this could help

muse 3.jpg

On a recent podcast, Patrick Rhone talked a little bit about choosing the title of his book This Could Help, a lovely collection of advice that covers everything from creativity to sickness.

Patrick shares that he named the book This Could Help rather than This Will Help because he saw those two titles as varying promises, and he knew that if just one person found his book and walked away with nothing useful for them, then he "would feel the weight of that one promise broken."

I admire this careful attention to a reader's relationship with an author's words and to delicate nature of advice-giving in general. I'd add that offering advice from this place of humility makes the advice more likely to stick. When the receiver of advice takes on board a suggestion with the promise that it might help, they are relieved of the burden that it must help. There's no stress that they've found the solution to their problems and that if it didn't work, they didn't do things right, or there is something wrong with them. The advice is more likely to work when freed from that burden and that stress of a definitive promise. In other words, saying "this could help" makes it more likely that "this will help."

In that spirit, this could help: buy a cheap alarm clock and charge your phone anywhere but your bedroom. I started doing this a few months ago and found that it dramatically improved the quality of my sleep, encouraged me to linger quietly in bed in the mornings, and made me walk to another room if I wanted to do something on my phone. It's not revolutionary. It's just a small change that sparked welcomed and easy improvement in my quality of life. It might help you.