Don’t be fooled. The biggest myths about personal development

Don’t be fooled. The biggest myths about personal development
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The market for personal development coaches is booming. With a smile on their lips, they offer us simple methods to achieve professional success and a happy, prosperous life. Unfortunately, very often their advice is far from the truth.

A subjective list of the biggest coaching offenses

Just when I was studying psychology, enthusiastic motivational speakers started to bombard the mainstream media and publications about the easiest way to success and happiness appeared on the market like mushrooms after rain. Unfortunately, the amount of nonsense and pseudo-scientific opinions that could be found in them was beyond human comprehension.

Unlike my professional colleagues, I don’t think that the function of a personal development coach as such is unnecessary and I don’t intend to depreciate it in this article. I know many professionals who have been working in the field of motivation for a long time and who, based on scientific facts, are able to make a real difference in the lives of others. Unfortunately, as in most industries, also this one is full of charlatans and people who care more about their image and wallet than about reliable coaching. So what are the biggest myths about personal development?

Practice makes perfect, that is the 10 thousand hours or 28 days rule

Coaches, in order to sell their “expertise” to desperate clients, often opt for a race against time and try to give them a specific deadline by which their lives will suddenly be on track. We’ll hear from some that it takes a month to implement a healthy habit, others that perfection in a particular area will be achieved after spending 10,000 hours on it. The truth is that it’s not about time at all, but about perfecting the training process itself, improving technique each time. I once heard a professor say that practice does not make perfect – practice makes perfect, so if you practice a skill the same way over and over again, it doesn’t matter how much time you spend on it, because you will never achieve perfection.

You have to constantly change

Another very damaging myth that, as above, is dominated by a narrative of haste and a focus on immediate results. The problem with expecting constant change is related to the constant need to pick up new habits and new information. Humans are not machines after all, they need time for reflection, rest, and for periods without big transformations. Instead of chasing the next revolutionary change with the sweat of our brows, it is good to allow ourselves to experience the phases of these changes and to observe how we feel about them.

Positive thinking and visualizing success

Positive thinking is definitely an important part of growth, but it can’t stop there. Of course, without the understanding that we can make any change within ourselves, it will be difficult to get anything started, but there are a number of components of development besides optimism, such as creating goals for ourselves and following at least a loose plan of how we plan to achieve them. A positive attitude? Yes, but it must always be followed by action.

Contrary to the belief of many coaches, personal development is not a simple, linear subject. Each person has his or her own self, his or her own thoughts and baggage of experiences, so a personal development plan should be flexible and not based on shortened, slogans.

Main photo: mentatdgt/

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