The #1 Rule of Personal Development

The world of personal development and self-improvement is a jungle. There is so much information out there that cutting a path through the undergrowth of all the bullshit is where you are going to spend most of your time. You are going to get tangled in some really shady shit that promises you instant returns, but instead stops your progress in its tracks and you are going to climb some trees that seem impossible to climb but help you see the extreme vastness of your possibility.

It’s hard to know what can help you personally without your learning about a lot of the stuff that is already out there. Some things are going to hit you harder than other things because the voice and the tone and the message resonate with your mental makeup. We all learn in different ways. Finding what works for you is an enjoyable part of the journey, and it helps you develop your own self-improvement style; one that sticks. There is no shortcut for putting in the time and effort to accumulate as much information as you can so you can find out what works for you. This means reading as much as you can, learning as much as you can, seeking out mentors and coaches and groups that can help you find what works for you. There is no magic to be had there.

With that being said, all the information you digest is useless without one single, solitary rule that every person who is trying to make a better life for themselves would do well to remember:


Personal development is about effort more than information. You can read all the shit out there. Every book, every website, every blog, every scrap of new age or ancient wit and wisdom, but not a single bit of it is going to matter unless you apply it. Personal development can work. You can change. You do every day for better or for worse. Sadly, this change is usually in the form of growing a bit more morose, a bit more complacent, a bit more accepting of the insignificance of your life and the impossibility to change anything, but you can shift the entire rotation of your world the other way if you just put in the effort.

It is not enough to be able to puke up a bunch of self-help mantras or quote meaningful lists of ways to improve your life. You need to put your fucking nose to the grindstone and bleed for that shit. You need to get really uncomfortable in a way that forces you into a corner where you grow or die. You need to get used to a small bit of suffering and restraint to hit a further reaching goal. You need disciplined application.

If you seriously, honestly, and completely want to change your life, but you are only willing to dip a toe into the world of personal development by reading a few books and reciting a few quotes, then you are never going to learn how to swim the constantly shifting tides of your life in a way that moves you forward. You will be pushed and pulled in whatever direction the waves of life take you. People working personal development are treading in deep, deep waters and we are sometimes scared and confused and tired and distracted, but we keep going, because we know that personal development is not a sprint, it’s an endurance event and just being in the race is something we are proud of. First or last doesn’t matter because we are all running together and there is no finish line.

So keep researching and finding what works for you. Meet new people who are wiser than you and have meaningful advice to give, but remember the Rule. The one rule that transcends all advice, all styles and all approaches to personal development. Nothing works if you don’t apply it!


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