The Personal Development industry is a fraud. Self-help is fake. How can I dare to suggest you can use personal development to beat something as serious as depression? Wait, what? Well, the reason I can is that I did! I know, with 100% certainty, that you change your life through personal development. I mean, think about it, how else do you improve your life, if not by developing yourself? The very idea that finding ways to grow and improve yourself is a scam is outright baffling to me!
I went from not wanting to get out of bed, or sometimes, being physically unable to face the day. Now, I get up at 4:30 am and start each day by writing out my goals. I mean, I’m on it, know where I want to go, and I’m making it happen! I’ve come to this point through the process of personal development. Thus, it is not my opinion, but rather my experience that by developing yourself you can indeed change your life.
Here’s the thing, if it were easy, everyone would be successful. It isn’t easy. It’s difficult. Don’t read personal development books and hope your life will change, if you don’t want to do the work that will be required. You need to develop strategies and skills to push yourself through a disease that is dominated by negative self-talk and feelings. However, any self-help advice that is worth your time will also state that you need to take action! If you want to have a chance at defeating depression, it’s going to require you to do things that you don’t feel like doing.
There is so much information in the personal development genre that it can be overwhelming. I remember thinking to myself, Where do I start? Which advice is good advice? There is so much to learn. At that time I didn’t understand what I was doing. I simply started absorbing everything I could. There was a lot of trial and error. It was a process that sometimes felt futile. However, I can tell you that it was worth every minute.
I’m going to give some suggestions that I hope you will find helpful getting yourself started. I came up with this list by thinking about what were the five things I wish I knew that would have helped me the most.
Choosing Where To Get Information
So how do you know who has the best information? When I think about this question, it reminds me of the advice given by a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, at a seminar I attended. The question was there is a lot of youtube videos with techniques to choose from, which ones are the best to watch, in order to learn? The answer that the professor gave was brilliant. If you are going to watch someone perform a technique online, you should choose to watch the black belt world champions.
Who are the black belt world champions of personal development? I can give you a list of some of the most influential in my life. Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Andrew Carnegie, Steve Pavlina, Jack Canfield, Jordan Belfort and Grant Cardone. Some may protest and say that Jordan Belfort and Grant Cardone are not personal development gurus, however for me, as a sales manager, they most certainly are. Ten years ago, I found more value in the first five names on my list. Personal development is just that. It’s personal!
There are many other great authors and speakers out there. Use your search engine to narrow your focus and find the best sellers on the topics that relate to you. Research the experts that you choose. Read reviews from others who have purchased their material so that you can save time and money through trial and error.
Ways To Digest The Information
There are many different ways for you to obtain the information that can help you change your life. In fact, there are so many ways available that it is flat out irresponsible not to seek it out and take advantage. There is no greater investment than the one you make in yourself.
People have told me that they don’t have a job and can’t afford to purchase these materials. My first suggestion would be to borrow the money and invest in a book on how to write a resume, do well in an interview or develop a skill that will make you employable. Invest in yourself, and it will not be too long before you don’t need to borrow money. However, if money truly is an issue and you can’t purchase these materials, you should know that there is plenty of free information online, or at your public library that you don’t need to wait. Here are some ways to get the information that can change your life.
- Audio Books
- YouTube Videos
- Online Courses
What I would recommend is to absorb the information you get, in 2 formats if possible. I love reading a book and listening to the audiobook as well. It helps me retain what I am learning so much faster. I will read when I am at home and listen to the audio book when working out or driving in my car. Essentially I am doubling my understanding and making it easier to retain that information.
If you read a book or listen to a podcast a second time, you will always pick up on something you missed the first time. If you only have the ability to read something, I would suggest to read it thoroughly and then read it again. If you watch a seminar, take notes, and then go back and clearly organize your notes and read them through. All this doubling up will have a profound impact on your ability to retain and therefore implement what you learn.
Take What Resonates With You
Only you will know what applies to you. I would read many articles and feel like I wasn’t getting much from them. However, other stuff felt like it was speaking directly to me. That is the information you need. Everyone is at a different place when it comes to mental health, so logically, there can be no foolproof path to follow. It will take some self-reflection. Pay attention to how what you are absorbing makes you feel.
You will need to pay very close attention to the things that make you uncomfortable, or fear. I am a huge believer in moving towards your fears. There is everything to be gained on the other side of fear. A feeling of relief from facing your fear, as well as the self-confidence developed from getting through it. Fear will always tell you which way to go. As humans we want instant gratification, we want easy. However, nothing is satisfying about easy, because everyone can do something that is easy. If you want to grow, you need to stretch yourself into the uncomfortableness of your fears.
As someone who suffered from depression and anxiety, I know all too well the importance of getting your head right. Waging the battle against your internal dialogue is imperative. However, you must realize that even at the level of thought, you are taking action. The action is what makes achievement possible. You must take action, in some form or another.
There is a book called The Secret, which gets a particular hard review from self-help critics. I can understand why to some degree, however, I also believe that there is some value to that book. What the secret does lack, is a chapter about taking action. You can focus your thoughts on health, success and happiness, but you will not accomplish much of anything without taking action on what you learn.
I would suggest you take 2 or 3 things from each book and implement them immediately. If you could 2 or 3 things from what you learned, what would it be? Always end with that question. Find those 2 or 3 things and then, make them happen! Doing this will build self-confidence and momentum! If you read one book per month for a year and only implemented the 2 or 3 lessons, you would add 24 – 36 new ways to improve your life per year. Imagine the benefits from this technique!
Never stop growing, it’s a lifestyle! Listen, there will be times where you simply don’t put in the time and effort. Be that as it may, you must get back on the path as soon as humanly possible. Don’t linger in the land of guilt and hang your head. You must persist! Your ability to push through the tough spots is going to determine success or failure more than any other factor. I can promise you that every human being on this planet suffers setbacks. Nobody is perfect, and everyone struggles. Take pride in overcoming obstacles, develop persistence, and make it a part of who you are!
Defeating depression will be one of the most difficult things you ever do. You will need to continue to work at it for a long, long time. I can say with certainty that it is such an amazing feeling to suddenly be aware that you no longer question your self-worth, feel like staying in bed all day or want to run away from social gatherings. These are giant victories to the person who suffers from depression or anxiety. These triumphs are worth all of the work it will take to achieve them!
I started a journey of personal development ten years ago and had no idea I was even doing so. Through much trial and error, I have persevered through my mental health issues. I am now capable of anything and want to inspire others to believe in themselves and change their life too. When I see the personal development critics with their claws out, I feel angry. On the other hand, it drives me to push through the noise and get my message out, in the hope of affecting someone else to take action and find their way through their mental health issues if possible.
As I have had a couple of requests, I include a reading list of some books that helped me. I have read all of these books and recommend them from personal experience. If you have any questions about my reading list, I am more than happy to help in any way I can!