The world is transforming. We are innovating, rising to a higher level of consciousness and given new opportunities. With this, more and more people are redefining success and focusing on their mental health.
This rapid change also brought about people who want to help others succeed. We now have countless self-help and personal development books, are flooded with “self-help” influencers and have enough inspirational quotes to last us a lifetime.
But why are people not getting better?
Well, because the current resources are lacking. And most influencers are recycling unhealthful material, selling false hope and setting their followers up for failure.
In this article we’ll review the current narrative regarding personal development, why current personal development does not work, and discuss what successful personal development actually looks like.
Current Personal Development
The personal development industry is massive, with 43.77 billion in revenue in 2022. It is growing rapidly with an expected revenue of over 67 billion in 2030.
Any growing industry attracts business minded people who want to capitalize.
And those looking to capitalize on the growing personal development market are taking the same approach they would in other markets—they are looking to sell and grow revenue.
Personal development is also largely unregulated. So people who want to capitalize in an unregulated market are becoming self-proclaimed experts selling unobtainable, idolized lifestyles while being unable to achieve the personal growth they are trying to project.
And people who are looking to grow and improve are being told they need to buy things in order to get that growth. They are subjected to misleading marketing and lies like, “get rid of limiting beliefs in 30 minutes.”
This results in a conflict between the seller’s and the buyer’s goals. Because buyers are trying to get rid of unhealthy thinking to improve, while sellers need the buyers to have that unhealthy thinking in order to sell.
Those who are aiming for growth are being misled. They are leaving with more materialistic items and the same unhealthy thought patterns that are keeping them stuck.
Current Personal Development Does Not Work
Trying to buy a lifestyle instead of learning how to personally grow sets those looking to improve up for failure. And when they inevitably fail they think it is their fault or that they are broken—instead of focusing on the lies they were sold.
(It is easier to attribute failure to “bad luck” than to acknowledge you made a poor decision. This is why we see people “double-down” even if they are losing.”)
It is easier to think we can’t have something because of monetary means than to accept that we need to do the work ourselves. Bad actors in the personal development industry capitalize on this.
Fact is: if you want to succeed in personal development, you can’t just throw money at the problem or read a quote.
A lot of the popular and constantly recycled “inspiration quotes” are riddled with unproductive thinking that will probably make someone feel worse in the long run.
Personal growth and development requires internal changes. These changes require reflection and inner work. Inner work is hard for many of us because we have never been taught how to do it right. And inner work can appear extremely difficult compared to buying a new flashy item.
What Successful Personal Development Actually Looks Like
While successful personal development will look different for everyone, the fundamentals are essentially the same.
Personal development takes awareness, change, time, repetition, consistency, and will power. It also includes setbacks, wins and losses.
If you want to succeed at personal development, you need to be aware of the things that are holding you back (like the bad actors we talked about here), and you need to make changes to see changes—turn learning into action.
Successful personal development is not a quick fix. It takes time and there will be setbacks and failures that lead up to the success.
Yes, you can buy a bath bomb and “treat yo self” with some new items. But the real self-love doesn’t cost money. It is setting boundaries, learning about unhealthy thought habits and choosing you.
Where There Is a Will, There Is a Way
You may have had some personal development failures, but you can’t control that you didn’t know what you didn’t know.
Now, you know.
And you can turn that knowledge into power by building upon it. Read about personal development topics, see what resonates with you and what you might be missing in your life. Then, work or building that skill.
You can and you will!
Photo by Chad Greiter