There are necessary steps that every person has to go through in order to progress in personal development.
First, it’s awareness of a new opportunity. If you’re not even aware that something is possible, you’re not going to take action or use it. This can be anything from knowing of a new diet, knowing of a new method of making money (e.g., making a YouTube channel), knowing you suck at communicating because you have a monotone, unenthusiastic voice. Many people never break through because no one gives them feedback or educates them on this new opportunity. They never run into content online or feedback that they need to improve this area. Some may never have to, and they proceed their whole life blind to the fact of an opportunity or a weakness. I know there’s plenty of people who don’t know you can make money on social media or online. And I myself didn’t know my communication skills were lacking until I got a lot of feedback through a program I invested in for other purposes.
You can increase your exposure to new opportunities and make yourself more aware by doing more research online.
Second, there’s belief. If you don’t even believe it’s possible or open yourself to being more open-minded, you won’t move forward. A lot of people stop here. I saw a video recently on Twitter (X) about how this man went from -$3k in debt to making $300k a month. One thing he said is how he noticed average people he talked to, like his Uber driver, didn’t believe making a lot of money was ever possible for them. When you don’t believe it’s possible for you, you close yourself off to even trying anything to improve that. This lack of belief can be an obstacle in any area of personal development. If you don’t believe there’s anything you can do to ever attract a high-quality, beautiful women and that you can only attract ugly women, which is something that some men online definitely believe if you go on some online communities, you don’t even try. You give up. You may even become so negative that you try to convince others or pull them down. Therefore, the idea of learning new things that can improve you as a mate gets closed off because your belief that it’s not possible closes you off to expending any energy on it.
Beyond believing it’s not possible, you can also fail to believe that one teacher or methodology can solve it for you, so there’s variations of how belief can enable or disable you from moving to the next step. There are certainly some scam artists out there trying to sell courses, but also legitimate experts. So, you want some level of skepticism, but you also often need to be open-minded enough to try some people when there’s enough credibility.
Third is understanding/education. This is when you get deep into the details about what an expert teaches about a new opportunity. This could be the details of how a diet works, how to practice and improve your communication skills, how to make money through social media, and so on. You often have to learn the specific steps to grow your skills and start using it. While this is vital, it’s not everything, because many people get stuck in “theory” land where they never take action and just know all the theory. The issue with this is a lot of the growth only happens with action and experience, especially for certain soft skills or physical skills. If you spend all your time at home reading books to learn how to play basketball or talk to women but you never go out often enough, you’re not going to develop much.
Another obstacle is getting the right information. As mentioned, there’s a lot of fake gurus and there’s a lot of fluff content that’s available for free. Cheaping out and trying to “learn it myself with free content” is something I have wasted years on in various areas of my life. I have seen a lot more growth in a shorter period of time by investing in a coach or course. With social content, they’re putting out random tips, some of it fluff, every day just to get views – you may be getting a lot of information out of order or tips that aren’t a priority / most importance. It’s not customized to your strengths and weaknesses, which is something a coach can pick out for you. You may see some people say “all the info is online for free. just use that like I am.” but then, look at their results. Chances are they’ve been floundering for years.
Fourth is action. As hinted, you have to take action and the right action. Then, get feedback and improve your skills. Sounds simple, but as mentioned, many people procrastinate out of fear or laziness. Without lots of experience and feedback, you can stay stagnant.
Fifth is feedback. I will say that solely using my your own experience and feedback is better than nothing but not a sound strategy. There are various skills from cooking to running to communication skills to dating that I have barely grown in because I tried to do everything on my own. The problem is there’s tons of blind spots that you’re unaware of. By learning through coaches, other experts, successful people, and others’ mistakes, you get a lot more feedback that you would’ve missed. You can expedite this by seeking out feedback and finding the right people. Sometimes, it requires investing in someone who can provide that feedback with money. I personally think that in some complex areas of life like relationships and dating, you can’t get good feedback for free. I’ve written about why your friends and family often give terrible feedback in this department and why female friends who have never had to coach or think about this give terrible advice like “just be yourself.”