Almost Everyone Makes This Personal Development Mistake. Do You?

Almost Everyone Makes This Personal Development Mistake. Do You?

Imagine, for a moment, this strange scenario: You head off to a big university to learn what you need to know to pursue your dream career.

When you get to school, they give you a big catalog of courses filled with of all sorts of interesting topics that catch your eye. There’s that course in French literature you’ve always dreamed of, the course in anthropology your friend told all about, and you remember your dad telling you how great the courses in electrical engineering he took were. So you decide to take those courses and see how it goes.

Afterwards, you look back and realize that electrical engineering wasn’t right for you, and the French literature, while enjoyable, didn’t really contribute much to your goals, either. The anthropology course was more useful. You learned some things you’re sure will help you in the future.

If you spend your time at the university this way, how long do you think it would take you to get a degree in your field of interest? Decades, at least, and probably never, right?

Amazingly, this crazy trial and error approach is exactly how almost everyone tries to achieve their dreams of a happy, fulfilling, and satisfying life.

Fortunately, no university offers a degree this way. When you show up, you get a plan with certain requirements you have to fulfill before you move on to others. There is a core curriculum to follow that teaches you, step-by-step, what you need to know.

While getting a university degree takes as many as 8 years of hard work, it’s nothing when compared to life. Forget 8 years, you want a good 8 decades, 8 decades you’ll spend working on your personal development to build a happy, fulfilling, and satisfying life.

The problem is, when it comes to personal development, almost nobody has a plan.

We are all like the wanna-be student studying French literature. We hear that this will make us happy so we try it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We try a spiritual path, maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t. A friend tells us how helpful yoga was to her, so we try it for a while and maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.

What you need is a plan, a curriculum for your personal development that leads you to your desire: a happy, fulfilling, and satisfying life.

Unfortunately, while any university can give you plan that’ll teach you what you need to know for your career, when it comes to life, it’s not that simple.

Your personality, opportunities, and life experience all shape the unique person you are. It’s for this reason that there is no one-size-fits-all plan for happiness that works for everyone.

Let me tell you a little story about myself. A number of years ago I went through something of a mid-life crisis. Nothing out of the ordinary, well maybe a bit out, but that’s not the point. The point is that almost everywhere I turned for advice on personal development I’d encounter a guru.

I don’t mean someone whose business card title was “Guru” (do guru’s even have business cards?). I’m talking about the confident guru answers, delivered by every religion, in every self-help book, and by well-meaning friends and family, of “do X and you’ll be happy.”

Here are just a few of the ideas I heard:

  • “You need time alone, to learn about yourself”
  • “You should be single for a few years”
  • “Exercise is the secret”
  • “Come to Jesus / Buddha / Islam / …”
  • “Vipassana meditation is the answer”
  • “If you just set your intentions, the universe will provide”
  • “Love is happiness”
  • and on, and on…

The problem is not that all this advice was bad, or that I wouldn’t learn anything from those experiences, it just wasn’t all exactly right for me. It was too much like French literature or anthropology, useful, educational, and possibly fun, but not much help for my dream career.

I didn’t need a guru, I needed an anti-guru. Finding one turned out to be impossible so I did what any self-respecting inventor does, I created one.

That project began as a simple Excel spreadsheet specifically designed to meet my needs. While that worked fine for me, what I was looking for was something that worked for anyone.

Thanks to the emerging science of happiness, I was able to find that solution and created the world’s first Happiness Planner™, and online application you use to build your ideal plan for happiness, fulfillment, and lifelong satisfaction.

Personal development is a life-long journey but now, just like that university degree, you can have a plan. Think of your Happiness Plan as a curriculum for life. Your life.

The next time a friend tells you that she just took this great personal development class and that you should too, or that the secret to happiness is X, or you get inspired by an actual guru, you’ll be able to look at your Happiness Plan and decide whether it’s just a course in French literature or if it’s the essential lesson in human anatomy you’d need to become a doctor.

P.S. The Happiness Planner™ Discovery Edition is included in our free Happiness Toolkit. Click here now to get yours.

P.P.S. Do you already have your Happiness Plan? Be sure to check your personal development activities against your plan to maximize your results.

About Kenneth Benjamin

"Your happiness is locked within. It's my job to be the locksmith." Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happiness International, Kenneth Benjamin transforms the science of happiness into real-world tools that help people discover their needs and follow them on their unique path to happiness. 

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