2017 has been a year where I have dived deeper into the subtleties of personal development.
What the heck does that mean?
Well, only a small percent of the public ever get into self-development. Of those that do, most of them focus on fundamental, surface-level tactics. An example would be what you see in listicle-themed content on YouTube and blogs (Top 10 Tips to Boost Your Confidence, Get Over Your Anxiety, or Make Your First $1,000).
The problem with these tactics is that they only get you so far.
If life was simply about following these tips to achieve your goals, then everyone would be a fit, happy, world-traveling millionaire. But we’re not.
Clearly, there’s a missing piece to the puzzle. You can see this most deeply in the “How to Be A Millionaire” content online. There are hundreds of videos, books, courses, and articles on this topic. Yet tons of people have eagerly tried to follow the advice, only to be met with disappointing results.
Take a different approach.
I did this by focusing on uncovering the psychology of what’s holding you back.
Ramit Sethi, a famous personal finance and business blogger, incepted this idea of “success is more than following a checklist” into my head a couple years ago. He talked about how most people fail to achieve success with his advice because their inner psychology drags them back from taking the steps recommended.
Unlike with a checklist of simple instructions, fixing your psychology can be a hard, complicated process, especially if you have past trauma, which almost anyone does. How your parents scolded you to how other kids bullied you may or may not have an effect on how you behave and what you believe now. Even if these beliefs are false, they blockade you from doing what’s necessary.
They tempt you to procrastinate forever or reason away your motivations as if they’re nothing.
Later on, I realized this idea mattered in other fields as well, like dating. I stumbled across Tucker Max’s podcast, The Mating Grounds, which is almost entirely focused on fixing inner psychology.
He claims that getting a man to a decent level of attraction is easy. But most men’s deep troubles with women have to do with fundamental problems with their psychology. They don’t have friends so they can’t meet women or have never learned how to socialize in normal ways. They have inner turmoil they never resolved so this manifests in unhealthy ways with their interactions with women. Or they have been taught false beliefs that cripple their behavior.
This is in vibrant contrast to what the rest of the world says. They will sell you the scam of some easy, quick tactics that are promised to solve your problems … but don’t.
They’ll tell you to memorize a couple lines, act a certain way you’re not used to, or something else that’s simple to do.
That’s why, this year, I’ve dived into topics, such as:
- improving emotional intelligence
- Dr. Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset concept
- improving social intelligence by doing stuff like joining Toastmasters
- reducing the habit of beating myself up in my head for something “wrong” I did
- improving self-love and self-esteem (something I need to work on) with exercises and practices, like Loving Kindness meditation and writing down all my victories and celebrating them (this is called the Jar of Awesome, which I learned from about from Tucker Max and Tim Ferriss)
- being mindfully observant of all the moments of emotional pain in my daily life and journaling down how I feel and what happened without analyzing them. Then, going back to reflect on them when I am more level-headed (this has been a huge benefit since I’ve been able to unearth very illogical, unreasonable behavior)
- much more
If you’re feeling frustrated with the lack of progress that current advice has gotten you, consider working on your inner self like I have this year. This is a lifelong journey and I am glad I got started early.
Tons of people don’t realize or address this issue until late in life and it comes back to haunt them. Nils Parker, another host of The Mating Grounds, said he didn’t address this until his 40’s and it caused severe problems in his relationship with his wife until he finally got couples therapy.
Get What You Want Out of Life
For the new year coming up, I want you to ask yourself why psychologically you’re being held back from getting where you want to be in life.
Maybe you want to earn more money but deep down, you’re scared of screwing up and you need permission to fail. Give yourself that permission.
Or maybe you’re scared of rejection. You have plenty of time and energy but you’re scared to get out of your house and talk to other people because of that fear.
Take one step in working on fixing this fear. Maybe it’s as simple as reading an article on anxiety or checking out a book from the library on it.
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