Evolving from Too Many to Just Enough

Why do I follow so many personal improvement blogs and podcasts? “I thought you said you were going to be more deliberate?” my girlfriend asked.

She has a point. I wrote explicitly that I was going to do just that.

(I am following my own advice, to some extent: I am re-reading The Success Principles one chapter at a time, and I am consuming personal improvement podcasts in smaller bites.)

She’s right – I’m following too many.

I’ve been asking myself why I’m so obsessed with this stuff, and I think I have part of an answer: I have Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). I’m following so many things I constantly have an urge to catch up, or I’ll get behind.

(The truth is that I’m already too far behind to catch up, no matter what I do.)

If I don’t read that article, listen to those programs, and subscribe to this guy’s newsletter, I might miss The One Key that will change everything.

What if James Altucher interviews Jack Canfield? Wouldn’t that be the best thing ever?
(He did. It was.)

More on FOMO here: Frankly Speaking: How I Got Started (#9)

But I’m not going to follow none.

But FOMO is only one part of the reason. I think there are huge benefits to following success oriented personal growth coaches.

1. Motivation

The desire to improve myself was something that I lost a long time ago (it’s hard to remember… something about college and hazy living rooms). By listening and reading and watching people who are motivated, I rekindle something inside myself that says, “life doesn’t have to be like this. Improve yourself!”

People like Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield and Napoleon Hill and Seth Godin and Gretchen Rubin and Lewis Howes and Jordan Harbinger and James Altucher and James Clear and Andrew Ferebee have sparked in me a desire to get better. When I find myself on my butt, feeling down and unmotivated, I can listen to these people and remind myself that life doesn’t have to be a grind. It can be what I make it.

2. Knowledge

The problem with the self help and personal growth world is that it can be a giant echo chamber. Just like exercise and diet magazines, ultimately there is a finite number of basic truths.

Why don’t I just listen to myself, and follow my gut? I’ve been doing that, for 35 years. Without going into detail, I’m less than satisfied so far. Without reading about these things — and taking action! — I wasn’t aware (or didn’t believe) that

  • making my bed every morning sets the stage for the rest of my day
  • taking a cold shower every day helps me overcome fear
  • taking action is the best thing I can do to get somewhere better in life
  • I can free myself from 90% of social anxiety by following simple rules: be impeccable with your word, don’t make assumptions, don’t take things personally, and do your best.
  • a good way to build a habit is to stack it with another
  • meditation is something that a majority of super successful people practice daily
  • it’s important to choose the people you spend the most time with
  • feeling compelled to lie means that you are not confident in yourself
  • and the list goes on…

So What Now?

I’ve learned two things: it’s important that I continue to check in with the media that means the most to me. However, it’s also important that I cut out the media that is overwhelming me and not providing value. I’m keeping a “Top 5” list, but I’m cutting the cord on anything remotely smelling of marketing fluff.

There’s a topic on Quora that dovetails nicely with this post: Has anyone achieved anything by reading self-improvement articles/books?

The top answer?

Certainly, the people who are impacted most by self improvement books and articles are the people who write them.

Keep that in mind when you read my blog!


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