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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 December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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