The Greatest Piece Of Self Development Advice

A massive thanks to the dozens of you that offered your words of self development wisdom in response to my last post “What’s Your Best Piece of Advice?

Some time on Saturday afternoon I was starting to think it wasn’t such a great idea posing the question after all.  Not because the answers were terrible, but because they were so good and I had no idea how I was going to decide on which I could confidently declare was ‘the best’ and handing over the book and $25 gift certificate.

After all, something like this as subjective as whether a joke is funny, a song great, or a politician honest. No matter what I do some people are going to disagree with me, in fact, I’m guessing most people will disagree with me.

Prior to the post I had given my newsletter readers the heads up by telling them what I usually settle on when I get asked the question. This first cropped up for me after a series of e-mails with a well-known self development writer who was unhappy with me for not bowing down in supplication at the release of his first book.

The reason I didn’t care for it was because it tried to tell people there was only one way to do things and that is a fundamental flaw in my opinion. Even though in How To Be Rich and Happy we talk about ‘the formula’ of a rich and happy life, we also acknowledge that the formula is different for every reader depending on their environment, personality and psychological make-up.

Any life coach that has worked with clients in the ‘real world’ will know that what works with one person may not just not work with another, but spectacularly backfire. We’re all different, we all have different values and belief systems and to try and force a cookie cutter approach to life on people is naive and verging on disrespectful.

So bearing all that in mine the advice I usually opt for is:

“There is no how it is, only how it is for you”

I think it’s the starting point for personal growth because it contains a number of presuppositions that you want to adopt when looking to make beneficial change and they are:

  • You’re unique
  • It’s not necessarily your fault if one type of approach doesn’t work for you – try another!
  • You set your own reality – write your own story etc
  • Take nothing at face value – even your own belief system
  • Question everything and everybody

Even after reading all the great advice I’m still going to stick with that as being my favorite, arrogant bastard that I am, because it hits so many bases. To me at least, it really is a starting point for personal growth, because that knowledge alone offers hope in almost all situations.

Enough of that though, because I’m sure you are whipping yourself into a frenzy of excitement wanting to know who the two winners are. So without further ado please hum a drum roll to yourself as here they are.

The runner up comes from the brilliant Michael Heppell, the man who had me telling everybody I was brilliant after reading his brilliant book ‘How To Be Brilliant’.

“The secret isn’t in the knowing it’s in the doing”

Like all great advice it’s very simple, but very profound. Knowing stuff is relatively useless unless you put it into practice. Supposedly over 80% of people that buy self development books don’t do the exercises which are the very things designed to help them make the changes they want to see.

Knowing you should lose 100lbs isn’t helpful unless you lose it. Knowing you are capable of running a business better than your boss isn’t useful unless you go out and do it. And knowing how t0 attract abundance into your life via the Law of Attraction is useless if all you do is hang around internet message boards telling people how easy it is whilst your utilities are being cut off.

You’ve got to go out and do it people!

If you thought the last one was simple, the winner from Mark is going to trump even that.

“Be kind to yourself”

I know some people wont get it, but it’s an awesome piece of advice that very few people take on board. If you’re being kind to yourself you cannot talk down to yourself, you cannot hold yourself up to impossible standards that nobody has any chance of ever achieving, you cannot physically abuse your body by over-eating, drinking, smoking etc.

Not only that, but it’s almost impossible to be unkind to other people, because amazingly enough, most people don’t actually feel better when they are treating others poorly. Therefore, being kind to yourself means you have to be kind to others and that’s a real win/win in my book.

Even though I’m not sure it fits what I was asking for here, there was a quote from Joshua Noerr that I really, really loved and it’s this.

“Where profession and passion meet, work disappears”

Cool eh? Not sure if he came up with that himself, but either way I really like it.

I’ll be contacting all 3 of you guys and again, thanks so much to all of you for taking part.

So what do you think? Did I get it hopelessly wrong or do you tend to agree? Let me know in the comments.

I’m going to compile another free e-book this summer and I’d really like to know what you want me to write on. It will be given away through my newsletter, so you will have to subscribe, but it will be on one of the following 3 topics:

  • A Muppets Guide To NLP
  • How To Remove Fears and Phobias
  • Stress Is For Suckers (an updated guide to a book I did a couple of years ago on managing stress)

So what’s it to be? I don’t want to slave over a hot keyboard writing something you’re not arsed about, so tell me what you want and I’ll do my best to deliver.