Despite the fact that I was always following and reading and watching ALL there is to know about motivation and personal development…
I didn’t feel like I was making substantial progress.
I wasn’t becoming much stronger, more confident or happier.
As challenging situations and triggers came up I would find myself anxious or depressed beyond control and I would say to myself:
“See? There’s just something wrong with you that you can’t fix, because here you are again.”
I kept getting upset, frustrated and hopeless.
Does that sound familiar to you?
Then, read on.
Because today I share what illusion I unconsciously believed in for way too long that prevented me from making real progress in my development and how changing your consuming vs creating ratio can turn that around.
Let’s get into it:
The illusion ?
For a long time, I believed in an illusion…
The illusion that:
“The more information I consume, the bigger the chance I will learn something that will really help me.”
By consuming information and content from people on the internet or reading books, I would learn something new and motivating every day but…
Over time, none of these new things seemed to stick.
I agreed with everything and I would see the potential of this new way of thinking, this new way of creating healthy habits but…
It didn’t really make me stronger, more confident or happier.
Because I would STILL find myself weakened, with crippling anxiety or hopeless in the face of my personal challenges.
But thankfully I realized something…
I realized that the reason I wasn’t making any substantial progress was because I forgot to apply the two most important things to what I’d learn:
Do you fix bad breath with only chewing gum?
Let’s look at this illusion as a piece of gum you’re chewing.
Let’s say your problem is that you have bad breath.
So you’re fixing it with gum.
That’s fine, as long as you also brush your teeth regularly and consistently.
If you only rely on the gum to keep your breath fresh…
Then you’re in for a hard time.
Because that gum will lose its taste…
And when that fresh taste is gone…
You’re left with that nasty smell in your mouth.
That’s not what you want!
This is what happens when you are only and always following the latest and newest motivational and inspirational quotes, blogs, photos, books and videos.
You are chewing one piece of gum after the other and think the next one is going to be even better than the last one and the next one is going to be the breakthrough to solving your bad breath problem.
What I’ve learned is that never pays off.
Trust me, I tried…
But I have NEVER found my big breakthrough that way.
This is why consistent EFFORT over TIME is the only way to achieve progress
I’m all about motivational and inspirational quotes and videos and I get excited by them too.
And like I said, I used to be watching and reading as much of them as possible!
But I came to understand one thing:
Consistent effort over time will change more than consuming ANY amount of the latest and newest pieces of information about personal development EVER will.
“Why are you so sure of that?” you say?
I noticed this whenever I faced a challenge.
I could be feeling pretty good and full of confidence and excited and pumped up because of all those quotes and videos and blogs that I SO agreed with.
Then, a challenge comes up.
A challenge can be anything that triggers a strong emotional response for you like anger, anxiety, hopelessness…
It can be speaking in front of a group, being confronted by someone for something you didn’t do, being yelled at by your boss, simply having a conversation with a stranger…
When I’m in that situation, what is it I’ll rely on to navigate me through that situation?
What will be activated to rule my thoughts, emotions and behavior?
And for a big part of it: my unconscious brain…
In times of a challenge, my brain is just going to check:
“Do I recognize this type of situation?
Oh, is this one of those challenges again?
Oh, I remember the path for a challenge:
I’ll convince myself I’m not good enough, people are going to think you’re stupid, you should back out and run away from this.“
So I can be watching videos and reading blogs every single day but unless I apply a lot of effort over long periods of time on teaching my unconscious brain that I AM worthy, and that I AM capable…
I will keep defaulting back to the same negative and destructive thought- and behavior pattern.
Because the only moments I really work on myself is when I am NOT consuming…
It’s in moments when I am not reading, watching or listening to something someone else created.
It’s when I am CREATING something myself.
Either through writing, by doing exercises to understand my thoughts and behaviors or in actual life situations when I go out and do things in life I’m scared of and am being conscious about the fact that I’m training, I’m in the game and what I do now is meaningful and therefore doesn’t have to be perfect.
That’s when I’m applying effort.
That’s when I’m facing and changing those unreal thoughts about myself and the world around me.
That’s when I grow.
How much do you consume vs create in your life?
So this is a reminder that you need to look at your “consuming” versus “creating” ratio.
How much time do you spend consuming about personal development and how much time do you spend creating (training) in developing as a human?
What if you created more?
And see creating as anything that makes you the active person in a situation, OK?
That means you are creating when you are going out into the world, taking up small (or big) challenges to face your fears, reaching out for help, sitting down to talk to someone, analyzing your automatic thoughts…
Do more of that.
Instead of focussing on the message of others, when you are consuming their information…
Be busy writing your own books, quotes and videos so to speak.
If you are regularly feeling overwhelmed by your emotions then try to trace back what situation and automatic thought set that off.
Then, you start to learn what thoughts lie at the heart of your emotions.
And you can start to fact check them and create healthier thoughts about yourself and the world.
The ONLY thing that will help you get better at living with anxiety or depression.
Is understanding your own thoughts, emotions and behavior…
And being able to create healthier ones.
And all the content and books and videos you consume around personal development won’t do that for you…
They might give you a kick and light up a spark inside you…
But they’re just like chewing gum…
They’re gonna lose their taste…
“Go and brush your teeth more.
And do it consistently for a very long time.”
Now, let this be the last self-help blog you read today and get into creation-mode!