Self-help, motivational, and personal developing books, classes, and seminars are everywhere these days. Just about anyone who wants to stand in front of a crowd or say something inspirational on a podcast can do it. But who are these people and do they really know their shit? Some might be successful in your definition of success – be it business, athleticism, or creating a family. This person might even be nailing every one of your personal core values – a potentially solid choice to use your time reading, listening, or following. Others are phonys, only successful in sounding like they know something, but in their personal lives, businesses, or family endeavors are losers. You need to take an in-depth look at who you are seeking knowledge and inspiration from and vet them. If you are seeking a business mentor with multiple bankruptcies, a health coach that is overweight or doesn’t know how to deadlift, or a “life coach” with two divorces, you are modeling your behaviors after the wrong individual. You need to make sure these people are really getting after it and not only living the life that they are preaching, but will assist you in becoming the person you seek to develop into.
Next up – too many people are chronically trying to learn how to improve their life. Reading self-improvement books, for example, can be a great way to improve yourself. But, they don’t mean shit if you aren’t putting things into action and getting after the principles the book suggests. Reading book after book, listening to every podcast you can, and attending local events with self-help superstars are a waste of time if you aren’t implementing the messages. Put the book down and start taking action. Reread your favorite book or re-listen to that podcast that made you motivated for a couple days. Begin implementing ALL of the strategies suggested. Don’t skip one because you think it won’t work for you. Buy into the whole picture. If it doesn’t work in the long run, drop it and figure out what works better. Don’t just sit, listen, and “learn,” take action and make it happen for yourself.
This is not battering individuals that seek different methods to improve their lives. I love that people are trying to better themselves. At some point however you need to ask yourself, “Are you really trying to improve yourself, or are you chronically learning how people can improve themselves?” You need to dive deeper into who you are taking this information from – finding out if they really are the person you want to become more like. Then, pick one individual/theory/message you’d like to model and implement it. Don’t get caught up in any he said, she said, they did bullshit. Start trying things out and see what’s taking you on the best path to your definition of success using your core values.
Learning doesn’t mean anything without putting it to use.
Sean Spire is the Head Coach of ASL. He was a competitive swimmer who discovered CrossFit and Ironman Triathlons. He has his BS in Exercise Science from Florida State University.