The personal-growth industry is skyrocketing. These days, everyone is looking for the secret formula to become better, faster.
While I’m all about growing both professionally and personally, I believe that improving has more to do with efficiency than the content you study. When I started Alumnify, an alumni-engagement platform, I knew nothing about startups, leadership or running a business. Overtime, I experimented with a ton of strategies and became aware of all the mishaps I was making when it came to personal growth.
Here are the biggest three errors I made:
1. Too much content, not enough action.
I know way too many people who buy a bunch of books they’re never going to read. Don't do this. You should focus less on the number of books on your shelf and more on how many of them you've read.
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On the other hand, there are people who read books on things that they will never apply in the real world. If you’re a computer programmer, don't buy a book about building a car from scratch (unless, of course, you plan on doing so). There’s billions of things you can learn in this world, but to improve, you need to only learn what you can practically use.
To solve this problem, only read books that will help you in your life at that moment. For instance, when I was in charge of the design team at our company I read user experience and design books. As I moved to product management, I read books about Scrum. And as a CEO, I read leadership books on leadership. The lessons in the books have to be immediately applicable, or you’ll forget what you learned and never apply it.
2. Overloading yourself with improvements to make.
We are not built to try and improve everything all at once. This is a surefire way to become mediocre at many things. Instead, focus on one skill you want to improve in your life and master it. At the very least, stick with it for 66 days. This is enough for your body to adjust to make it a habit. Once the habit is developed, you can move onto another one.
3. Becoming complacent.
A great growth strategy is to find a mentor in the skill you want to acquire. Once you have attained a level that you feel comfortable with, you should look for a new teacher to teach you a different skill. Unfortunately, this is where most people fail.
They feel they owe it to their mentor to stay with them and not move on. The teacher has sacrificed so much; it just wouldn’t be right to leave them for a new coach. Don't do this, as this thought process will cause you to stagnate. Keep in mind, the best coaches want you to become better than they are, because they take pride in your success.