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The Problem with Personal Development

The Problem with Personal Development


    Personal development. Type the term into Google and you get 115 million results, give or take a blog or two. That’s not surprising. The personal development industry is worth billions of dollars. And that number will keep growing now that the global economic downturn has left millions out of work, reconsidering what they want to do with their lives and looking for new ways to get ahead.

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    But there’s a problem. With hundreds of programs, thousands of books, and what sometimes seems like millions of blogs, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And, much like Barry Schwartz discussed in the paradox of choice:

    “…with so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all.”

    Analysis Paralysis

    And it gets worse. “Even if we manage to overcome the paralysis and make a choice,” Schwartz continues, “we end up less satisfied with the result of the choice than we would be if we had fewer options to choose from.” In other words, we end up blaming ourselves because we feel we could have done better.

    Breaking through the noise

    Fortunately, there’s a way for us to solve these problems:

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    • We need to focus on timeless principles. After reading dozens of books for my research on The Monumental Life, I noticed that the same basic ideas came up over and over again. That’s why I don’t get the big deal with EFT, NLP, LOA, or other confusing self-help terms. We don’t have to chase the latest and greatest techniques just like those silly magazines that come out with the “best ever” ab routine every single month. Instead, we should focus on what’s been shown to work over the long-term.
    • We need to focus on taking action. Be honest: How many times have you read a great self-help book or gone through a brilliant personal development program only to soon forget all the principles you learned? I’ve lost track of how many times this has happened to me! It all turns into a waste of time because what we learn doesn’t make a difference in our lives or in the lives of anyone else. And isn’t that the point? That’s why we need to focus on applying what we learn. Unless what you’re taking in isn’t going to be applied in some way, you might as well not even bother.

    Great Expectations

    Schwartz concluded his TED Talk by saying that the key to happiness is lower expectations. What do you think? Should we expect less from personal development? Or should we simply make better choices when it comes to our inner growth? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

    (Photo credit: Stressed Businessman via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

    Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

    In Personal Development-speak, we are always talking about goals, outcomes, success, desires and dreams. In other words, all the stuff we want to do, achieve and create in our world.

    And while it’s important for us to know what we want to achieve (our goal), it’s also important for us to understand why we want to achieve it; the reason behind the goal or some would say, our real goal.

    Why is goal setting important?

    1. Your needs and desire will be fulfilled.

    Sometimes when we explore our “why”, (why we want to achieve a certain thing) we realize that our “what” (our goal) might not actually deliver us the thing (feeling, emotion, internal state) we’re really seeking.

    For example, the person who has a goal to lose weight in the belief that weight loss will bring them happiness, security, fulfillment, attention, popularity and the partner of their dreams. In this instance, their “what” is weight-loss and their “why” is happiness (etc.) and a partner.

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    Six months later, they have lost the weight (achieved their goal) but as is often the case, they’re not happier, not more secure, not more confident, not more fulfilled and in keeping with their miserable state, they have failed to attract their dream partner.

    After all, who wants to be with someone who’s miserable? They achieved their practical goal but still failed to have their needs met.

    So they set a goal to lose another ten pounds. And then another. And maybe just ten more. With the destructive and erroneous belief that if they can get thin enough, they’ll find their own personal nirvana. And we all know how that story ends.

    2. You’ll find out what truly motivates you

    The important thing in the process of constructing our best life is not necessarily what goals we set (what we think we want) but what motivates us towards those goals (what we really want).

    The sooner we begin to explore, identify and understand what motivates us towards certain achievements, acquisitions or outcomes (that is, we begin moving towards greater consciousness and self awareness), the sooner we will make better decisions for our life, set more intelligent (and dare I say, enlightened) goals and experience more fulfilment and less frustration.

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    We all know people who have achieved what they set out to, only to end up in the same place or worse (emotionally, psychologically, sociologically) because what they were chasing wasn’t really what they were needing.

    What we think we want will rarely provide us with what we actually need.

    3. Your state of mind will be a lot healthier

    We all set specific goals to achieve/acquire certain things (a job, a car, a partner, a better body, a bank balance, a title, a victory) because at some level, most of us believe (consciously or not) that the achievement of those goals will bring us what we really seek; joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

    Of course, setting practical, material and financial goals is an intelligent thing to do considering the world we live in and how that world works.

    But setting goals with an expectation that the achievement of certain things in our external, physical world will automatically create an internal state of peace, contentment, joy and total happiness is an unhealthy and unrealistic mindset to inhabit.

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    What you truly want and need

    Sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious (superficial) goals to discover and secure what we really want.

    Sadly, we live in a collective mindset which teaches that the prettiest and the wealthiest are the most successful.

    Some self-help frauds even teach this message. If you’re rich or pretty, you’re happy. If you’re both, you’re very happy. Pretty isn’t what we really want; it’s what we believe pretty will bring us. Same goes with money.

    When we cut through the hype, the jargon and the self-help mumbo jumbo, we all have the same basic goals, desires and needs:

    Joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

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    Nobody needs a mansion or a sport’s car but we all need love.

    Nobody needs massive pecs, six percent body-fat, a face lift or bigger breasts but we all need connection, acceptance and understanding.

    Nobody needs to be famous but we all need peace, calm, balance and happiness.

    The problem is, we live in a culture which teaches that one equals the other. If only we lived in a culture which taught that real success is far more about what’s happening in our internal environment, than our external one.

    It’s a commonly-held belief that we’re all very different and we all have different goals — whether short term or long term goals. But in many ways we’re not, and we don’t; we all want essentially the same things.

    Now all you have to do is see past the fraud and deception and find the right path.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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