As somebody who is self employed and works alone in his office all day, I don’t have the benefit of having somebody giving me inspiring pep talks like Chuck does in this strip. Like everything in life, it’s a two-sided coin: I have only myself to rely on for motivation. Many people who are or were self employed too, mention this as one of the biggest challenges. And it definitely is! Especially in times of the internet, where endless entertainment is only a mouse click away. On the other hand, I don’t have a boss bossing me around or coworkers who distract me. There’s no office politics either. I can be as productive as I want to be and all potential benefits of hard work accrue to me.

As for motivation: It started slowly over the years, but I have grown more and more fond of motivational books. When I was young, I was scoffing and secretly smiling at people who read self help books. Imagine that. I was a teenager and young adult who thought he knew it all already. I’m sure I must have been the only one! Anyway, now I like to read the occasional book about how to be successful or on investment etc. and even though I don’t put 95% of what I read in practice, I always feel motivated and energized after reading something like that. That feeling alone, plus the one or two lessons I do take out of a book are more than worth the money.

Some examples of simple lessons would be: “Try to remember more people’s names and faces” (Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends and Influence People). “Don’t try to beat the market, buy an index fund.” (Burton Malkiel – A Random Walk Down Wall Street). “Eat less sugar.” (Mark Sisson – Primal Blueprint). Etc. etc. Other books I enjoyed were the “Rich Dad – Poor Dad” series or “4 hour work week”.

The latest thing I read and now try to implement is parts of, dare I say my “colleague” Scott Adams (Dilbert), new book called “How to fail at almost everything and still win big.” The big point I took out of that book was to not focus on goals (e.g. I want to lose 10 pounds (which I don’t, my weight is fine, but just as an example)), but to create systems that take willpower out of the equation (e.g. remove all sugar crap from the house and replace it with healthy snacks like nuts, so, when you do get weak, you snack healthy stuff). That way, you don’t feel like “not reaching the goal yet” with one brief moment of satisfaction when you do, but more like successfully using a system every time you apply it.

Does anybody have suggestions for other self help / motivational books? Or do you think that is all bull crap anyway?