Talk Is Cheap: How to Practice More the Ideas You Believe In

One thing I find exciting about today’s world is that we have more and more access to more and more rational, well-documented and practical ideas, which a lot of us are keenly accepting. We’re going through a veritable second Age of Enlightenment.

However, it’s one thing to believe in a good idea at a conscious level, it’s a totally other thing to live by that idea every day. It’s much harder to practice an idea consistently than it is to agree with it and talk about it. Which is why you’ll often find a big gap between what people claim to believe and what their actual behavior reflects.

Take the case of minimalist living: lots of folks are getting wise to the fact that the relentless pursuit of stuff won’t make them happy, and they give considerable credence to the idea of a low-consumption lifestyle with other priorities than acquiring stuff. Many of them are quite vocal about this too.

I think it’s great that the notion of minimalist living is catching on. Nevertheless, it’s much easier to proclaim you believe in it than it is to live by it. So you’ll often find people who state they believe in a low-consumption life, yet they change their phone every 6 months, their car every 2 years, and they have a wastefully big house, crammed with stuff they rarely use. And many of them fail to see the duplicity in this.

As a coach, I regularly help others practice consistently ideas they believe in and they know can transform their life, to make them a part of the very fabric of their personality. I’d like to show you some ways to do this that have worked very well both for me and my coaching clients.

1. Live More Consciously 

The more you pay conscious attention to your thoughts and your behavior, the easier it is to spot inconsistencies between the ideas you believe in and the way you act. Then you can make deliberate changes to close this gap. This is what I call living consciously.

Most of us rarely live consciously. We mostly live in reaction; we are impulsively driven by obligations such as work or house chores, and by distractions such as television, advertising, fast food, and funny YouTube videos. It will take work to be more mindful of how you live, moment by moment, and take charge of your behavior. But it’s worth it.


2. Carve Out Specific Actions for Yourself 

Often when we discover a good idea, we decide to adopt it, and then we stop there. We think that decision alone will change our behavior and align it with that idea; which rarely happens. In order for your behavior to change, it’s crucial to come up with specific actions to carry out, and then do them regularly.

For example, say you decide it’s a good idea for you to be more social. You can then come up with specific ways to be more social; like going out to social events at least 3 times per week, or talking to at least 3 new people at each social event you go to. These kind of specific, actionable goals turn good ideas into practical behavioral changes.

3. Overcome the Emotional Barriers 

Frequently you may want to implement a certain idea but have problems because of emotional obstacles. Going back to the example above, you may wanna be more social, but you may be afraid of talking to new people or feel anxious in social situations. Such emotions will make it hard to genuinely come out of your shell.

So you’ll have to work on overcoming these insecurities in order to be able to change your behavior. Since this is a broad and important topic, I’m not gonna go into details on it here.

Instead, I’ve created a separate instructional presentation in which I’ll show you with clear explanations how to overcome your anxieties, especially the ones you may have in social settings. I’ve helped literally thousands of people with this issue, I’m sure I can help you too. Go here to watch the presentation.

4. Ask For Feedback 

Other people can often see things about your conduct that you are oblivious to, because they have an external perspective on you. So to better align your behavior with your beliefs, it’s a good idea to tell others about the kind of beliefs you wanna implement in your life, and ask them for honest feedback when they think your behavior is off track.

Pick people you trust to be honest and levelheaded to help you with this, and who genuinely care about you. Sometimes their feedback will be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s just the right medicine.

5. Have Someone Help You Stay Accountable 

It’s always important to hold yourself accountable for your actions. But it’s even better if there is another person to keep your accountable in addition: someone who aids you set personal development goals, someone you report back to on your progress, someone who gives you and extra dose of motivation, focus and guidance to keep going.

A competent coach, counselor or psychologist is probably the best person for such a task. They will have the skills to properly oversee your personal development and help you stay committed to your goals. So if you wanna align your behavior with your beliefs as fast and as much as possible, this is definitely an option to consider.

For more help from me in changing your behavior (especially in social situations) and becoming the person you wanna be, I recommend you join my free social success newsletter.

Ultimately, when you practice what you preach, when you align your actions and your whole being with the ideas you consciously believe in, you are a person of integrity. It’s not only something to feel very proud of, but also a great path towards success and happiness.

Ideas With A Kick Is Now People Skills Decoded

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the brand of my blog, in relation with my brand as a communication coach and my expertise in the area of people skills. And I realized it just doesn’t cut it. So I decided to choose a new name and a corespondent domain for my blog.

I am now proud to present People Skills Decoded: the reinvented Ideas With A Kick. I will continue to write on personal development in general, but with a stronger emphasis on people skills and communication skills, which are what my professional life is all about (not to mention a big part of my personal life).

If you are subscribed to Ideas With A Kick, either by email or RSS feed, have no fear, your subscription will change automatically to People Skills Decoded.

If on your blog or website, you have posts, pages or articles with links to Ideas With A Kick, please change the names of the links to People Skills Decoded and their targets accordingly. Thank you and enjoy the new blog brand.

Personal Development Ideas I Can Do Without

I am going to hit the next person who gives one of the following ideas as personal development advice (this is bad, considering I’m an otherwise peaceful person):

  • Just be more confident;
  • Just be yourself;
  • Just be more positive;
  • Just be calmer.

Just, just, just. It just doesn’t work that way! There is a tone of self-improvement advice out there starting with the word “just” and then suggesting some pretty dramatic personal change, as if it’s simple as going to the supermarket.

With most of these ideas, we are addressing something which is more than just a behavior. We are addressing an attitude. Being confident is not just a way you act, talk and look. It’s a habitual way of thinking and reacting emotionally to various life situations, which is ingrained in your personality. To use some big and resonating words, it’s a complex psychological structure.

What does it take to change such psychological structures? Over time, I came to believe there is no magic pill. What works is consciously, gradually and systemically replacing old thinking patterns with new thinking patterns, old associations with new associations and thus, old emotions with new emotions. Plus, using the right tools and methods to do it. Then, you can act confident cause you can are confident.

The fact these personal development ideas do not work isn’t half as bad as the treatment some of the people who talk about them will give you. I’m starting to call them personal development assholes. They have at least one of two traits:

  1. They naturally have these ways of being they give advice on. So for them, “just be confident” seems like solid advice. Because already having the right internal setup, they can do it just like that.
  2. They have a superficial understanding of how human learning happens and the qualities self-improvement ideas require to be applied effectively.

When you try to put their advice into practice but you don’t seem to be able and you don’t get results, they just start accusing you using advanced personal development jargon: of not wanting it bad enough, of having secondary gains or of lacking willpower. So now, you don’t improve and you also feel guilty about it.

Trust me: when for example, every time you go to a party you feel miserable because you’re too shy to talk to anyone and have some fun, you want nothing more on the planet than to “just be more confident”. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. I’m sure a lot of the people giving this advice mean well, but they often do more harm than good.

The answer is not out there. It’s within. Personal development ideas that work take into account not just the external, but also the internal, to create deep and lasting self growth.