Mathematical Equations And Personal Development

Steven Aitchison
Written by Steven Aitchison

Just when I thought I was getting somewhere in life, a cup of coffee and a biscuit turns my theories on their head.

Sitting in a Waterstones Costa Coffee cafe, I was happily reading ‘The Deeper Secret’, with a cup of coffee and a biscuit. I hadn’t really started reading the book when I followed a train of thought through to its conclusion. The thought started something like: ‘Have I really developed as a person?’ I then, mentally, listed everything I had achieved in the last few years:


1. Bought a beautiful home

2. Stopped Smoking

3. Had more family time

4. Started a good job as an addiction counsellor

5. Grown my blog to over 6000 subscribers

6. Published Guest posts on some great sites

7. Started getting paid regularly for my freelance writing

8. Been interviewed on 3 radio stations

9. Connected with some great people

10. Even more in love with my wife

11. Lost fat

12. Attending gym regulalry and am the fittest I have been for a long time

13. Become much more productive with my time

Okay, so that was good, that was a lot of evidence to prove I had developed myself, but is it really evidence that I have developed? Then I followed the train of thought: ‘what is personal development?’

Personal Development Is

  • Getting past your comfort zones and stepping into unknown territory
  • Standing up to your fears and kicking their arse
  • Doing something that will develop you in some way
  • Becoming the best person you can be before you die
  • Giving yourself to others in order to help them grow
  • Experiencing life as part of a community mind and not from a ‘Me’ mind

So going by my definition of personal development I have to scrub out what I think I have achieved over the last few years and re-evaluate it, to check if it comes under the heading of personal development:

Bought a beautiful home (NO: It’s our perfect home and the right size but from a personal development point of view it means we have to work more years to pay it off).

Stopped Smoking (NO: I actually enjoyed smoking, that might sound crazy but I did, I stopped smoking to stop my sons telling me I was going to die very soon. I know all the bad things about it and I’m really fooling myself into thinking I enjoyed it, but the fact is, I did enjoy it.)

Had more family time (YES)

Started a good job as an addiction counsellor (NO: Working for someone else, even with a good job like this, has never appealed to me and I’ll always look for a way to go it alone).

Grown my blog to over 6000 subscribers (NO: It’s another badge to add to my blog and a bit of social proof that people like what I am writing, it’s saying to people ‘look how many people like me, I’m really popular’ but it isn’t really saying that at all, it just means I have found a way to get readers to sign up to my RSS feed or newsletter).

Published Guest posts on some great sites (YES: I Enjoyed writing for some of the sites)

Started getting paid regularly for my freelance writing (YES: It’s one step closer to my dream of working for myself).

Been interviewed on 3 radio stations (NO: I hated being nervous before the interviews and not saying what I really wanted to say, that’s what so great about writing you can press the delete key and start again, with a live interview you can’t)

Connected with some great people (YES: I have made a lot of false contacts when it’s connecting with people for the sake of it or just to bump my Twitter, facebook, SU number ups, but I have met some real, genuine people online who I would go out of my way to help if they asked).

Even more in love with my wife (YES: Our relationship is continually evolving which means having enough self awareness to grow)

Lost fat (YES: I was unhappy looking 3 months pregnant)

Attending gym regulalry and am the fittest I have been for a long time (YES: It’s for me, it makes me feel good

Become much more productive with my time (NO: I am lying to myself, I haven’t become more productive I have just created more time in my day by getting up earlier and working later)

Personal Development Lies Inside You

The operative word in the phrase ‘Personal Development’ is ‘Personal’. It’s something that means something to you and nobody else. It’s sometimes easy to forget, in our quest to be all we can be, that we look to external factors to provide us with the feeling of satisfaction and to feel that we are growing in some way. Having a bigger house means nothing more than being somehow able to afford a bigger house. Having 10,000 subscribers means nothing more than 10,000 people subscribing to your RSS feed. I had a goal to reach 10,000 subscribers by 31st December 2009, and I still do, but at the end of the day it doesn’t mean that 10,000 people like me and my writing.

If I am unhappy about something inside me and I work to get rid of the feeling then I have, personally, developed myself. If I am full of rage all the time and I work on my issues of anger then I have, personally, developed. If I manage to get better at writing simply by the very act of writing then I have, personally, developed.

Personal development is a feeling within us. It’s a true feeling of being happy about an aspect of our life. If I am happy that I am 200Ibs but people keep saying to me ‘oh, you’ve put the beef on’, should I then do something about it? No, absolutely not.

If you are happy, then there’s no need to do anything about it as long as you accept the possible consequences of your actions or inactions and are being totally honest with yourself.

Being Authentic

Having followed the train of thought a little further down the track I started thinking about the blog and whether or not I was really helping others with the articles I was writing. Honestly! Not all the posts said much that hadn’t been said before. There are a few articles I have written that I am quite proud of, and feel they say something meaningful, others I’m not so proud of feel they have been regurgitated from books, blogs, websites, and other stuff I had read. There was nothing original.

It actually started to get me down and then I looked at other self development blogs and most of them are the same, by that I mean they are sharing information that has been said elsewhere, however, and this is a huge however, they were saying it in a different voice, they are saying it authentically and sometimes from personal experience. Even the top personal development blogs were saying a lot of what has been said before, but they were saying or presenting it in a different way, they had a unique way of presenting the information and being authentic about it.

The Originality Of Mathematical Equations

As a personal development blogger I strive to come up with original writing and it got me down when I couldn’t do it all the time. Until the day I was helping with my son’s homework and he was doing equations and percentages at school. I showed him a different way to present 4/25 as a percentage. He had been shown the calculator way whereby you divide 4 by 25 and then multiply by 100, which is great. I taught him to do it in his head as well by asking what do you have to multiply 25 by to make 100 = 4, now multiply the top part of the fraction by 4 = 16 and there you have your answer: 16%. He was very happy and said: ‘That’s a new way of working it out. Why doesn’t the teacher show me that way?’ I explained that the teacher needs everybody to do it the same way as it would take her 5 times as long to teach the sum if she was showing 5 different ways of doing it.

It’s exactly the same with writing about personal development: you might be teaching someone how to reach a goal, which has been taught a hundred times before but there’s more than one way to show how it’s done. That is why ‘The Secret’ was so successful, it was done in a totally different way from anything that had been done before, it’s the same information that has been written about 100 years earlier by the likes of Wallace D Wattles, Napoleon Hill, James Allan, Christian Larson, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Life is the same nearly every day, you are more than likely not doing anything original but that doesn’t matter, who says it has to be original? You just have to make life as interesting as possible and take lessons from the many classes life has to offer.

Faking Personal Development

Sometimes, well a lot of the time, we fake personal development. What I mean by that is we tell ourselves we’ve changed in some way when in actual fact we haven’t. The classic is going on a diet. You’ll hear a lot of people saying ‘I will start it on Monday’ which basically means they are not ready for it but will be ready by Monday. And then when the diet’s started, they say things like I ran an extra ¼ mile today so I can have this Mars Bar, and all sorts of crazy justifications. The truth is dieting is a lifestyle, it’s not temporary, it’s a way of being, a way of seeing, and a way of doing. Personal development is also a way of being. I have pretended to be much more productive and told my family, I have written 3 x 1200 word articles today that must prove I am productive – absolute rubbish, it just proves I have either: written it extremely quickly, the content is garbage, I haven’t done any research or I found some extra hours by stealing them from family time or sleep time. More often than not I would steal the extra hours from my sleep, so I would get up at 4.30am and start writing, instead of lying in bed until 6.30. That’s not developing myself, that’s kidding myself.

The truth is I am happy twittering away, or stumbling sites or commenting on other blogs. When the business really takes off then I will need to re-evaluate my productive ways and cut down on twitter, Stumbleupon, reading other blogs and commenting, I’ve actually had to start doing that recently because of the work coming in so I am becoming more productive but it now seems more of a chore rather than enjoyment, so it’s time to re-evaluate and look at making it fun and productive.

Look at your life and be honest with yourself and ask if you’re faking personal development. It doesn’t really matter, as the only person who will know the truth is you, if you are faking personal development there will be a dissonance within yourself which will eventually lead you to make the real change you want to or forget making the change altogether. However, it’s better being honest with yourself now rather than later.


Personal development is a way of being, it’s not about getting extra badges for your jacket of life, it’s not about adding accolades to your CV, it’s not about having 1 million friends on Facebook. Personal development is about being self aware at all times and having the ability to recognise what areas you want to change and making plans to change them. Recognise when you are faking personal development and work to put it right or at least be honest with yourself.

Are you faking it or making it?


Some Amazing Comments


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  • Good for you being honest and true with yourself.
    Just a note, though: maybe it was some clever marketing that got me to subscribe to your blog, but it’s your content that keeps me reading. Theory is impressive to the intellect–for a moment. Vulnerable and thoughtful sharing is a hand reaching out to invite you along for the transformation.
    Me? I want a sincere hand…and yours has already helped. I’ll keep reading.

  • Wow. You’ve got yourself a pretty complete article here! Never thought that mathematics will ever have any sort of influence when it comes to Personal Development. Great! Just great!

  • Mr. Aaaaaaaitchison,

    this is an awesome post! (and if I wouldn’t write anything else, these five words would still tell all the things I think at the moment)

    On my own blog, I also presented a relationship between the things we achieve in life and math. I treat problems in life as problems in math: they need to be simplified. I like the idea how you could abstract a very practical thing (helping your son) into a theoretical writing, this article.

    Keep up the great work,
    😉 Zoli
    .-= Zoli Cserei´s last blog ..Welcome to Simply Will Do, my dearest readers! =-.

  • Steven, this is the best post I have ever read from you!

    And the reason is you are being authentic – and of course some great points for others like me who are on a similar journey of personal development and doing the best we can, regurgitating the same old teachings:-)
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..Catch a Bus to Juice up Your Life! =-.

  • That’s fantastic, Steven.

    I think we hit this wall sooner or later. I’ve been struggled with the same type of thoughts lately. Not really thoughts, in a very precise way, as you described them, but rather a state of discomfort and, let’s say it, shame. Am I really what I want to be? Being famous and well known has something to do with my real life? Am I heading into the right direction? Am I doing the right things?

    I didn’t get a lot of YES. So, I’m starting to reevaluate a lot of stuff I did so far. The only real thing we have is change.
    .-= Dragos Roua´s last blog ..100 Ways To Screw Up Your Life =-.

  • I love the distinction between personal development and superficial changes. It’s very important during the course of our personal development journey to stay on top of well… ourselves. I often find myself justifying poor habits or unproductive behavior by listing other achievements. True personal development isn’t a game though. There is no score card. each accomplishment is undertaken for it’s own value and one thing has nothing to do with the other.
    .-= Michael´s last blog ..Lessons from Battle Studies: Keep breaking the mold =-.

    • Hi Michael, I think a lot of PD people see it as a game and we are in competition with ourselves, and that can be good to a degree. However, listening to the Buddha (Or whoever you like) inside us instead of listening to the Muhammad Ali inside is is good, so there needs to be a balance. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it

  • Great article, Steven!

    For me, personal development is about understanding my values better and improving my life to live by them more closely. When you evaluated your accomplishments to determine if they were truly developmental, I think you were essentially evaluating if they aligned with your values. For some, having a certain number of blog subscribers might somehow align with there values, and this shows how we’re all different and why we have to be true to ourselves.
    .-= Vin – NaturalBias´s last blog ..A Misunderstood Effect of Tryptophan and Turkey =-.

    • Hi Vin. We are all totally different and we have different ideas about what makes our life worthwhile and this is changing all the time, which is great, it’s when our values and ideas about life don’t change that makes it a problem.

  • I love the list of 12 Steven. I think that most of the list applies to everyone who is looking to mature and develop. I especially appreciate placing family as a priority. We will not be on our deathbed regretting not making more money, but we will regret not having spent enough time with family.
    .-= Colleen´s last blog ..Kennewick Real Estate =-.

    • Thanks Roy, we definitely need to understand our goals and know the reasons why we are going for them, I think that would be a pre-requisite but a lot of people don’t take the time to look at this step.

  • Wow…that was a really good one Steve. Your blog is amazing and this post totally shows why. I think you are so right to step back and take a look at what you are doing and make certain it lines up ultimately with where you are trying to go. It really is about finding our own truth and developing personally as we move down our unique path.
    .-= alternaview – Sibyl´s last blog ..Do things sometimes annoy you? How to outlast negative feelings and watch them pass by. =-.

  • Steven,

    I have very much enjoyed this article. The way in which you have synthesized the different areas to support your core argument or question is very original. Thanks for the authenticity.

    I must comment on the following statement:
    “Been interviewed on 3 radio stations (NO: I hated being nervous before the interviews and not saying what I really wanted to say…) ”

    You have been interviewed three times, these are great achievements. You now have a chance to develop as a person, and perhaps adapt to a new medium in order to continue to reach others with your message.

    Who knows, you had probably reached a few listeners who are now readers of your blog.

    Thanks for another great article.

  • Tess, that’s exactly what I was saying, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I sometimes felt I wasn’t practising what I was preaching, which is the worst type of teacher. However, by preaching what I wasn’t practising made me practise what I was preaching more :)

  • I was an addictions counselor for two years, the last working in a prison. I have to say for me it was “baptism by fire.” I learned more about people and the human spirit in those two years than I did in the previous 15. The year I worked in prison as a therapist was when I realized I could take this same energy and put it into my private practice. That decision led me to doing workshops and professional speaking. Then in order to be a speaker I needed to write a book…

    I think personal development speaks about who we are when no one else is looking. It’s easy to write about how the world should be. It’s another to live that way.

    What I hear you saying is “don’t believe your own hype.” It’s what every good speaker knows!
    Great post!

  • Steven, that is a phenomenal post. I love the truth and daring honesty it transports. We (and I am the first to include myself) are so often think that Personal Development is something we could measure like productivity, an so we go for the badges, the numbers, the accolades – to trick ourselves into believing we developed, while so often we just tricked ourselves in an illusion of Development.

    Damn, I have to think about myself just wanting some easy way to prove myself how developed I have been. Thanks for dis-illusion myself again with this awesome article. It’s time to get back to basics and truth sometimes, even though it might feel uncomfortable.

    You’ve proven again, what great blog you’ve created (and I would call this a big YES for your calculus).
    .-= Patrick @´s last blog ..UNWRAPPED: Making the Pareto-Rule Work For You =-.

    • Thanks Patrick :) That’s some accolade coming from yourself and I thank you very much for your comments. It’s always good when something makes us stop, even for a moment and lets us re-evaluate our life.

  • This is a great post and spoke to me personally at the right time. When I am self evaluating everything I do. Have I achieved anything this have I made changes or I am I still playing it safe and keeping in my comfort zone.

    So I making a list of how I can personally develop and not just tick off achievements for my CV.

    Thank you Steven
    .-= Kerie Hinchliffe´s last blog ..Ready To Maximise Your Blog Exposure? =-.

  • Hi Steven –
    I’m relatively new to blogging. And in the past few weeks have come up against so much of what you’re talking about here! I’ve been ‘kidding’ myself about just how much “real” work I’ve been doing for and about my business – and my bank account is proof of not being totally honest with myself. Isn’t it amazing what we can do to “trick ourselves” into thinking that we’re “doing” everything we know to do, when we know to do it, every time we know when to do it? Thank you for encouraging me, through your honesty, to get radically honest with myself! No more ‘faking it’!

    • Laura, I am glad this connected with you. I really wished I had known this from the beginning when I first started blogging, but then again it wouldn’t have been as much fun if I had treated it as a business from the start.

  • wow Steven, u already achieved a lot- house, yes- eventually ull pay double price for the house in ..years..but u live in Your house-not somewhere else,
    what im wondering- u are making money from blogging-freelance writing-u do it for you or for someone else

  • Hello Steven,
    I’m a new subscriber of your blog. But now I understand why : this is a great article.
    However, I never tried to define “personal development”, but should I do, I would say something different like “PD is searching for ways to increase your own happiness”.

    As buddhists say it, the more important part is to develop yourself, then others. Because you can barely help others if you’re not happy yourself.

    As someone already said : bought a house ? it helps you and your family. Stopped smoking… of course you enjoyed it before (you wouldn’t started in the first place otherwise). But now that you’ve stopped, aren’t you happy with your new healthier conditions and your brighter future (when considering your family) ?

    Regarding your job. Ok, you could be working for yourself, but wouldn’t that be competing with having more time with your family ? Isn’t it a great opportunity to focus on the job itself without all the administratrivia ?

    And as for the blog itself : I can understand the fact that probably most of everything as been written before, elsewhere (that’s why I haven’t started my blog… yet). But : you’ve got your style, and your followers. You might make a difference for some of your readers, might create an insight they wouldn’t have somewhere else.

    Do you know the parable of the man throwing back fishes in the sea, after a storm? The beach’s litterally covered with fishes rejected by the sea. Someone come along and ask whether, regarding all the fishes that are going to die anyway, throwing back a few with make any difference ?

    The man’s answer, taking one more fish and throwing it back into the sea: “It will make a difference for this one.”.

    I think you’re making a difference. All you do is making a difference. How could it not be that way ?!


    • Nicolas you’ve made a lot of sense here and I thank you for taking the time to write a detailed reply. I have heard the parable about the fishes, or a similar version, and it is a great analogy in this context. Thank you.

  • Interesting and honest post, thank you. The definition of “Personal Growth” clicked pretty well with my own definition, particularly the ‘getting out of your comfort zone’ and ‘learning something new’ ones – also ‘living with a community mind, not a ‘me’ mind’.

    What really stood out to me from this post is the need to be AUTHENTIC. I’ve been trying to be much more honest when I talk to people. I may as well be. I should be as honest as I can be. That means telling people the real reason I don’t want to do something rather than making up a lame excuse that nobody ever buys (eg. now I try to tell phone market researchers “I don’t want to do this right now”, rather than “I’m busy”).

    That also means talking about something that is bothering me, or saying what I am thinking about, even if it is a bit confrontational or ‘too deep’/not a light or easy subject. I love it when people express what is on their hearts or minds to me.

    • Hi Mia. Honesty is one of the most important aspects of living an authentic life and having the courage to speak out loud when it’s uncomfortable for you is one of the bravest things you can do in life. Thank you for your honesty and comments Mia.

  • Steve, look at any song, any book, any movie. The theme is universal and has always been, the approach is what makes it uniquely you.

    To me personaly development is a series of choices we make not to reach a place that we thought was better than the place we were before, or better than another person. They are a serious of choices we make to express ourselves.

    If a person feels they need to master the art of standing upside down for 4hrs, live on 3 hours sleep, run a marathon, eat raw food, try every time management course under the sun.. then that’s fine.. so be it.

    Is it a requirement for everyone who is looking to develop themselves? or let’s say express themselves? I would have to say no

    It only matters in my opinion that we are being true to ourselves and making choices which are coming from a desire to experience and define who we desire to be.

    • Hi Jon, you made an important point there ‘being true to ourselves’, as long as we are doing this and we are happy that’s all that matters so I totally agree with what you are saying, thanks for that.

  • Hi Steve,

    I really enjoyed your thoughts from this post. I’ve seen your efforts over the last few months to grow your blog and try new things to push past your comfort zone and I congratulate you for them. While a goal like getting 10,000 subscribers to your blog might feel a bit like a “tick in the box” type of achievement, there is an underlying spirit to your efforts that show that you’re living as your authentic self and constantly challenging yourself to hold true to what you believe in. In essence, what is you.

    If you are faking it or not, you are giving inspiration to many others (myself included) that you are “having a go” and being real about it. It’s not only about what you are doing, but how your are doing it that makes such a difference to others. Please don’t stop!!


  • I cant agree more with you Steven. I fake personal development myself, and I do it so often it’s becoming a bad habit. The part where you said that personal development is a lifestyle, a way of being is precisely what I felt. It should flow with ease after getting used to the lifestyle we seek in ourselves.
    .-= Karlil´s last blog ..Knowing Your Starting Point =-.

    • Hi Nik, thanks for being so honest and I think we all fake personal development to a degree. The main thing is that you have recognised it and you’re doing something about it.

  • Hi Lance, thanks for your comments and your candor. I think sometimes we can all be on the ‘faking it’ side, it’s just part of who we are, but as long as we recognise that and get ourselves back on track then that’s okay.

  • Steven,
    I love the article! What really jumps out for me is this idea of faking it or making it – and where I’m at on that continuum. Honestly…in some areas, I’m sure I’m skewing a bit toward the “faking it” side…and that is not where I want to be. So, this really has me thinking today, of where I am at with all of this, and what I can to to be “making it” in more areas of my life. Awesome!
    .-= Lance´s last blog ..Sunday Thought For The Day =-.

  • PS I also forgot to mention another aspect of this which is, we can choose what we want to identify with and although your honesty is soooo very noble and necessary and makes you so very real for us, there is still merit in ALL that you did. And powerful merit in your honesty. I know you know this, but I just wanted to say it. So we look at it all and embrace all the varied perspectives. That’s the fun of life. Rarely is there only ONE story. Our stories can be told and retold from so many angles and they grow and change as we do. In essence our stories are alive….if we allow them to be.

    The whole post is beautiful!
    I am grateful for it and you.
    .-= Robin Easton´s last blog ..Death as an Adviser =-.

  • Dear Steven,

    I read this and cheered you ALL the way through it. WOW!!! I am hugging you and clapping for you. GOOD FOR YOU! Something real, alive and something that people can sink their teeth into. Just keep it up. What lies in your honest “personal” self is powerful. Beautiful. Clean. Real.

    Something I see all the time in the world, especially among “professionals” or even semi-professionals…of all kinds, is that they expose almost nothing of themselves. I find it very dry reading when that happens on a blog. When I came out of the wild years ago something I noticed was that many adults (esp. professionals) were walking around trying to keep up the serious adult, professional, together, business-like image. I could see very little of who they really were as human beings. I became quickly bored because there was nothing to connect to other than endless concepts.

    I also saw a great fear in people to let down and have good healthy fun, be goofy and laugh, be emotional (heaven forbid), be afraid, be child-like, and above all to share anything PERSONAL (that was totally taboo). Oddly, I still see this MOST in the personal development field. I find that fascinating.

    The collective pressure to be like this was overwhelming for me, and I’m not even in the field, but felt it just as an adult. One morning I woke up and said, “Holy crap! I’m losing myself. I’m being pressured and intimated in ways that aren’t even spoken (unspoken rules and agreements). Well, no more. I ain’t buying it. It will knock all the life out of me and make me very old very fast. And that is not what I’m about.” I chose a different path a long long time ago and on that path lies freedom to be ME, and I am very “personal”. :)

    It is why I’ve encouraged some of the PD blogs I read to be more personal. Otherwise it’s just more of same old same old and as you said, you read one you’ve read them all.

    I think this article is a real ice breaker. It’s something very very real. People can connect with you and relate. You become more real to us and not just another concept. The world is FULL of concepts, but there is only ONE Steven Aitchison in the world. You greatest power lies in letting him be who he really is. He is dynamic!!

    .-= Robin Easton´s last blog ..Death as an Adviser =-.

    • Robin, You have to stop coming round to the CYT blog, your comments are better than my posts :)

      It’s difficult running a PD blog as a lot of the time I am not talking from direct experience, that would be impossible but I am talking from the perspective of being human and using counselling skills to help readers. I have found it’s easy to fall into the trap off just writing about the topic but not the experience of the topic. Unless that is noticed and picked up on it’s easy to keep going in this way and then I wonder why readers are not connecting with it.

      This article came from the heart, from direct experience and I guess that’s where the difference lies.

      Thank you so much for your kind words and inner beauty.

    • Hi Kenji, thanks for commenting.

      You are right, we cannot quantify love, belief in ourselves, trust, belonging and other internal feelings and emotions and it’s from these feelings and emotions we personally develop

  • Fantastic article Steve. Let’s take another look at the ones marked “no” from a different angle.
    1- Bought a beautiful home (Yes, because wanting to provide for your family is an expression of love, which is the highest form of positive energy and the ultimate goal of personal development.)
    2- Stopped Smoking (Yes, you overcame a deeply rooted emotional anchor. The reason is irrelevant, although you may have saved your son from falling into the same trap. Remember, personal development includes our physical self.)
    3- Grown my blog to over 6000 subscribers (Yes, because the lives and personal development of each of those readers is benefited by your work. It’s called contribution.)
    4- Been interviewed on 3 radio stations (Yes, you pushed beyond your comfort zone. It’s called growth.)
    5- Become much more productive with my time (Yes, because time is the most valuable thing we have and you have given up some of yours for the good of others. It’s called sacrifice.)
    .-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality part 5 =-.

    • I knew you would do it :) I actually thought when I was writing the post that you or Dragos would look at it from the other side and say I have still developed in some way. You’re right of course they are all good points you have brought up and I thank you for them, deeply.

  • Steve, those are great points you brought up.

    I think a lot of people are faking it. On most websites, personal development is overwhelmingly more about entertainment value than actually helping people. It’s kind of hard to deny that at this point.

    But you’re right that there is always a different approach to anything in life. There is always a deeper level of understanding to strive for. Sometimes we need people we can connect with to show us a new perspective that we never considered before.
    .-= Tim | Inspiration Pro´s last blog ..9 Powerful Techniques for Persuading People =-.

    • Hi Tim, that’s a good point you made about connecting with people. 100 People could teach the same lesson in life but unless we connect with 1 of those people we won’t learn anything from them.

  • WOW, Steven, I enjoyed this post so much that I cannot even find enough words to write it here :-)
    Personal development is a fashion in the blogosphere and in the whole world in general. Everybody tries to jump on this train and say that they are experts in personal development but the truth is that there are very very few people who really are. I am not a personal development expert but I do my best pursuing my personal development goals. Some days I feel better about myself and some days I give up completely and just enjoy being a regular human being.
    I do understand you about smoking Steven. I used to smoke too but I quit for health reasons and I am happy about it. Would I smoke if it weren’t so unhealthy? Definitely yes, it made me feel good. Is it worth compromising my health and the health of people around me for this pleasure? Definitely no.
    You are so right saying that personal development must be authentic. What is right for one person might be completely wrong for another one just because we are all so different (thankfully!)
    I am going to finish my rant now :-) It is an amazing article Steven and I will recommend it to all my friends.
    .-= Anastasiya´s last blog ..A Simple Way to Be Thankful and to Help Someone in Need =-.

    • Anastasiya, I take that as a great compliment coming from yourself. About the smoking thing, I knew what it was doing to my health and endangering others, it just seemed it was a great thinking tool, if that makes sense? Thanks again Anastasiya.

  • Dear Steven

    I have read a lot of different inspirational books. And each book opens my eyes that (you are right!) it copies the core ideas which had been written before.

    And if to talk about we are really developing ourselves or are faking ourself – I don’t understand WHY, but these your words helped me much more that dozens of best selling books of wellknown authors.
    This article touched me.
    Thank you very much. Thank you!


  • Hi Steven,

    I enjoyed this post very much. It really connected to some things that have been on my mind lately.

    Three things in particular:-

    Firstly, well done on having the bottle to be entirely honest with yourself and what you have/haven’t achieved. I find that being absolutely balls out honest with yourself is about as easy as getting an octopus into a string bag. I’m sure we all have a thousand excuses and self justifications we use on a regular basis. I’ve just finished a bacon and egg sandwich – which was great except I am prone to high cholesterol so go figure that one out!

    Secondly, the bit about goals interests me. I think there is a tendency to be trying to live up to someone else’s scorecard rather than your own and get into that “great!- another tick in the box” mentality.

    Lastly, I totally identify with what you said about looking at your own (and other) self help blogs and having a bit of a “crisis of confidence” about what is being said. It does sometimes seem that the same few ideas get rehashed, regrooved and repeated over and again. Something I had to get over was thinking “look at the big players in the self-help world – look at your Tony Robbins, Michael Neill, Wayne Dyer, all those guys – Jeez why would people listen to YOU when they can read the people WHO really know what they are talking about?” Having said that – should no-one study science because Stephen Hawking has already got that covered? I guess this is where the quote by Henry van Dyke comes in

    “Use what talent you possess – the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”

    Congratulations again. The honesty in this post really made it stand out from the crowd.


    • Hi Gareth, I couldn’t agree with you more on your point about scorecards and having ‘another tick in the box’ mentality.

      I have to say you’ve made a great point also about writers getting into the self help field when there are so many good ones out there , my favourite of the list is definitely Michael Neill. What we’ve got to remember is that people like Michael Neill, Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer etc started when the likes of Brian Tracy, Bob Proctor, Og Mandino were around so they must have thought exactly the same as we do now.

      Loved the quote as well.

      Great comments Gareth, thanks for visting.

  • Steven,

    This was honest, authentic and a breath of fresh air. Thank you.

    I was reading an email by a voice coach today – Judy Apps – who said: “It’s a strange thing: self belief is not so much about thinking you are fantastic; it’s more about giving yourself permission to be you.”

    That reminds me of what you have written. Whilst I wrote that personal development was not about personal value, it is personal to each of us regarding what we actually grow in.

    I also liked this: “if you are faking personal development there will be a dissonance within yourself which will eventually lead you to make the real change you want to or forget making the change altogether. However, it’s better being honest with yourself now rather than later.”

    I find that substantial changes often come on the other side of a crisis moment (Why is it SO hard to change! Darn it, I’ll go out for a walk!) I come back – with an insight about why I haven’t changed and what to do.

    Great post, really great.


    • Thanks Doug, I appreciate your kind words. I’ve had so many insights after reaching a crisis point, it’s the letting go for a moment that does it, sometimes we are holding so tight to something that we cannot see it, then when we let go we are able to see it again.

  • Hi Steven,
    Very much enjoyed this post. Regarding faking it or making it – I think the barometer is happiness. If we are happy, satisfied, peaceful – great – time for celebration! And if we are not, or there are certain areas in our lives that are stressful or unsatisfying, then they are asking for our attention. Happiness can’t be faked.
    .-= Gail @ A Flourishing Life´s last blog ..A Love Letter =-.

  • Steven,
    My God this was , is and will remain the best ever post I have ever ever read!!! And I am not exaggerating!!!
    You have seriously taken personal development to a new level….by questioning those very thoughts…the developing ones which are truly very personal.
    I sincerely applaud you for your honesty..and I love the way you think.
    Believe me you have changed my view of personal development forever and ever…and all for the better :)
    Thank you fro this wonderful post. I think i will need to read this almost everyday to stay on track…and if i ever start going off track…I know what to read to get me all motivated again.
    There is so much depth in this post…so much…
    Love it!
    .-= Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s last blog ..26/11-Prayer for Peace and Love =-.

    • Wow Zeenat thank you so much for your kind words. do you know this was one of those posts that when I wrote it I started thinking that nobody would get it or like it and I thought it would fade into the background. I am so glad it touched you, this is what I want from the blog. Thank you.

  • Fantastic post, Steve. Every single thing you wrote here was money, especially your retrospective on yourself and “The Originality of Mathematical Equations” section. The Mathematical Equations reminds me of the concept of “signposts” in personal development, where everything you hear just points you towards your ideal self. The thing is, they all look like they say something different on the outside (word content), but they all are the same ideas, just expressed in different ways, because they all point us in the same direction – to our ideal selves.

    Keep up the good work, my friend!
    .-= bretthimself´s last blog ..Last Post on the Princedom =-.

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