Why Self-Improvement Is Often What You Stop And Not What You Start

Self improvement is big business, whether it’s books, seminars, personal coaching or kale, there’s a never ending stream of things we can do to improve ourselves but have you ever taken a moment to think what would happen if you decided that instead of starting something new you would just stop?

I’m current reading “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith and in the first few chapters he talks about the reasons why successful people eventually stagnate when they become so stuck in their ways that they create blind spots in how they conduct themselves.

In the book Marshall uses the example of a pushy salesmen who successfully makes a sale and so he or she reinforces the idea that being pushy is the only way to make sales!

There are many instances in our own lives where we confuse causation and correlation, which means that the goals we hope to achieve, may require a very different approach, which is often programmed out of view.

“If something good happens after we do it, then we make a connection and seek to repeat the activity.”Marshall Goldsmith

Let’s use a couple of common examples of changes most people would like to make:

1. I want to lose weight

The first thought for most would be to go on a diet or hire a personal trainer but what most people probably need to do is STOP eating out, stop snacking and eat less sugar.

2. I want more money

The first thought would be to find a higher paying job, get a promotion or win the lottery but in fact the easiest way to have more money is usually to STOP spending your money on dumb shit like owning a bigger house than you need, alcohol or keeping up with the latest fashion trends.

3. I want people to like me

The first thought would be to acquire things that people can admire like cars, nice clothes, association with famous people or the ability to hang out in swanky locations but actually what you could STOP doing is being so damn self involved.

“People only change their ways when what they truly value is threatened.”Marshall Goldsmith

The human condition is a dream come true for marketers who constantly threaten our values so we can seek to protect and improve ourselves through consumption. Sometimes the thing we want to attain is often not in what we bring in but instead, what we learn to let go.

What do you think you should learn to let go of? Let us know in the comments!

Book Reference

Original Image Credit: Moyan Brenn

About the Author



Other than running the Powerful Nonsense blog and podcast, Cem is a health nut and digital content producer to charities and small businesses.

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