Why personal development does not work

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why personal development does not work

I got mails from some people telling me that they like personal development so much, that they read good advice that appeal to them and that they change for few days only to find themselves back to their old unwanted behaviors once again.

Its so common for a person to develop a certain behaviour for a day or two after being inspired by an article that he read then few days later returns back to his old habits.

So does this mean that personal development does not work?
No it just means that those people have done something incorrectly and that's why the advice never worked for them.

Our personalities change according to the life experiences we pass through. This means that at any moment you are 100% responsible for being the person you always wanted to be and that you are not constrained by your genes in a way or another. (see Do genes affect personality).

In order for you to experience real change you must know how to apply the advice you are receiving correctly. In this article i will tell you how to make personal development work for you.

How to make personal development work for you

The below are the reasons personal development might have not worked for you:

  • 1) Inferior advice: The most common cause for the lack of effectiveness of personal development is applying inferior advice such as "say affirmations in order to be confident" or "be nice in order for people to like you". If you want personal development to work for you then you must read about advice that are based on real science such as psychology and not logical or intuitive ones (see Do positive affirmations work)
  • 2) Developing the belief If you read a personal development advice and liked it then this doesn't guarantee that the advice will become a part of your belief system. If you want personal development to work for you then you must reread the tip you have learned many times over a long period of time so that it rests in your belief system. Note that if you didn't like the advice or if you had doubts about its effectiveness then rereading it will become useless until you find answers that erases your doubts
  • 3) Habits take some time to be developed: Before an advice can help you change your behaviour permanently you need to turn it into a habit. This won't happen before you use self discipline to stick to that new behaviour for days or even weeks until it turns into a habit. (see How to develop good habits)
  • 4) False beliefs: If you have a false belief such as personality can never change or genes determine who i am then even if you tried hard to apply a personal development advice your mind will work against you just to prove your belief right. Your mind was designed to prove its existing beliefs true even if that was done on the expense of perceiving reality incorrectly (see also How perception affects the behaviour)
  • 5) Short term perspective: Some people only know how to think in the terms of the upcoming few days and they can hardly follow a long term plan. Most personal development advice work on making small incremental changes to your personality that result in real big changes over time. If you focused on short term results you might give up before anything significant happens to you
  • 6) Motivational advice: Some advice are real good but they include no real knowledge other than some motivational tips. Because motivation usually fades away after some time the advice that has nothing to add to the person other than motivating him usually lose their effect after few days

Final words about personal development advice

If you are serious about change then you must put in mind that you will do lots of effort instead of just reading an article or two then wondering why magic hasn't happened.

You need to develop self discipline so that you can stick to the long term plan you are following. You need to develop patience so that you can keep going until you find results and you need to educate yourself well so that you use the right knowledge that can help you change in the shortest possible period of time.

Only then will personal development advice work for you.

2knowmysef is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.

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