How many people would you say are into personal development? Very few, right? Keep on reading, and you may realize they’re really fewer than you think.
I say this because I think true personal development means a lot of doing, while a lot of the people in this segment are mostly just into reading/ listening/ viewing: books, blogs, articles, DVD’s, trainings & courses, you name it.
The way I see it, personal development is not essentially about acquiring new information, but about developing new skills and attitudes. However, developing skills and attitudes requires practice. I mean a whooole lot of practice! Massive, organized, ferocious and persistent action.
Most people I know who get into the reading part, considering how much they actually need to practice to turn the knowledge into skills and attitudes, just the most valuable knowledge, they barely scratch the surface.
They read a good book, find some very valuable and practical ideas, at best they start applying them for a few days, and then they move on to the next book, seeking some new “inspiration”. They are the “readers”.
I used to do exactly this; until I discovered I was just being a personal development literature enjoyer. Some people read love novels, I read “As a man thinketh” and the likes. I still enjoy the reading part a lot, but I’m very aware that this is not what real self-improvement is mainly about, so I also focus a lot on practicing what I read; on being a “doer”.
Besides the obvious difference in applying the theory between the readers and the doers, there are 3 more important differences I notice very often, which I think go hand in hand with this one:
- Doers focus on selecting, remembering and organizing the most valuable personal development ideas from what they read, they put them into their growth plan.
- Doers use strategies for doing, they set practice goals and daily practice tasks, they keep track of progress and find ways to keep themselves motivated.
- Doers sometimes consciously cut down their reading, as they understand that new information can often interfere with their practicing and defocus them from their goals. Rather, they sometimes re-read the stuff they’re already applying, to keep themselves going.
The result is the actual growing process as a person. I think you can often separate the doers from the readers because the doers are the ones you see after 2-3 years and they seem strikingly changed, improved: maybe they’re more confident, happier, more expressive, more charming or simply… richer. I don’t know about you, but I for one have the pleasure of knowing only about a hand full of people such as these.
So, after finishing this article, are you gonna take a deep breath and move on to the next one, or are you gonna get up from that chair of yours? What do you usually do? Are you a personal development reader or a personal development doer?