What Is The Danger Of The Race For Self-development ?

Where does the slogan "Develop or die" lead.
Last Updated
June 15, 2020

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To say that you're not self-development is like admitting you don't brush your teeth. It seems not a crime, but a decent person can no longer be considered. If you are not busy 24/7 and allow yourself to lie in front of the TV instead of jogging or meditating, you automatically become passive and unsuccessful. It's not like the "right people" who draw the "wheel of balance" and pump themselves like a character from a computer game. We understand who requires us to develop ourselves and why it is not always good.



What's behind the quest for self-development

 We were told so

"Develop - or die!" says

The roots of all these concepts seem to go back to the idea of the American dream: the United States is a land of opportunity, and any American can be successful if he works hard and puts enough effort. At the beginning of the 20th century, two books were published there, which became the basis for the subsequent cult of success and self-development. This is "The Science of Becoming Rich" by Wallace Wattles and "Think and Rich" by Napoleon Hill. And the author of the acclaimed book "The Mystery" Rhonda Byrne was inspired

And now we are reaping the benefits from the "trees" that were planted in America more than 100 years ago.

They fall on our heads from hundreds, if not thousands, of books, articles, and blogs. We look at successful people from the internet - they do yoga, drink eight glasses of water a day, develop mindfulness, go to lectures - and feel wrong if they don't do it all.

We are dissatisfied with ourselves

And we suffer from perfectionism, neurotic desire for the ideal - in certain areas or in all of their lives. At least 30% fall into this trap

Because of perfectionism, we feel inferior, not good enough. And we try to fix it in every way possible. Someone works seven days a week, someone puts all the money on plastic surgery and beauty procedures (although there is also a lack of dysmorphophobia - rejection of their own appearance), and someone hits the self-development.

 We want social approval

Conformism is literally sewn into our biological program. Initially, it was needed for people to unite, interact, and thus increase their chances of survival. But the desire to be like everything often prevents us.

And if all around constantly improving, and you after work is only able to warm up semi-finished products and stupid on the couch with the phone, you kind of fend off society and, of course, feel uncomfortable.

And you are afraid to be in the wrong topic and miss something important. In other words, you become a victim of fear of lost profits. And to get rid of it, repeat after others. In English, there is even a very successful idiom for such a case: jump on the bandwagon - "jump in a van with an orchestra."

We want to feel successful

We need to be respected, considered successful, and authoritative. According to the theory

The path to high office and generous salary is long, winding and incomprehensible. So when we can't feel successful at work, we try to "get" feelings of success somewhere else.

Where the result is easier to get, where it will be simpler and more predictable.

I read a book about self-development - not wasted time. I passed the course of pencil graphics from 10 lessons and learned to draw simple still lifes poorly - you can tick and consider yourself well. The same goes for sporting achievements: if today you were able to run only 1 kilometer, in a couple of weeks of regular training you will be able to master two - is it not a cause for pride?



Why self-development isn't always good

After reading the first part of the article, you may have thought that Lifehacker encourages you to abandon self-development and start to slowly degrade. But no. Sport, foreign languages, new knowledge, spiritual practices are good. However, only if these classes are not imposed on you by someone else. And if you really are interested and need them - for example, English is required to learn to work with foreign clients or to travel, and dancing, drawing or non-fiction bring you joy.

If you really don't like going to the gym, don't want to learn the language or attend classical music concerts now and do it all just for a tick, it's not going to end well. These classes will not bring you joy. On the contrary, the result will be frustration, burnout and stress

Excessive workload of things, study and hobbies creates the illusion of meaning and success.

A person is constantly doing something, it seems that somewhere moves and is in full confidence that he is on the right track. And in fact, he is engaged in self-deception: all this tumultuous activity just helps him to hide from problems and distracts from something more important.



How to get out of the race for self-development

According to Abraham Maslow, only 1% of people have the ability to self-actualize - that is, to the desire to identify and reveal all their personal possibilities. In other words, not everyone has a need for success and self-development. And, therefore, behind our obsessive desire to improve and succeed in fact, other needs are hidden. Or this desire can be imposed on us by someone else.

Analyze what's behind your desire to learn five foreign languages, read a book a day, or run a marathon. Do you really want this yourself? Or maybe succumbed to fashion or the influence of a reputable person for you?

If something does not cause you interest or joy, give it up. And choose just what you really like.

To weed out the excess, use a simple technique. Make a list of 10 things you would like to do: say, sculpt from clay, listen to non-fiction lectures, learn meditation, and so on. And then start to cut out the points so that there are only three left. These are the classes that you are really interested in and need. After a quiet and balanced audit of free time, the list may be reduced to one point- and there is nothing wrong with that.

You can also imagine that there is no one in the whole world but you. And you no longer need to try to please someone or impress someone. Think about what you would spend your time on in this case. These will be the classes to which you really have a soul.

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