I’ve spent my adult life doing personal development. Hobbies have come and gone but that one thing never changed. I’ve relentlessly worked on my self via books, seminars, the internet and the rest.
So far so good. Personal development has changed my life for the better, but what if I’m one of the lucky ones?
There’s a dark side to personal development. It ruins the lives of those who encounter it. I fought it. Today is the day to expose it.
Every personal development system begins with an opportunity to self diagnose.
Do you feel like you don’t trust yourself?
How else is that showing up for you?
Do you want to know the things you don’t know about yourself?
Most personal development is built on a foundation of inadequacy. It’s the job of the book, workshop or guru to have you look critically into the mirror.
Why? Because until there is something wrong with you, there isn’t anything to be fixed. This is a problem. In personal development, happy and satisfied customers are bad for sales.
The reason personal development works, is that so many of us really do have things to improve. We need to work on ourselves. We have capability gaps worth closing.
You enter the dark side when you forget to push pause on the ceaseless diagnosing. You enter the dark side when you forget to be discriminating – allowing any and every expert to hold up the mirror of inadequacy.
You feed the demons of personal development when existing aptitude and gratitude is forgotten and “room for improvement” is all you see.
In the early days of my career, I started noticing self help junkies at the workshops and trainings I was attending. These people invested years and untold thousands attending seminar after seminar, always hoping the next one would finally complete them.
Of course, each workshop just offered yet another lens to look through. A new microscope for studying the brokenness of one’s psyche.
This kind of personal development promises a better future, tapping into one of our most powerful psychological tendencies: Optimism bias.
It allows you to believe that, with the help of some new fangled technique, you can identify all the ways you’re screwed up now… so that the future will be exponentially better.
This belief in a brighter future (we’re all just temporarily inconvenienced millionaires right?) gives us permission to accept the present as being, well, totally shit.
Even worse, it opens the door to believing you are totally shit.
But it’s okay, right? Because you’re figuring out why even as we speak and it’ll get better soon! Just as soon as you completely implement these new learnings, right? Right?!
Distrust any system or guru that offers nothing but a reflection of your vast inadequacies in the present, dangling a brighter enlightened future in front of you.
True personal growth is about making today better, so that you’re already more powerful when tomorrow comes.