Is Self Improvement Information Doing You Any Good?

9661913835_4d78d49746_bEach person is his or her own individual masterpiece in the making, yet we often forget this when it comes to self improvement information.  Even in cases where our ultimate goals are the same, the best route to take toward accomplishment may be very different.

Many of the self improvement techniques you’ll find online, in books, and in seminars is delivered in a one-size-fits-all format that doesn’t take into account some of our most significantly different personalities.  In fact, some of that information leans toward altering your core self, setting yourself up for failure and/or striving to reach goals that net the opposite effect of self improvement.

Self Improvement Information That Doesn’t Help You Improve

If we’re not careful, the very things that we use to improve our lives can make matters worse.  Think about it.  Self improvement in your work life may lead to promotions, salary increases, new jobs, or even excelling in your own business.  Self-improvement in the area of people skills can help you gain more friends, people who trust you, people to network with, people to refer you to others.  Increased productivity can mean that you’re getting more done each day than you have in your entire life.  You may even get so organized that everything in your possession has its own place. When others see your progress, they admire you, compliment you, and yearn to follow in your footsteps.

But at the end of the day, are you happy?

Are you pretending to enjoy all the networking and socializing?  Are you losing your edge while sitting in that perfectly organized office?  Are you getting less done when waking up at 5 AM than when you started work at nightfall?

And back to the big question…are you happy?  Have you reached your “feeling” goals?  Have you really done what it takes to change your life for the better? Or are you just successfully managing to do the things you think you should do?

Personally, I see no value in self improvement information that leads me away from the real goal. What about you?

Self Improvement Ideas That Work for YOU

So, with all of the self improvement information out there, how do you pick and choose? For starters, you need to fully accept this concept of self improvement ideas that are wonderful—yet not for you.  This one fact will save you a great deal of frustration.

I’ll give you a quick example of how you can do more harm than good by trying to change your life in a way that is a total mismatch for your personality.

Let’s refer to the person in this example as Terry. He’s a natural visionary, a “right brain” person, and he has a knack for the arts. He’s wonderful at creating new ideas, solving big problems and motivating others.  Note: These personality traits are very common in artists, visionaries and top-notch leaders.

Unfortunately, many of the common organizational and productivity tips offered by self improvement gurus can lead Terry to extreme anxiety, frustration and demotivation.  Why? Because he’s so naturally inclined to see the big picture that too much attention to detail drives him crazy.  Also, he functions far better in a slightly chaotic, exciting, unrestrained environment than in the organized environment of an introverted, detail-oriented left-brainer.  To get Terry heavily focused on organizational skills and time management is nearer to torture than improvement.

Helpful self improvement ideas for someone like this may include creating (or finding) an environment more conducive to creativity.  Instead of being a typical Corporate America employee, maybe he should work towards starting a company and hiring a detail-oriented partner.  Or finding a job at a place like Google, that knows the benefits of this personality type.
There is great value in a person whose success skills include the unique ability to handle chaos better than most people, to lead the way rather than follow the way, to create what’s never been thought of and to get things started.

If you’re like Terry, the focus on organization, details and time management may take away from your ability to produce the magic you’re capable of.  Clearly, those self improvement ideas are not for you. And that’s okay.

No matter what type of personality you have, always remember to value your uniqueness. Even value those characteristics that draw criticism, and decide how you can use them to your advantage.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever change bad habits or flaws that you’ve picked up over the years.  It simply means that there are elements of yourself that are just a part of who you are.  Work on understanding your individuality and using the self improvement ideas that align with your ultimate intentions.

Understanding Your Ultimate Intentions

Before taking on any more self improvement techniques, take some time to set your ultimate intentions.  What is it that you really want?

You want more money, but why?  You want to produce more each day, but why? You want financial independence, but why? You want the freedom to travel, but why?

Keep asking yourself why until you figure out what it is that you really want. When it comes down to it, most of us aren’t ultimately reaching for something tangible.  We’re striving for some feeling that we expect to come along with our more superficial, surface intentions.

Maybe you want more money because you want your bills paid; you want your bills paid because you don’t want to lose your house; you don’t want to lose your house because you want a place to live; you want a place to live so you’ll have peace of mind; you want peace of mind because you’ll feel happy.

Ultimately, everything we do is about reaching for a feeling.  We want to feel safe, important, peaceful.  Even those feelings usually boil down to one thing: joy.  We all share the desire to live a joyful life.

With awareness of what you truly want, you’ll find it much easier to decide on the self improvement ideas that are (or are not) for you.

If you’re an introvert, becoming a public speaker for the money may not change your life for the better. If you’re an artist, an organized workspace may kill your creativity.  If you feel happy contributing to a company and getting a regular paycheck, entrepreneurial efforts may not be for you.  If you spawn ideas on the fly when free to roam, setting schedules and managing time may make you miserable.

I don’t say any of this to say that it is impossible to make personality changes or to live happily by a system that’s different from what you feel drawn to.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with stepping outside of your comfort zone to try something new.  My intent here is simply to remind you to always keep your ultimate intentions in mind.  You don’t want to waste years of your precious life trying to become someone you’re not or trying to fit into a box that’s clearly made for someone else.

Live for yourself. Change for yourself. Improve for yourself.

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