When you first get into personal development it’s easy to get stuck. And I think that applies to other new fields of interest too.
You read and read and watch dvds and listen to audio-programs. And then… you do pretty much nothing.
Why is that? Here are a couple of reasons.
An addictive escape from your reality
One way to get stuck in reading is when you feel it’s an escape from reality. You can read about time management, about exercise and healthy food, about fixing your personal economy. There are so much wonderful and positive information in the books. It’s different from your life right now.
Especially in personal development I think there is a risk that you get hooked on the information. There are so much positive feelings in the material that when you are done with one cd or book you just want another one with an enthusiastic person who tells you that your life can be so much better. Much like watching a horror-movie it’s strong, exciting feelings but in the safety of your own home. And you don’t want to move past that.
Because there will probably be pain when you try out your new knowledge. Maybe people will react negatively to you changing. Maybe you don’t have what it takes. Maybe you’ll make a fool out of yourself. Maybe, maybe, maybe. It’s easier to stay inside, read a new book and get a new kick.
Waiting until you know everything
You want to study so hard and much that you don’t have to make the mistakes out there in the world. Others read but when they tried they made mistakes. “I’ll learn all that they failed with before I leave my house”, you might say. And the days, week and months go by.
You can’t avoid failures and making mistakes. But you don’t have to be perfect. Instead, just start. If you fail that is ok. You can just get up on your feet again, learn from what went wrong and try again. If you want success there will be failures. But don’t take them so seriously. Try interpreting failures in a new way. Don’t think about them as you might have learned through school, work, the movies and other parts of society.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan
A failure is not the end of the world. In NLP they say that there are no failures, only results and feedback. There are often valuable lessons, insights and opportunities to take away from what you may have felt to be mistakes.
Now, I’m not saying you should stop reading entirely. Continuously providing your mind with new thoughts reinforces your new habits and expands your knowledge. Listening to personal development-cds or reading about the benefits of exercise and healthy food for just 20-30 minutes is also great way to get your energy and motivation back when you feel down.
But don’t get caught in reading too much. It’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of moving ahead by reading about some area in you life you would like to improve. It seems like you’re improving, but after the initial, excited immersion into the subject it’s easy to just get hooked on the information instead.
Reading and reading about a subject gives you the feeling that you are getting closer to your goal. But it’s a false, comforting feeling. Without action you will never get truly started on your path towards your goals and new possibilities. After that first period of reading, try to incorporate some of what you have learned into you behaviour. Go out into the world and try it. Find a balance between studying and taking action. Try, see what the results are, then learn from them and books and optimize. Rinse and repeat.
To get started and yourself out of procrastination try a couple of the methods I have written about. Just get yourself to take action for five minutes. Or get some leverage so you really see and feel what you will miss out on in your life if you don’t take action. Change your focus from short-term thinking and instant gratification to thinking a bit more long-term.
Books or cds can’t do things for you. They can help you find doors and open them. But you have to step through them yourself. Now, relax, get out there and just try some stuff.