Self-improvement – the biggest thing to avoid

The demand for self-improvement products has never been higher in modern times. The self-help/personal development industry is a billion dollar industry. Just walk into any bookstore and you’ll see rows of self-improvement books. It’s like every other week there’s a new book by a new success guru. Similarly, there are many audio programs, videos, seminars and courses on various categories of self-improvement. Despite the relatively high price to purchase these seminars and courses, the demand is still as high as ever.

It’s common to hear stories of successful individuals who read tons of self-improvement books, take tons of courses, and basically stuff their brains with anything that can help them improve and succeed. Continually delving into personal development material can help maintain the momentum of continuous improvement and success.

While it’s great, there’s always the danger of overdoing it. As with everything else in life, balance is needed. For all self-improvement enthusiasts, there is the possibility of falling into the trap of using self-improvement for hope rather than actual results.

Have you ever known or heard of someone who reads book after book, attends seminar after seminar, and is constantly searching for the latest ‘success secret’, but can never turn it all into external success? Despite failure, these people continue to do the same thing, keeping their faith in the self-improvement movement.

If what they learn doesn’t make a big difference, they continue to read more books, attend other seminars, and continue to search for the secret ingredient that they believe will change their lives.

And in the end, they do it their whole life without actually achieving any of the success promised in the books/seminars/courses.

Because they are unhappy and want to change various aspects of their lives, people turn to self-improvement – ​​because it promises the possibility of change. But that turn to self-improvement can become like an addiction, like a drug.

Here’s an example. When things aren’t going well, buy a book that promises to teach you how to quickly turn things around. You start thinking “Yeah, if I learn this, everything will be fine”. Now you have some hope. Immerse yourself in the book for the next 3 months. But then nothing much changed. So you start feeling depressed again, until you see an ad for a successful course that promises to change your life. Then you feel great again, you are optimistic about the future. But 6 months after taking the course things are still the same. You feel down again…until you see another big thing that promises the same results… And this can go on and on.

Many self-improvement enthusiasts unknowingly, when they do this, they are only using self-improvement to buy themselves hope for a better future. This keeps them focused on solving problems in the future instead of facing them now. Because of this, they continue to dream of a wonderful future, and it makes life in the present more bearable. In other words, they use self-improvement to keep themselves in the dreamland of a beautiful future, while forgetting to take action to deal with the reality of the current situation.

The truth is that most teachings and techniques do work. If you have gone through various personal development teachings, you will realize that most of them preach similar things. The reason some people succeed and others don’t is that apart from learned techniques and philosophy, to succeed you need passion, willpower, discipline and single-mindedness and a burning desire to achieve.

So before you start looking for a new book, a new course, or getting involved in something new, ask yourself, “Do I have a burning desire to succeed? Have I mastered what I’ve learned and am I using it daily? Am I using self-improvement to buy hope instead of really improve?”

Make sure you don’t get addicted to buying hope through self-improvement.

Copyright (c) Ethan Beh

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