There’s been a lot of haters of late talking out against personal development. They say that people spreading positivity and telling you to grow as a person are full of the proverbial brown stuff.
They call advocates of personal development like myself self-help gurus.
All of this is BS.
The real reason there are critics of personal development.
First off, there’s no conspiracy here. There isn’t some secret plan to overthrow the personal development movement and burn every copy of Think And Grow Rich that has ever been printed.
Here’s why the critics are bagging personal development:
It’s easier to be different than it is to be better. BEING DIFFERENT IS HOW YOU GAIN ***ATTENTION***
The reason people are bagging personal development is because they want to go against the vast majority that sees value in some or all of what personal development offers.
Being a critic of personal development is the modern-day version of rebelling and listening to punk music like some of you did in the 80’s (not me, I’m a 90’s kid…haha).
More than that, being a critic is how you get the intravenous drip of followers, attention, likes, comments and eyeballs. The issue is not personal development at all.
I advocate for personal development because it works.
In 2011, my life was up shit creek without a paddle. If it weren’t for the whole personal development movement, I would never have got out of the deep hole I was in.
I’m not sure what might have happened, but I hate to think. My mind was going into meltdown and I had nothing but disturbing thoughts.
Through a series of books and one event I attended in person, I began to see another way. I saw a tiny bit of light within all of the darkness.
As I continued to become obsessed with growing and the tools that personal development teaches, everything changed.
I now teach others about what I learned because it works. It hasn’t just worked for me; it’s worked for so many people in my life.
I also get hundreds of messages a week across all the different social media channels from people who have experienced a significant change in their life thanks to personal development. Personal development works.
Here are the benefits of personal development:
1. We’re all searching for meaning
That’s why personal development focuses on finding what brings you joy and what gives you meaning in life.
Finding meaning is an enormous task but we have a lifetime to discover it. Some people call it meaning, other people call it purpose and it can even be referred to as having a vision.
Whatever you want to call it, searching for meaning is an incredibly powerful way to enhance your human experience and go all in. Finding meaning is how you find the extra energy and motivation to keep going when things get tough.
I’ve personally had so much joy out of helping to inspire the world through entrepreneurship and personal development. Everything I do is centered around that purpose and it’s become the meaning of my life.
Not sure what there is to hate about that.
2. We get to grow together
Many of the bloggers that share my love of personal development have reached out to me over the last year. Each of us wants to make a difference and leave a legacy behind.
I have Skype calls with Nicolas Cole, Benjamin Hardy, Joel Brown, Anthony Moore and the list goes on. Each of us shares ideas and tools with each other.
Personal development has brought us together and our individual growth has compounded because we’ve grown together. That’s the power of going beyond yourself and sharing what you have with people that want to make a difference.
3. Helping others is fulfilling
There’s no shortage in the personal development movement of advice that centers around helping other people.
Rather than following our selfish desires and only doing the things that serve ourselves, personal development encourages us to take things to the next level.
It teaches how getting what you want is tied to helping other people get what they want.
“If I were to distill it down to one thing, it would be this: personal development is about embracing our human nature and the philosophy that we’re all interconnected”
Can’t see anything wrong with this personally but hey, what the hell right?
4. Chasing passions
Why not do what we love?
If this is bad advice then freaking shoot me now and let’s be done with it. A lot of what the personal development movement advocates is to do more of what we love.
The crux of personal development is that doing something we love removes friction and allows you to be creative at something we’re highly likely to become good at (with practice).
The critics say that doing what we love is near impossible and that it’s woo-woo clap your hands and sing kumbaya talk. They think we want to go hug a tree because we believe in doing stuff we love.
I’d rather you try and do something you love and fail, than have you do work you hate or live a life of meaningless to-do lists which leads to regrets later on.
5. The trap of money is exposed
A lot of what the personal development movement teaches is that money won’t make you happy. Nowhere does it say that money is not important though.
Encouraging fulfillment, goals, purpose and selflessness is far better than selling you the dream that a house, car, clothes, shoes, a partner that looks like a model - will make you happy. It won’t.
Knowing how to think about money so it doesn’t sabotage your success is a gift we should all be given. So many of us still haven’t got this gift yet. There’s a lot of work to be done.
6. A focus on giving up bad habits
You’ll hear the phrase “giving up” in personal development a lot. That’s because a lot of your habits are not serving you.
Knowing what is holding you back, and then giving it up, is how you make room for the habits that will serve you.
There’s nothing wrong with encouraging people to think differently and analyze what they’re already doing to see if it can be adjusted.
Habits are spoken about a lot because execution and doing the work is how you get what you want. You need habits to ensure you reach your goals, get what you want and grow as a person. Nothing meaningful can be achieved without positive habits.
7. Less is more
The traditional advice is to keep adding more things to your never-ending to-do list and calendar and to buy more stuff. By the end, you have so much information in your mind, a to-do list that never ends and a home full of ‘stuff.’
The personal development movement is teaching us to understand how focus can change everything in our life. Focus comes from taking away items, tasks and people that don’t serve us.
The advice seems harsh and impossible to follow but it’s not. What is holding us back is the volume of ideas, thoughts and objects we have to deal with on a daily basis. What we all need is more space.
“Creativity, business and life thrive in empty space”
We can reach this place through embracing the idea that less is more.