In my observation, the majority of people who start self development begin exploring self development and psychology from a place of pain.
Something in their life is intensely unhappy.... they are suffering... and they want the suffering to end.
People who take action in this situation will often realize that their depression, or their social anxiety, or their fear of stepping out and starting their own business, or their lack of self respect, confusion about life goals are all things that they can resolve and overcome by doing good intense self development.
With some dedicated work, and skilled guidance, these problems are usually overcome.
Success! My problems are all gone.
The problem I see is that quite frequently, once the pain is gone, the motivation for self-development is gone as well.
And as a consequence, these people tend to stop growing.
A common example of this is in dating and relationships. A lot of men who crave relationships don't know how to form them, so they join a group where they can learn from other men, where they can be inspired, and where they can practice skills like social approaching, playfulness, leading interactions and inviting people into their lives.
For those who are dedicated to taking action, the growth can happen very quickly.
This happens very much in the same way that if you go to the gym, and hit the iron hard on a daily basis - with a well designed plan, and good nutrition - you're going to grow fast.
Effort + intelligent action = growth.
These guys will feel intense distress over their inability to connect with women until suddenly they have a girlfriend.
And suddenly... the pain is gone.
They feel love. They feel attention. They're having sex. And there's no reason to go out and continue developing their social skills. Approaching strangers, starting conversations, being assertive, confident, playful.
No more work seems to be necessary, because they already have achieved their goal.
Why is stopping your development a problem?
First, most relationships don't last. Especially your first relationships, when you're just learning who you are, and what you like in a partner.
And second. those skills you've developed won't last either.
Use it or lose it.
Back to our bodybuilding analogy. If you're training super hard for a competition, And then complete it, and stop bodybuilding, What do you think's going to happen?
You may have achieved your goal. But all of that hard work had a very temporary win associated with it.
The point of self development isn't a quick, temporary victory in some area of life.
The point of self development is transformation.
It's about developing new capabilities, new skills, new perspectives on the world that are enabling - so that no matter what happens in your world, you are prepared to meet the challenge.
I strongly encourage you to think about this. Are there areas of your life that you've stopped growing, that you stopped challenging yourself that you've stopped self development? Or are you progressing continually raising the bar at each victory?
Keep Raising the Bar
But more than just continuing, you need to increase the challenge in order to grow further.
In fact, I'd encourage you to raise the bar as high as you can.
What's the biggest challenge you can face? Because as long as you can survive it, you will grow as fast as you possibly can in that environment.
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