Five rules the self-development gurus don’t give you

 

I’ve been studying self-development in one form or another for years and, while I’ve had a certain amount of success in some areas of my life there are some which, quite frankly, I’d rather keep quiet about.

I’ve read most of the gurus and used their techniques, but I’ve finally come to understand that maybe we can’t all be like them; maybe some people are just wired differently and no-matter how much we want to emulate those prodigies,… baby it ain’t gonna happen!

So I’ve created some of my own rules that might well be seen as excuses and cop outs, but if I use them they often get me back on track. 

  1. There’s nothing like a damn good cry. Sometimes, no-matter how much we persevere, spend hours and hours working on a pet project or future big-money maker, nothing goes right. The chap who’s supposed to be helping us design a new website never shows up; just when you think you’ve finally got your niche sorted out someone pips you at the post after you’ve put in months of work; you can’t get the licences you need for your new vegan restaurant, or any one of a thousand other things. At these times my advice to you is to have a real good cry. I do it all the time. I once read somewhere that there is nothing that can happen to you that won’t be made at least a little bit better by crying, screaming or stamping your foot. I wholeheartedly agree with that. I’ve tried them all. It doesn’t mean you give up.
  2. Know when to walk away. Too often we get a fixation on an idea that is going to be the big one, make us a million. So we put everything into it, and then more…and yet more again. We make plans, we persevere, we do everything that the good books tell us, and what happens? Nothing, zero, zilch. At this point we need to sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit and think, “Hmmm…Is this really going to work or it is about time I stopped banging my head against a brick wall and find something else?” A friend of mine has continually worked on his web site for eleven years and got nowhere. It costs him a lump of money and he’s never earned a penny from it. Is he being persevering or pig-headed? Who can say?
  3. Be prepared to change direction. This is closely linked to knowing when to walk away because it never ceases to amaze me how often an idea comes when I’ve been pursuing something totally different. If we’d never gone in a specific direction in the first place, following a new idea or project, we’d never have come across the information that might well take us where we really want or need to go. Sometimes we totally ignore the new idea until we come to a dead end with the original one, and it’s only when we sit back with a cup of tea and look at all the new stuff we’ve learned that we discover our new goal. That’s after a good cry, of course.
  4. Negative isn’t always bad. For a brief period about twelve years ago, I was involved with a network marketing company (shudder!). No-one was ever allowed to make a negative comment or voice a negative thought, only positive, positive all the way. I’d describe myself as a reasonably optimistic pessimist, but at least it allows me to look at things from both sides of the coin. Yes, the glass is half empty as well as half full. It’s all about balance. If you have even the slightest inkling that all isn’t well with your project, listen to it. By that I don’t mean that you have to have everything perfect before you put your toe in the water, I just mean that thinking negatively intentionally will often show you were a plan is failing, but will also often show you where you can make improvements.
  5. Every day in every way we’re not getting better. Fortunately, that stupid old phrase, much used in the psychobabble industry a few years ago, ‘Every day in every way I’m getting better and better,’ is almost never heard these days. The fact is, some days we get worse, some days we sink lower, some days we can’t raise our head above the blanket because a whole world of (…insert whichever expletive you wish in here…) is waiting out there. But that will end. It may take a long, long time, but it will end. It just means that some days you may have to cry, scream and stamp your feet.
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