Are you overwhelmed by all the personal development websites and resources available online? Are you stuck not knowing in which direction you should go in your life? The magical question I will share with you in this article should put you back on the right track.
I spent a considerable amount of time reading books on personal development and working on myself and oftentimes got lost not knowing what to do. In this article I would like to introduce you the one question that became my go-to question when feeling stuck in life. However, before doing that, let’s have a quick look at the major trap many of us fall in when doing personal development work.
Are you addicted to personal development?
Have you noticed how, sometimes, reading personal development books becomes a way to escape our real problems? We become personal development junkies desperately in need for our dose of inspirational articles.
Research has shown that sharing our goals may have drawbacks. Indeed, we start to believe that we already achieve what we are talking about, or that we are moving into that direction just by talking about it. It may become counterproductive as it prevents us from taking real action since we already feel good about it just by sharing it with other people around us.
Similarly, many people believe that they already accomplishing something by simply reading personal development articles. They are what I would call “personal development addicts”. They read through one article after another browsing through a variety of personal development websites to get their dose of daily motivation; they spend hours and hours watching videos on Youtube. (I know that from experience!).
They do get momentarily inspired by their reading and even think they are going to use some principles, tricks or hacks they found online. However, the reality is that we cannot change our life with simple tricks or hacks we applied here and there.
Become addicted to action not motivation!
We may easily become addicted to motivation and start having all these dreams. However, being addicted to motivation is often a disguised way to escape reality and to refuse to face our problems. I have nothing against getting a daily dose of motivation and actually recommend it, but what we should be addicted to is not motivation but action!
Actually, I believe that one of the reasons why the personal development market is so big is because there are too many personal development addicts that don’t manage to make really change in their life. People would go seminars after seminars and buy book after books for years and years.
So, what should you do? First, if you have been reading and watching personal development resources for years now and didn’t notice significant changes in your life, you may want to have a closer look at what your personal development is really about. Are you addicted to motivation or to action? Getting inspired without taking action is the beginning of delusion.
The magical question is…?
It’s now time to reveal to you the magical question. Myself, I have been reading many books on personal development and on various related topics. However, I reached a point where I became stuck. Should I go for spiritual enlightenment and get rid of my ego or should I stay in the mainstream “Become-a-winner-and-achieve-as-much-as-possible-to-become-someone” type of thinking. Both ways seem to be quite opposite, don’t you think so?
Then, I discovered this one magical question that helps me get back on track and gives me a sense of direction. Here is the question: “Are you getting rid of your fear?” Once I started asking myself this question things became easier for me.
Each time I feel stuck and don’t know what to do I would ask myself “Am I getting rid of my fear or am I running away from them?” By being honest with myself, I would instantly know what needs to be done. (Hint: follow your fears and they will give you the answer you are looking for). If you take a look at the reasons why you are not doing what you want to do, you will always find fears.
Are you getting rid of your fears? Are you acting out of love trying to serve people or are you trying to get something from them?
What fear is
So what fears am I referring to here? I’m talking about fears as manifestations of the ego. (For a better understanding of how the ego works read my article: “What Is The Ego”). We all have fears and these fears manifest in many different ways. For some people it is through shyness, for others it is through anger, and for others jealousy. Other examples include fear of failure, fear of success, fear of death, fear of other people’s opinion, fear of public speaking, fear of being seen as a fraud etc.
Fear also manifests itself through procrastination. A common problem is putting of a task we dread to do. Of course, we may put of a task because it is more comfortable not to do it now! However, in many cases, it is because of fear. We fear that we may not be up to the task. Or we are afraid to send this email to someone because we feel like we are not qualified to do so.
However fear is not a tangible thing. Most fears when they are face through action will in fact lose their grip on you. Fears, when not faced, will prevent you from reaching a higher level of fulfillment in life. Your fears will blind you from seeing your real potential. So, are you getting rid of your fears?
Getting rid of your fears is all there is
Getting rid of your fears is the noblest thing you can do. Actually, it is probably all you can do.
When you don’t feel good enough and try to compare yourself to other people around, just ask yourself “Am I getting rid of my fears?” If you are doing your best to get rid of your fears on a regular basis, then, you can stop self-criticism entirely. In life all you can do is eliminate your fear and remove your ego in order to keep growing. Everything else is secondary. There is no need to compare yourself to anyone else. Your IQ, your personality, your experience, your memory, your dreams, your talents, your weak points, nobody has the same combination, nobody will ever be like you. Ever!
Sucking at something is fine, not facing your fears is not
Let’s be honest, there are many things in life you suck at! You may spend a lot of time and energy being ashamed and trying to hide it. Or you may try hard to get better at it. Why not just sucking at it? Sometimes it is okay to embrace your “suckiness”.
Sucking at something is fine as long as it is not an excuse to escape from your fears. If you’ve never really tried something because you are scared of it, then you will likely suck at it. For instance, if you’ve never given a speech in public because you are afraid of it, you won’t be very good. How could you?
I will make you a confidence: my memory sucks! Not the short-term memory you can train through games but the long-term memory. I can hardly remember movies, I forget most of what I’ve read if I don’t take notes and review them regularly. Recently, on several occasions I met people that seem to remember me quite well, but I didn’t remember them at all! I used to compare myself to others, but what did I do for me? Nothing. Nothing good came out of this.
You don’t have to be perfect
Most of us can find something in our life we have a hard time living with because it is not the “norm”. At some point we just have to stop giving a f*** about it. If you can be honest with yourself, recognize your fears and face them a little bit every day, then you are truly doing an awesome job. Much better than most people in fact.
You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to be rich, famous, smart, handsome or anything else that society may be telling you; you just have to confront your fears little by little and outgrow them.
So, let me ask you that question again: Are you getting rid of your fears? How would you honestly respond to me?
Make sure you ask yourself this question on a regular basis. Make it your go-to questions and you will be fine.
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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development