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Self-improvement is masturbation Oct 09

In one of my favorite movies (Fight Club), at one point, Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt) says: “Self-improvement is masturbation”. You have to see the scene and the movie to get the full meaning of this line, but even if you haven’t, you get the idea…

This quote sticks is my head like glue. Here’s the thing: I do believe in personal development and improving constantly as a person. Hell, I make a living out of it! But, I also believe that a lot of the people who are into personal development have a skewed vision about it and an ineffective approach.

Some of my best friends are into personal development and I really appreciate them for that. But at the same time, some of the people who are into personal development simply weird me out. These people read a lot of books on personal development, they go to trainings, they quote Dale Carnegie, Michael Jordan or somebody in almost any conversation. And there is this strange, negative energy about them.

Here’s why: they come into personal development from a place of not accepting themselves. They believe they are bad because they have weaknesses (big or small, plenty or a couple), because they are imperfect. They have no concept of self-worth as people beyond their strengths and weaknesses.

Coming from this place, a lot of personal development lovers feel very uncomfortable with whom they are and they project that all around: in the way they walk, they talk, they behave. You feel the need to stay away from them or you’ll catch whatever they have. This is the negative energy I’m talking about.

I wanna make it as clear as possible: wanting to improve because you cannot accept yourself, even if you have major weaknesses, is in my perspective a very, very bad motivation for self-improvement. Here are some of the major reasons:

  • It makes personal development a hard, frustrating journey to somewhere;
  • It makes you look for shortcuts and magic solutions for their transformation, which rarely work;
  • It makes you try to change a lot of things at once, it makes personal development disorganized and ineffective;
  • Very often, even if you’ll improve a lot, you still won’t like yourself or be happy.

It’s very important that first, before anything else, you learn to accept yourself as you are. It doesn’t mean you don’t wanna improve anymore; it only means that you realize you have an intrinsic value as a human being and that imperfection is actually very natural.

Only after you accept yourself and become comfortable in your own skin, do you move on to improving yourself, one step at a time. Think of accepting the status quo as the first major step in changing it. This, to me, is mature, effective personal development.

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2 Responses
  1. Catalin says:

    Great article. Just when I found myself wondering whether this idea of self-development isn’t complete crap, I came upon this article. This article is not full of itself and its tone is different from the usual gift packed garbage (although you use a movie quote).
    Yes, the biggest self-development stunt is being proud of what you are.

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