Avoid this Self-Development Trap

by Brad Isaac on March 6, 2006


It’s great to read tips and tactics that can improve our personal effectiveness and success rate.  By seeking, we will find what we are looking for – ways we can have more success, more happiness, more love.  But there is one trap to reading too much self-development material.  We need to remember to take action on the ideas we find useful.

I am not pointing any fingers here.  I just have a sneaking suspicion some of you are reading a lot, but not applying anything new.  This is akin to the stock trader who “pumps and dumps” a stock.  Build up hype and buyers then dump it and get out at a personal profit. 

If we want change, we must first change.  It’s not enough to just read about these ideas.  We must apply the ideas we find useful.  We must take action.  Where reading about it may be fun and make us feel good.  Only through applying new ideas will breakthroughs happen.  Otherwise it’s just entertainment.  Sure, we can have fun here, but my primary focus isn’t on entertainment. I got out of showbiz years ago.

I’ve been there and to some extent I still struggle with it myself.  I hear new ideas all the time that make me say “Wow! That could really work.”  But applying the idea is another story.  I can get distracted and forget to do it.

I’ve found at times like this reading less self-development material for at least a little while, I am less distracted.  Less reading can help me apply more ideas.   

So am I suggesting you stop reading my blog for awhile?  Am I suggesting you put away that Tony Robbins book a couple days?  Maybe.  It really depends on whether you’ve applied new ideas lately.  If you picked one of the ideas and applied it for a week, then you could come back and get some more.  I promise I won’t delete any of my posts while you’re gone.

It’s been said if you don’t do anything new, than you’ll continue to get the same results.  Reading new ideas without applying them won’t work.  We could read all day about how someone lost 50lbs by walking on a treadmill for just 25 minutes a day.  But until we actually get up and get busy on the treadmill, we won’t see any results!  Sure you might feel good while you read, but we probably want to do more than just feel good.  We want results.  Action will give you results.

I’d like Achieve-IT! to be an improvement to your life, not just another distraction in this sea of distractions we call the Internet.  So it’s my recommendation you pick an idea or two and spend the next week or so trying it – making it part of your routine.  If you need to take a break from reading so you can focus on the new actions, then take a break.  Doing is what will make the difference – so get to doing today!

Technorati Tags: productivity, gtd, Goals and goal setting, self development

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March 6, 2006 at 11:11 am

I know just what you mean. I’ve found that it helps to take notes when reading self-development articles, and then going back over the notes and figuring out ways to apply the suggestions practically in my life.

John March 6, 2006 at 3:16 pm

How’d you know? ;)

March 6, 2006 at 6:46 pm

I believe an appropriate quote would be:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.Benjamin Franklin

The challenge isn’t being able to learn new tricks, it’s about turning them into good habits.

I think much of the value of your blog is that it inspires people to keep moving toward goals and trying to get things accomplished. I imagine that most of us productivity-snobs are never going to be happy anyway. I certainly won’t be. Sorry for the quoting frenzy, but here’s another thought:

Lord grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.

To that end, I think you’re helping a lot. So I’ll keep trying to put into play some of your advice, and I’ll still be overwhelmed…but happily so. Thank you for the encouragement!

March 8, 2006 at 9:11 am

Technotheory, I love quotes. Quotes are concise little motivation injections you can give yourself without having to read a whole book.

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