The Dangers of Personal Development Addiction

Warning: This article forces you to take a hard look at yourself and i’m being very harsh. Remember, I care about you and want the best for you.

A typical example of a personal development addict

You have a library full of books, an ipod full of audio CDs and you’ve been to a few seminars, but you still feel empty inside. You try positive self talk and almost convince yourself that you are capable of living the life of your dreams and spend hours pursuing your studies of personal development.

You won’t give up your search for enlightenment and strive to gather that one piece of information or advice that will make you feel whole, allow you to live the life you deserve or make you quit smoking, lose weight, be richer, closer to your family or just be you happy.

Maybe your life is wonderful but you got this itch to make just one area of your life better; you just don’t know how. You evaluate yourself and are certain that you are an achiever trying to get from a nine to a ten and you just have one loose end to tie.

You have to be honest with yourself

Whether your eating habits have made you fat and you’re heading for a heart attack or your pack a day smoking habit is taking you rapidly towards lung cancer with a detour at emphysema, you have to admit to yourself that you have this imperfection.

These problems aren’t like your friends and family; they won’t go away if you ignore them. Why is your marriage heading for a divorce and your children hate you? Is it because you are a workaholic and you never make time for them? Or is it because you are an alcoholic and your behavior is intolerable? Whatever the reason is, you know it, so be honest with yourself.

Stop making excuses and feel the pain

Like I said, you don’t need a psychiatrist or anybody else to tell you what’s bothering you. You know the reason, but you choose to avoid it or sugar coat it.

Instead of admitting to yourself that you over eat and don’t exercise you blame society for your eating habits and justify that you don’t have time to eat and you aren’t even THAT fat. You blame your family or your job for causing you stress, so you smoke or drink, just so you can feel normal. You get accustomed to your “situation”, which erradicates the burning desire to change.

The sooner you stop consuming the illusionary pain killer you will shock your body with the hunger, stress, and pain. The shock will force your body to find an alternative solution to your emptiness. Expect this process to be excruciatingly uncomfortable to undertake and for the results to propel you to a greater level of love, life, and consciousness.

Stop constantly seeking advice and approval

That’s why you’re here isn’t it? You thought you could find that one piece of advice that will explain what is wrong with you so that you can make a change. Here’s a shocker; there isn’t anything wrong with you.

Believe it or not, every person is born perfect and stays perfect until they die. Life is just filled with circumstances that give people unique outlooks which cause them to take certain actions and fit somewhere around the social norm.

When you are constantly seeking to make yourself perfect you are looking outwards for perfection. You should be seeking inwards to find your own perfection and bring it out, instead of being addicted to personal development and other charging you up to make you feel good.

Alter your paradigm

Your paradigm is the lens through which you see the world. You can see the world as good vs evil; maybe you prefer abundant vs. scarce. Whatever your outlook, just realize that you own it and have the power to change it. It’s the difference between seeing yourself as okay to be overweight, in an abusive relationship, or as a addict and seeing yourself as the type of person that would never succumb to these things.

Stop the pattern

You took the first step and realized there is still hope for you. You changed your paradigm and wonder what’s next? You need to stop the pattern that you have been habituated to. If you truly did change your paradigm than your current situation is bringing you a lot of pain that you do not want to live with. Don’t get rid of that pain, let it fuel you and be your changing force.

Take massive action

You didn’t just learn to communicate and you haven’t been living in a cave, so you’ve heard most of this before. Anything you ever hear and read again will be completely USELESS to you unless you ACT NOW.

From this point forward, if you don’t hear from me again and forget my name, just remember one thing, stop being addicted to seeking personal development and start doing personal development.

Posted by in Communication, Health, Money, Personal Development, Relationships | February 12, 2007 | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumble | Print | 22 comments

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    Btw, my readers should know… this post was in part inspired by my research. I’ve looked at over 50 personal development blogs in the past few days in order to do research for my own blog, find some juicy articles for you guys, and get ideas of what not to do so that I could stay original. Leave the searching to me and let this be your one stop source =)

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  • http://www.emomsathome.com/blog/ Wendy Piersall

    This is a really great post. I’ve definitely been there, seeking the next high, and feeling like everyday life wasn’t quite right if I wasn’t exhilarated. I read another post on a similar topic and everything clicked.

    Now, life is good whether it feels high or feels low – it all just is.

    That’s a very zen statement, eh? ;)

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    Woah, Wendy… being zen is one thing, but talking about the next “high” on a family centered medium? The only way you’re going to win my affection is by getting into the Top Commentators, and it’s going to take a little more effort.

    Thanks for visiting, I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  • http://www.emomsathome.com/blog/ Wendy Piersall

    Ah – so I have to keep on commenting in order to get you on my good side, eh? I thought I was already there based on the 22 comments you’ve made on MY blog…

    But I guess you must be a hard guy to please, eh? Never enough for you, eh?! Never happy, HUH?!

    ;)

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    That’s the only way Wendy. Now that you know, what are you going to do with this new found knowledge?

  • http://bwoods.wordpress.com Bradley Woods

    A self development course can only be guide. People start having problems when they expect some system to change them overnight. Change comes from taking control of your thoughts and directing towards your goals on a consistent basis. All you need to succeed is the will to succeed and a library card. My own two cents.

  • http://bwoods.wordpress.com Bradley Woods

    I like reading personal development books because they keep me focused on my goals in a positive sense. Keeping a positive attitude consistently can be tough and these books really do help.

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    Bradley, thanks for the comments. My opinion – personal development books [i]can[/i] be used to lift your spirit, but this sense of motivation is only one small part of it. I read PD books strictly to gain knowledge – I read other types of books strictly for entertainment.

    Thanks for bringing up a good point.

  • http://www.klmasina.co.nz Kara-Leah Masina

    I’ve been there… in fact, sometimes I’m still there… spending way too much time reading about personal development rather than just DOING personal development.

    We all know, intuitively, deep inside us, exactly what to do in each and every moment in order to unlock our potential. It’s just that we haven’t spent enough time paying attention to our Authentic Selves to be able to distinguish their voice from all the other voices that crowd our minds… like the voice of Should and the voice of Fear and the voice of Want.

    We don’t need any personal development really… we just need to listen to our internal guidance, and then we know what to do…

    But that said, when used rather than abused, personal development literature can be very inspiring… and sometimes it’s exactly the external confirmation we need so we can act on the internal guidance we’ve already received.

    Much joy,
    Kara-Leah

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    Wonderful insights Kara-Leah, welcome to the site, hope your enjoy your stay.

  • http://www.its-not-about-your-stuff.com Jessica Duquette

    thanks, Alex, great stuff, being a (former?) SHELF-help junkie, myself (you know what I mean, you buy the books and the CDs and the DVDs and then they remain on the shelf!), it feels great to commit myself to self-acceptance.

    I am a groovy chick just how I am now, extra pounds, little eensy-weensy neuroses that rear their ugly heads at inappropriate moments, inexplicable mood swings (what? menopause? Who me?), a new-found and insistant attitude that I don’t give a bleep about most of the things that would have kept me up at night in the past. It’s liberating! It’s fabulous! It’s FUN.

    Ok, I still do a little bit of seeking from time to time, and I am glad that I do, unpeeling the onion never ceases to fascinate me, that I can always go deeper, learn more, surprise myself with my self-imposed limits and my ability to release myself from them.

    I guess the difference is in the desperation that I used to have. Now, it is a pleasure, a couragous adventure, not a substitute for action.

    thanks for doing what you do!

    warmly,

    Jessica from It’s Not About Your Stuff

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    It’s okay to stock up the shelf Jessica, now you have a good reserve to chip away at. My cousin, amazing guy, used to ask me “you know what you see when you walk into a rich man’s home?” do you? “a library”.

    Keep reading, keep learning… such is life.

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  • http://wackymom.blogspot.com Ev Nucci

    Wow, this is a brilliant post!~ I am duly impressed.

    How did you get so wise Alex? That it’s not outward…inward. And eating, smoking and drinking is related to other pain?

    You had to have meditated before you wrote this post…because the universe was speaking to you my friend!

  • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    Thanks Ev…

    When did I become wise? I believe it was on December 13 2002, after a car accident. I woke up with outrageous mathematical skills, and wisdom ;)

    Thanks for stopping by Ev1

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  • tom

    Oh Dear

    Firstly I like your site and the general vibe
    a sort of roadside services for ex seeekers.

    The penny has dropped reading the comments ..

    I have had drug, gambling and sex addcitions for the last 20 years.
    Last year when I hurt my back I got addicted to painkillers.

    I have been clean all year. Recovered from depression twice using self improvement techniques. I am a personal development coach.

    I split up with my girlfriend and my career nose dived. This gave me time to follow my heart and learn about myself. After the savings ran out I kept spending on seminars.

    Unfortunately I have bought into the idea that I need something to complete me. I lost my confidence a while back.

    Recently I have been exploring more esoteric spiritual even angelic avenues.
    I have learned some amazing things about me and the universe. But still it is not enough.

    So heres the thing. I love the scene. I have many friends but they have stopped and found niches. I havent Im still seeking.

    I go to free seminars but they are never free for me. I nearly always sign up. I know i dont need it but theres a voice that says it would be great, it could be just the thing.

    I have spent about £14000 on seminars and self help stuff. I am not working cos im always adjusting to the last seminar.

    I actually feel like Im going to miss out on something its akin to panic. Like tomorrow theres a photo reading course for 600 quid.

    My thoughts go like this ..

    Id love to do that
    What if it doesnt work
    Its a lot of money
    If i dont do it maybe ive missed my chance
    I wish i could just decide
    Whats wrong my intuition says nothing.
    Im confused
    Not going is painful
    and going is financially painful.
    Not knowing is awful
    It could have been the best ever
    He was a nice guy
    Why does this always happen

    Times 100 loop all day or week.

    Either i do it or I dont
    and i dont feel satisfied either way.

    Its nice to share without feeling like a loser.
    any advice oh wise one

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