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 go to any bookstore and you will see rows upon rows of self improvement books. It’s like every other week there is a new book from a new success guru. Similarly, there are plenty of audio programmes, videos, seminars and courses on a variety of self improvement categories. Despite the relatively high price to purchase these seminars & courses, the demand is still as great as ever.
It’s common to hear stories of successful individuals reading tons of self improvement books, attending numerous courses, and basically filling their brains with anything that can help them improve and succeed. Continually engulfing oneself in personal development material can help keep the momentum of constant improvement and success.
Though great as it is, there is always a danger of overdoing it. Like everything else in life, balance is needed. For every self improvement enthusiasts out there, there is the possibility of falling into the trap of using self improvement to gain hope rather than actual results.
Have you ever known or heard of someone who reads book after book, attends seminar after seminar and keeps seeking the latest ‘success secret’ but are never able to generate all that into external success? Despite not having success, these people keep doing the same thing, maintaining their belief in the self improvement movement.
If what they had learned did not bring big changes, they go on reading more books, attending other seminars, and continue to seek the secret ingredient which they believe will transform their lives.
And in the end, they do this all their lives without actually getting any of the success that was promised in the books/seminars/courses.
Because they are unhappy and want to change various aspects of their lives, people turn to self improvement – as it promises of the possibility of making changes. But this turning to self improvement can become like an addiction, like a drug.
Here’s an example. When things aren’t going well, you buy a book which promises it can teach you how to turn things around quickly. You start to think “Yeah, if I learn this stuff everything will be fine”. So now you got some hope. For the next 3 months you immerse yourself in the book. But then nothing much changed. So you start feeling depressed again, until you see an ad for a success course which promises to change your life. Then you feel great again, you’re optimistic for the future. But 6 months after attending 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.
Unknowingly to many self improvement enthusiasts, when they do this they are just using self improvement to buy themselves hope for a better future. This continually puts their focus on solving problems in the future, rather than facing the issues head on right now. This keeps them dreaming of a wonderful future, and makes living in the present more bearable. Putting it another way, they are using self improvement to keep themselves in a dreamland of a wonderful future, and forgets to take action to deal with the reality of the current situation.
Truth is most of the teachings and techniques out there are really works. If you have been through various personal development teachings, you will realize that most are preaching similar things. The reason why some people succeed and others do not is because apart from the techniques and philosophy learned, to succeed you need passion, willpower, discipline, and a single mindedness & burning desire to achieve.
So before you start looking for a new book, a new course or get involved in something new, ask yourself “Do I have the burning desire to succeed? Did I master what I learned and am I using it everyday? Am I using self improvement to buy hope rather than really improve myself?”
Make sure that you do not fall into the addiction of buying hope from self improvement.
Copyright (c) Ethan Beh