To get the most out of personal development, it’s often what you don’t do that makes the biggest difference. What slows people down the most is persisting with something that just doesn’t work. It might be some pet theory that someone espouses without ever checking it for effectiveness. Or we may be hooked on doing something that worked for someone else simply because we want it to work so badly.
Going to one extreme or the other is often a bad idea.
Here are a few things to avoid doing to excess, but which you also have to do at least a little. It might explain why some advice seems so contradictory. Rest assured it’s all brought together at the end of this blog.
We’ve all been there, being a lone wolf, a hero, doing things that are meant to help us grow but which too often don’t succeed because:
Developing yourself in a vacuum is incredibly hard, and often impossible. It may also stop you from actually getting any practical or worthwhile progress. Encouragement from other people and being part of a team of like-minded people has its own issues too. So, it’s important to not listen to others too much.
It’s imperative that we have time to ourselves but also that we consider the perspectives of others to enrich our approach. This can enrich our own lives.
Even the best-meaning advice with the best intentions can be the worst advice for us in our own unique circumstance. It all comes down to correct application of the right remedy at the right time and in the right proportion.
When we rely too much on advice from others or shop around for what we want to hear, we risk:
The opinions of others ideally will serve as a sounding board for us to make our own decisions. However, when we get advice from friends and relatives there is so often a bias or a projection that they bring into what they share with us. It’s best to listen to yourself and use the input of others to assist you in your own choices.
So much personal development is missed out on because people simply don’t give it a go. Try things out instead. If you read a great idea in a book or see something online that seems like it could enhance your life, do something with it, even to the tiniest degree. Theorizing about it without applying it gets you nowhere, except perhaps into a deluded state that you know what a process, a method or a discipline will produce. The worst that can usually happen is that it doesn’t work. If it is too dangerous or risky for you, do some risk minimization or even get a professional to advise you.
If you’ve read hundreds of self-help books (and maybe not even finished them) and attended loads of seminars or webinars without taking any real action, you are probably missing out on:
Lessons that can only be learned by having an experience
Life is to be lived. Our modern society puts too much emphasis on learning theories and pretending an opinion means as much as actual experience. Be bold and live your life as though you don’t have forever to do what matters to you, because you don’t.
So much personal development is less effective because we think that some idea or theory is more important than our actual experience. You are the authority on how you live your life and some guru or expert no matter how enlightened, wise or educated does not know your life and your situation better than you. What’s more, the mistakes you might make are yours to live with and the rewards and fulfillment of success are likewise yours to savour.
Avoid sticking to some theory or method that is simply not right for you. Sometimes methods take time to produce results but if it simply isn’t giving your results or it feels wrong in your belly, then sticking to it could mean:
A lot of personal development is hampered because we are too extreme in its application. Or perhaps we are too extreme in our expectations of ourselves. Jumping in head first without real consideration can be waste or energy and potential as much as doing nothing at all. Being extreme in our approach means that life often has to teach us balance. The more unbalanced we are the harsher the lessons about balance will be.
If you are too extreme in your approach to how you grow within yourself you may experience:
Being extreme in your approach to personal development can also prevent you from consolidating and incorporating what you’ve learned about yourself, the world and your chosen role in it.
The ideal way for most people to grow is in a way that transcends the contradictions by ensuring you:
This is a challenging mix to get right and to get it right you need to be around:
This environment can be found in Empowerment Circles.