of knowing our "self"...alot of people will lead a life and have say with conviction that they do, but from my humble perspective and personal experience, we don't, I still don't. That is OK though as if we have the self awareness to know it and address it, we can then overcome it and help ourselves define it. Also I propose that our life are chapters which are defined by different versions of "self" which all make an interesting performance to live and read. Idea of chasing a one "self" concept for me at least seems like to much pressure.
Go to the profile of Michelle Turner-Davidson
almost 7 years ago
Will, thank you for expressing this so well! In addition, the 'distractions' of a modern life focus heavily on human doing rather than human being . We work so hard and 'DO' so much to find out who we are we're then too exhausted to 'be'! Such a paradox and so much fear (of the unknown? and moreso fear of who we 'believe' we may be if we take the time to find out...) The more we search for answers the less we see and the less we know / understand and then opinions and perceptions of others become more significant than the time we spend on our own or in company just living and communicating and being ourselves. Time for a change. James, great comments, I agree - creating the right environment is key to being more self- aware and 'Doing' less. Being around the right people who are of like mind is fundamental. Organisations and Institutions are made up of people, where power games and fear are normal - it will take time to shift people's attitudes, and bring about any fundamental change. So one person at a time, it is. Fear is a huge factor to overcome and many people are afraid to play -Many People are afraid to BE - Like most things however, the more you play, the more you want to play and the human 'being' reveals itself and the fear strips away.
Go to the profile of Will Murray
almost 7 years ago
Thank you James and Michelle. Play is seductive and so much more fun than study. Why do so many adults feel pressured to stop playing just because they are a bit more grown up? I have been developing an idea called 'transformational play' using play to encourage increased self awareness with both children's and adults. Its great fun and really effective. The best bit is that it is so simple it doesn't really require any training!
Go to the profile of David Head
almost 7 years ago
Great piece James and made me think about the whole self-help thing- in particular a comment I read recently (on life-labs I believe) that 'no amount of self-help can make up for any lack of self-acceptance'. The mad dash to do or become something greater and better implies that the core self is somehow not good enough already. Too many people are losing touch with themselves and what makes them special (including play!) which combined with a lack of spiritual connection, leaves a great chasm. Self help maybe a sticking plaster at best or a placebo at worst..