How to Get the Most from Self-Help Material? Avoid These Three “Tips” …

bipole.jpg While there are many great personal development (“PD”) writers and speakers, the PD industry is huge (and lucrative) and thus attracts many folks who merely regurgitate what someone else said, give vapid advice, or give misguided advice. In this post, I am going to discuss three P.D. “tips” of which you should be very wary.

1. Follow your passion and the money will follow

Er, not exactly. I strongly believe in following your passion, but sometimes simply being passionate isn’t enough. Obviously hard work is required, as is talent. Sure, if you are a passionate hard worker and you are good at what you do … the odds shift in your favor. But I have read too many posts on personal development forums wherein some young dreamseeker quits her day job to follow her passion … and ends up living on Ramen noodles. Even if you follow your passion and the money does follow, there is likely to be a period of time (even if it is only a few months or a year) during which you generate no income from your passion. Blend passion with practicality. Plan, work hard, be honest about your talents, and have a plan for transitioning from what you do now to what your gut tells you to do.

As Miguel de Cervantes said:

Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.

So be practical and diligent in following your passion … and the money will follow.

2. Damn all the naysayers

Often, people critical of your dreams are just that — critical people. But sometimes they are people who have your best interest at heart (and more experience) and are merely trying to gently (or not so gently) steer you away from a major life disaster. Now, disasters often turn out okay … so even that wouldn’t be the end of the world. But don’t think that everyone who questions your dream is a bitter, dream-sucking goosestepper. Some of them are, of course. Feel free to damn these naysayers.

But try to carefully pay attention to criticism and ascertain whether it is well intentioned and comes from a knowledgable source. Even then, you may decide to proceed with your plan — and it may turn out fabulously. But take valuable, free advice when it is given … and then decide what to do with that advice, based on your own intuition.

For example, I have had many people in my life criticize me. Nevertheless, I have had a fairly successful life. This is due to many reasons, but one of these reasons is that I pretty much ignore advice or criticism from people who clearly don’t have my best interests at heart. For the people that do, I listen carefully and decide whether I agree. Sometimes being a critic doesn’t mean someone is a naysayer … it just means that they are your friend.

3. Visualize and receive.

There are certain folks who would have you believe that if you visualize what you want, it will drop into your life like magic. I concede that this may happen sometimes (well, every once in a while) … but generally more is required. As many critics (and even proponents) of The Secret DVD have pointed out, that something more that is required is action. If you want to be rich and you sit around visualizing winning the lottery … well, good luck. Don’t quit your day job.

Similarly, if you want to attract a loving partner and go about your day not changing any of your routines, habits, or behaviors … then you might find that special person soon. But more likely, your repeated patterns and ways of being will keep producing the same results. So no partner arrives; it’s just you sitting in your chair visualizing that perfect person.

You have to take action. If you want to be wealthy, start taking practical steps toward that goal. Read, become informed, and then take action toward that goal via tangible acts. Whether you start a business, begin investing in stocks and mutual funds, become a real estate mogul, or simply start an aggressive savings plan, your key to wealth is action. If you want to attract a life partner, take action towards that goal — join a dating service, join a gym, update your wardrobe, become comfortable with your own self, etc.

Of course, you are in the meantime visualizing your success via vision boards and other means. But the key is action.

Visualize, act, and receive.


April 5, 2007. life, personal, Personal Development, Uncategorized.


  1. Self-Help tips to avoid « fortyplustwo replied:

    […] For the full text, go to How to Get the Most from Self-Help Material? Avoid These Three “Tips”. […]

  2. Bengt replied:

    This is a great post and I agree that action is needed to get something or to go somewhere. The Hunger Project uses a process called Vision, Commitment and Action. Those three done in that order will create results.

  3. isiskali replied:

    Weeell…I don’t know. I’ve followed all of these and am doing pretty well. Then again, Ramen is one of my favorite foods (don’t look at me like that, lol)! I do agree, however, that many PDers can be misled by well-meaning but regurgitated advice. There is everything to be said for a writer who finds their authentic voice and talks from their hearts…not their guru hat.

  4. jaminellis replied:

    Wise advice. It is great to see someone debunking some of these success myths. Most success is about doign A and B and C, in terms of skills. It is rare to be sucessful by just using practice A. E.G. focus is key, but more than focus is required to be successful!

  5. marcynala replied:

    IsisKali, I still eat Ramen because I love it … all these years later! The Ramen reference is a symbol, not a meaning.

  6. Self-Help tips to avoid | Forty Plus Two replied:

    […] For the full text, go to How to Get the Most from Self-Help Material? Avoid These Three “Tips”. […]

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