For personal growth, its not the thought that counts

How serious are you about your personal growth? Very? Good. Start by ignoring the shallow self-help notion that thinking positive and chanting affirmations is enough. Both are too superficial, and the resulting failure can drop you into depression.

Here’s a classic example: I am an assertive person, I am an assertive person… etc… endlessly chanted. Long before I found the universal truths, I could hear affirmations like that proclaiming their own failure, because the despairing undertone was saying I am actually a timid person, I am actually a timid person. Even a burning desire is not enough, on its own, to shift a self-identity belief. That’s like expecting an eager Chihuahua to bother an elephant.

And yet there is a way. You can shift your self-identity and reap the rewards. Here’s the solution (and I don’t mean this to be a commercial for a sportswear company):

Just do it.

Yes, its familiar, but don’t dismiss it. It’s one of the most effective pieces of personal growth advice ever floated. It’s the doing, the action, that does the real internal work, shifting how you feel about your self and re-sculpting your self-identity. Also, there’s now good scientific evidence that involving your body in the new actions can change your internal chemistry and the way you feel – for that take a look at an earlier blog Lightning in a bottle.

So, back to assertive. Act assertively once, then dwell on how that feels. For this first time, make it a small step you’re sure will succeed. Don’t allow some muttering inner voice to set you up to fail – returning to familiar painful habits may be the temptation of the devil you know. Act assertively twice, feel how that feels. Keep going. What else do you want? Confidence? Do confidence, act confident even if you don’t feel it yet. What else? More energy? Passion? Personal strength? Do them as if you already have those qualities until your inner reality catches up.

Want to stop a bad or destructive habit? Start doing life without it. Want to stop an addiction? Yes, even that… ignore all the modern influences that empathise with you and excuse your addiction. Start doing life without it. I know, that may involve extraordinary pain – so let’s return to original question. How serious are you about your personal growth?

Still with me? Okay, ask yourself these questions.
What do I do to close the gap between who I am and who I want to be?
What active steps will I take?
What’s my first action?
Just do it.