The TWO MAJOR MISTAKES of Self-Development (pt.2)
(Here’s part 2 continuing on from yesterday’s science…even though it’s called “The TWO Major Mistakes,” I’ll keep adding on if ideas come.)
The first mistake is confusing self-development with self-perfection (an impossible illusion), and the second mistake is confusing self-development knowledge with actual experience… thinking that any insight or “science” you gain can somehow supplicate the process of maturity itself.
Breaking It Down
For our purposes here, let’s say there’s two types of self-development: INTERNAL and EXTERNAL.
Internal self-development is primarily intellectual, because it consists of studying, reflecting, having a deep conversation or anything else that causes introspection.
Now as you already know, these two types overlap. The internal is a foundation for external, and you have to work on both because deep on the inside is where you find things like:
>> subconscious beliefs,
>> identity and self-image,
>> your view of what reality IS and what’s possible,
>> the ability to create optimism,
… and actually, even your habits of thought are in your unconscious mind, so it’s that important.
But even though the internal lays the foundation like that, we tend to think that simply having an insight equals learning something. We tend to confuse “getting” something intellectually with actually knowing how to do it or truly overcoming a real life problem.
I first touched on this in earlier posts like “INTELLECTUAL DISCIPLINE: How to Become a More Action-Oriented Person” and “The 5 STUPID THINGS Intelligent People Do (That Keep Them From The Success They Deserve)”
The basic formula in both pieces was “LEARNING = BEHAVIOR CHANGE.” Stop thinking of learning (or “growth,” “development,” or whatever) as an intellectual process and realize that if your behavior didn’t change (or your results didn’t change) you didn’t learn yet.
This Mistake at Level 1
This tendency really messes us on one level, because whenever we set a new goal, our first impulse is to reach for a book or some type of instruction on how to do it, and we confuse that research with the actual work.
It’s a habit I catch myself still in TO THIS DAY (even after 4 years of “Do the Knowledge” .com), and I have to still catch myself and say “No, Bryan, this isn’t going to help me learn or develop anything, it’s just going to fill my brain with more un-acted-upon information.”
In fact, in a certain sense, the internal self-development can become a barricade to true growth…it keeps you from doing the necessary, practical things (like gradually changing your diet for the better, gradually getting out and being more social, etc.), and it RECONDITIONS you to think you’re making progress when you’re not making much of anything at all.
This Mistake at Level 2
Even worse then that, being too focused on the internal gives some of us a false sense of intelligence. Being too smart, too well-read and too familiar with advanced concepts can shut your mind off from really thinking about what’s going on around you.
For instance, many intelligent, articulate people hate the idea of learning from someone who isn’t as intelligent or articulate as them. Imagine needing serious help from someone in your dating life, but not reaching out to someone who can help you because you see yourself as more “developed” or “aware” then they are. It’s stupid…
Just remember that if you “o-d” on self-development, you can easily start rationalizing your faults away as if they’re strengths, not weaknesses.
And remember that life is always throwing you something at you that you’re unprepared for…it’s always challenging you to step up and see things on a level you’re not used to, so the concepts you learned in the past are rarely ever adequate for the problems you presently have.