Personal Development Is Not About What You Should Do
You can find personal development tips around every corner these days. Some of these tips are amazingly useful. I’ve discovered masses of excellent personal development blog posts and articles. But there are a few words that keep cropping up that make my toes curl.
I know I have mentioned my problem with the word ‘should’ before, and I will mention it again. I make no apologies for this. You see, it is not uncommon for us all to say things like, I should do XYZ, or this is what I should do.
But the word should tends to mean that the opinion doesn’t belong to you. Instead, you’ve taken ‘data’ from those around you and turned this into what this data suggests you ought to be doing. The shoulds you’re using don’t necessarily belong to you at all.
I have similar issues with terms like ‘you need’ and ‘you have to’. No, it’s not because I don’t like people telling me what to do. Okay, it is a little. But I don’t want to hear these terms because everyone is different. We don’t all fit in neat square boxes where specific methods of doing things suit everyone the same.
Say I was to tell you that you all needed to wear odd socks (like me!) because it would make your life easier. Some of you would think I was crazy and some would think I was on to something.
Personal development tips are not about what you should do!
There are thousands of personal development articles telling us what we should be doing. What we have to do, or what we need to do. In fact, the blog post title that pushed me over the line suggested that I needed to change the way I journal. The blog title was something like: "5 ways you've been journaling all wrong!" Of course, this is not quite the title, but you get the idea.
I am a massive advocate of journaling to aid personal development (the website name gives it away). I’m also an advocate of guided journals (check out my amazing journals in my store right now). But would I tell anyone they needed to journal in a specific way? Nope. That defies the point of journaling.
Never develop on someone else's terms
I have been a motivational speaker for over ten years, giving advice to thousands of people. Would I insist that everyone should or has to act on my recommendations and opinions? Nope. In fact, I make a conscious effort NEVER to use the word should!
The whole point of personal development is that people find the power to break out of the square boxes. It is an opportunity for you explore who you are, what you want and discover what you must do for you.
People who offer personal development tips, are here to guide and offer suggestions. We are here to share experiences and provide tips that could help. We are not here to tell you that you're living your life all wrong. If you come across a life coach or personal development "expert" who does do this, be wary. Be very wary, my friends.
How to Change The Words You Use for personal development
My point is simple. If you’re trying to develop yourself as a person, great. The chances are you are going to try and read a lot of personal development tips. But it's all about how you use them. If you’re listening to others telling you what you should do or need to do, you’re looking to the wrong people. In fact, I would argue that you are developing on someone else’s terms!
To be clear, the goal is to use these kinds of words:
- Must do: what you're aiming to do is something you want to do & really believe in.
- Want to: there is always a reason it made it’s way onto your to-do list. Find that reason and declare that you want to do it.
- Can do: Look what I can do! Is much more positive than “ugh look at the things I have to do”.
My top 10 Personal Development Tips
- Be yourself. Be true to your own values, beliefs and goals. This and only this is the true key - the number one personal development tip.
- Speak to people you admire. Ask them for advice about any qualities they have that you would like to develop.
- Spend time creating and building positive habits. These habits will be the foundation to your success.
- Surround yourself with positive people who have similar goals to you. This will fill your life with positive energy.
- Tap into new wisdom and knowledge every day. Read a book. Listen to an audio. Watch a video.
- Always look for new and different perspectives.
- If you find yourself starting to lose focus, ask yourself “why?”. Once you know why, it makes it easier to improve your plans.
- Keep a journal to help you overcome any lingering doubts or issues you might be holding on to.
- Take charge and manage any difficult people you have in your life. You cannot avoid difficult people but you can learn to deal with them.
- Your environment impacts your mood. Create a positive, inspirational area where you spend most of your time.
Disclosure: If you purchase anything from links in this post or any other, I may receive some kind of affiliate commission. However, I only ever mention products I love and would recommend whether I was being compensated or not.