An Analytical Approach to Self Improvement

Readers who’ve been following PickTheBrain for the past few months may have noticed my inability to pick a tagline and stick with it. Each one I chose felt wrong after a couple weeks because the purpose of the site continued to evolve. I started writing without a plan and followed my inspiration. After more than 6 months of experimentation and feedback, I’ve finally found a purpose and a tagline that I’d like to explain.

What Pick The Brain Isn’t

One of the reasons I took so long to commit to “An Analytical Approach to Self Improvement” is that self improvement has some negative stigmas. Until recently I’ve never had an interest in the business of self help and I don’t believe it can be constrained to one tiny genre. I don’t want to be lumped in with the thousands of books and websites repeating generic lectures on goal setting, positive thinking, etc. These things are all well and good, but we’ve heard them so many times that they don’t make an impact. Here is what “An Analytical Approach to Self Improvement” doesn’t mean.

1. It isn’t about jumping on the bandwagon with Tony Robbins and all the other motivational gurus.

Although this website is a business, I don’t have seminars, audio programs, or books to sell. I don’t promote myself as a guru. The way I see it, we’re all in this together and the exchange of information goes both ways. I’m here to present the truth to you through the lens of my personal experience without the marketing spin.

2. It isn’t about motivating with emotional gimmickry.

Emotions are temporary. While a great speaker might get you fired up for a week or two, the emotional peak inevitably ends and you fall back to earth no better than you started. Permanent change only occurs when we make a mental breakthrough. This site is about taking a scientific look at our thoughts and actions, identifying the cause of our behavior, and using that knowledge to make improvements.

3. It isn’t about trying to become the ideal person.

There is no ideal person, and if there was, it wouldn’t be anything like the millionaires and movie stars society worships. Self improvement is a continuous process; there is no finish line. Treating life as a competition is counterproductive. It makes us envy our friends and despise ourselves. The purpose of this site is to get past the petty squabbling and find what really makes us happy. Instead of striving for outside approval, it’s about recognizing our unique brilliance and being able to enjoy it, even if no one else notices.

4. It isn’t about pretending life would be perfect if we had a positive attitude.

There is a lot to be said in favor of positive thinking, but it can’t be denied that life involves a great deal of suffering. This site is about taking a cold hard look at the reality of human life and facing it as best we can. I don’t promise to eliminate your problems or make your life easy, but I’ve found that the more knowledge and experience I acquire, the easier it is to endure hardship and tolerate shortcomings in myself and others. The purpose of this site is to share that knowledge.

Why Self Improvement?

I kept coming back to self improvement because I started this site to improve my own life. In that respect it’s already a success, and the business aspect is coming to fruitition as well. I wouldn’t say I was miserable before, but something was missing. I felt like a drone going through the motions without passion or enthusiasm. I felt powerless against destiny and that my creative abilities were going to waste.

This website has given me a creative outlet, a way to connect with like minded people, and a purpose that focuses my mind on something constructive, rather than worrying about things I can’t control. From the feedback I’ve gotten, it’s safe to say that many of you have benefited from PickTheBrain as well. 🙂

Site Content and Frequency

In the past 6 months I’ve learned a lot about what works, what doesn’t, and how much writing I can produce. The purpose of my writing is sharing valuable information. Different styles of writing do this in different ways. The main styles I plan to use are:

  1. Personal Experience – These articles share important lessons that I’ve learned through experience. They focus on my thought process and the mental breakthrough that lead to success. These articles convey knowledge well because shared experiences create a bond of mutual understanding between reader and writer. Examples include: Overcoming a Loss of Motivation and Making the Best of a Situation.
  2. Instructional Tips – These “how to” posts share practical knowledge through concrete tips. Rather than elaborating on experience, I’ll only share the most important lessons I’ve learned. The posts will usually be in the form of a list for the sake of brevity and precision. Examples include: George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing .
  3. Theoretical Knowledge – These posts focus on high level theoretical concepts that have important practical applications. Instead sharing tips, these posts are about sharing the ideas behind the tips. Examples include: Balancing the Future and the Present and How Primitive Desires Cause Social Problems.
  4. General Insights – The purpose of these posts is to increase our understanding of the world. This relates to self improvement indirectly. Understanding our environment helps us understand ourselves. These posts aim to provoke thought and discussion. Examples include: Why Believe the Simple Truth When Lies are More Appealling? and Why are we Afraid of the Truth?.
  5. Experiments – In these posts I’ll try something new and report back to you with the results. Examples include: Can Anyone Gain 34 Pounds of Muscle in a Month? and The Amazing Effects of a Weekend Without Television.

The majority of posts will fall into these 5 categories, but don’t be surprised if I branch out occasionally into humor or other areas when I feel inspired. There will always be a tie to self improvement.

I’ve found that 3 substantial posts a week is the most I can do without a drop off in quality. These will generally be published on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. This might not seem like much, but I write lengthy articles on timeless ideas, so old posts retain their value indefinitely. If you ever need something to read I encourage you to browse through the archives.

This post has gone on long enough, but in closing I’d like to thank all of you for helping me to reach this level of success. Without your feedback and encouragement I’d have quit long ago. The best part of my day is checking my email in the morning to find all the new comments and messages you’ve left. I look forward to many more months of sharing ideas, forming relationships, and improving the world, one individual at a time.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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