Posts tagged self improvement

10 Top Personal Development Bloggers Share Their Advice –
Part Three

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We have arrived at the third and final part of our interview series with some of the top personal development bloggers out there.

Read Part One Here | Read Part Two Here

In this post, we finally see some differences of opinion, especially in the final question, “Can anyone ever really reach self-actualization?” I personally have my own opinion on this, but I didn’t want that to influence what was published in this post. I think it’s important to see all different perspectives because all of them can be valuable in one way or another. Different things are inspiring to different people, and the goal of UpGusto is to help you and every other person move forward, closer to where you want to be in life.

And now, without further ado, let’s finish up what we started.

8. What’s one thing you’ve improved about yourself that you’re proud of and has made your life better, and how did you accomplish this?

“Giving myself a break – and not thinking that I have to be perfect at everything I do. How did I accomplish this? I did this by learning to let go of my past.”
- Alex Blackwell, thebridgemaker.com

“One of the greatest things I’ve done is develop a ‘just do it’ mindset. I love this motto and it’s something I say often to myself. Whenever I’m faced with a fear or I am discouraged or I notice I’m procrastinating, I tell myself the ‘just do it’ motto and make it happen. This has helped me push past many barriers and continue to grow.”
- Brendan Baker, startofhappiness.com

“Letting others be involved in my life as well. I had always felt that I needed to do everything myself, be it in my personal life or in business. Allowing others to be a part of my life meant that I didn’t need to put the weight of everything on my shoulders anymore. Now in my personal life, I have my fiance who is with me all the time, supporting and helping me. In my business, I have my admin team and team of contractors whom I outsource stuff to regularly to offload my work. I know that no matter what I’m facing, I always have people who will be there for me to help me out, vs. in the past when I kept thinking that I have to face and do everything alone.”
- Celestine Chua, personalexcellence.co

“I learned the true relationship between money and happiness, and stopped wasting money on things that didn’t contribute to my long-term happiness. I opted out of the normal Western habit of constantly paying for entertainment and gratification, and suddenly I was able to live on half what I lived on before, and I became immediately happier and healthier. It’s like doubling your income instantly. I saved up money very quickly and within a year was able to quit my job to do what I love, which I consider my greatest accomplishment. I learned how to do this from Mr Money Mustache’s blog (mrmoneymustache.com) and I will be forever grateful for what I learned from it. Taking control of my finances like this changed everything almost overnight, not just for my finances but for my sense of control and stability, and future possibilities.”
- David Cain, raptitude.com

“One thing? I’d have to say the willingness to keep facing the discomfort within me, and keep feeling my feelings fully, whatever they are. I’ve done this through meditation. When I say meditation, I mean sitting or lying down and feeling whatever feelings that are present. I let go of the story around the feelings, and I feel the feelings. I let them take over. I welcome them. When I do this, they tend to dissipate and dissolve.”
- Henri Junttila, wakeupcloud.com

“I’ve taken risks throughout my life and I’ve failed at about 50% of them. That process has given me courage to risk failing because I’ve been able to bounce back. No failure has set me back permanently. I’ve learned that when I feel like everything is too hard and I’ll never reach my goals, I can go to bed and give it another try in the morning. The fact that I get up every day and try again is what I’m most proud of. We need to give ourselves credit for diligence and perseverance instead of focusing solely on success. Success doesn’t come every time, but diligence and perseverance feel good every time — doing our best work with commitment is what matters. That’s what gets me up every day to give it another try.”
- Penelope Trunk, penelopetrunk.com

“I was hopelessly self-conscious when I was younger. I felt I could read other people’s minds and knew exactly what they were thinking about me and about other things. I was extremely sensitive and in tune with people, but couldn’t quite relate to them for some reason. At age 20 I changed everything. I dropped my friends ‘drinking buddies’, changed my job and even changed the city I lived in. And recognising what I needed to change and that I needed to be around other people like me led me to take up ‘nursing’ as a career. I didn’t become a nurse but everything has led me to helping others: doing a psychology degree, becoming a homeless worker, becoming an addiction worker and then becoming a personal development writer and blogger, and now it has all culminated in me writing to you, the person who is hoping to make a difference in other people’s lives by blogging on personal development, it all works out in the end”
- Steve Aitchison, stevenaitchison.co.uk

“I’m exponentially less likely to get wound up by criticism or fly off the handle than I was 10 years ago. One word, meditation.”
- Tim Brownson, adaringadventure.com

“There are many goals I have achieved over the years with which I am pleased and yes, even proud of accomplishing. Most recently, giving up the day job, having replaced my income with my online business income was a big goal that gave me a lot of pleasure. But, in terms of how I have personally improved, I would say that it is the ability to consistently set and achieve such goals that is the biggest change in myself for which I am most proud.”
- Will Edwards, whitedovebooks.co.uk

9. What do you feel is the most important aspect that people should improve about their lives?

“I think the best thing we can do is to let go of past mistakes and forgive. When we hold on to mistakes or to anger, it keeps us stuck in the past and unable to live in the present. But when we forgive and let go, we are free to live in the present and embrace the life that is waiting.”
- Alex Blackwell, thebridgemaker.com

“Your mindset is fundamental to everything you do. When you can learn to control your mind you can learn to control your life. I was actually watching a Tony Robbins video just yesterday and he mentioned the number one key to success in any area of your life is taking control of your state. It’s the same thing. When you can control your thoughts, your emotions and your responses to everything around you, that’s when you control your life.”
- Brendan Baker, startofhappiness.com

“Find their inner selves and be true to that. Many people today are doing things for other people and trying to live up to others’ projections of them. But who is the real them? What is it they truly want? Many people can’t answer such a question, or only provide mild replies to the questions. At Personal Excellence, I’m constantly writing about the journey of self-discovery from all angles, be it discovering our goals, beauty, self-respect, self-worth, and so on. Self-discovery is a life-long journey and it never ends.”
- Celestine Chua, personalexcellence.co

“Their moment-to-moment state of consciousness. Everything hinges on it. The quality of your consciousness determines your quality of life. You do everything better when you can keep your attention more or less on what’s happening in your immediate surroundings. Generally, we are way too preoccupied with images of how things might go later. Staying present is a skill everyone should work on. There are piles of literature on how to do that.”
- David Cain, raptitude.com

“I don’t know if it’s something to improve. Instead, I’d say it’s something to notice. What has helped me the most is meditation. By diving deep into yourself, you see where everything comes from. For a long time, I chased money, because I thought it would bring happiness. I still do from time to time, but the stranglehold of money is gone. I discovered that wanting money was a consequence of wanting security, which was a result of thinking that I’d end up on the street all alone. But who knows what would happen if I didn’t have money? What if it was a blessing in disguise? You see, your thinking tricks you into different actions. It’s not until you see this that you’re truly free, and that you can truly follow your bliss and inspiration.”
- Henri Junttila, wakeupcloud.com

“By far the most important is knowing that you can change your beliefs about anything. Beliefs are the bedrock of your life at this very moment. Everything you do, say, think and feel is based on your beliefs about yourself and the world around you. Change your beliefs and you literally change your reality. We all live in the same world, but live in our own reality, changing your beliefs changes your reality.”
- Steve Aitchison, stevenaitchison.co.uk

“That is too individual to give a general answer too. Everyone is different, so everyone has different aspects they would need to improve about themselves.”
- Tim Brownson, adaringadventure.com

“Kindness! I think that society as a whole, certainly where I live in the UK, has become far less tolerant. When I was a kid, we were taught to play games to win, but to be magnanimous in victory and, in defeat, to not be disappointed provided we had tried our best. Trying your best is really all you can do. If you could have done better, then you may have cause for regret, otherwise, you should appreciate that you met a better opponent or team and applaud them for it. I believe that attitude prepares us well for our place in society. These days, many young kids are exposed to the win-at-all-costs mentality that can lead to disrespect for opponents and that attitude, carried on into life, can lead to less caring, tolerance and kindness. But we all have the power to change the world around us; to become beacons, pointing the way for others and many people do take up this challenge. I love to see people being kind to complete strangers for no reason other than to help a fellow human being and that’s what the world needs – more of that attitude.”
- Will Edwards, whitedovebooks.co.uk

10. Do you believe that anyone can ever reach self-actualization (where there is no more room for improvement)?

“I don’t think so. I think we find more happiness and less anxiety when we use more -ing words and fewer -ed words. For example, I’m learning; I’m growing; and I’m living empowers us to remember that life is indeed a process – and a wonderful journey.”
- Alex Blackwell, thebridgemaker.com

“Great question, however I would say no. I can’t think of any human on this planet that could not benefit from improvement. Even someone like the Dalai Lama continues to improve himself, learning about new cultures, new technologies, etc. The world is constantly evolving and every single person is unique and has a different perspective. Therefore there is always something new to learn. I think if you were to reach a stage of ‘knowing it all’, that’s when you will fail.”
- Brendan Baker, startofhappiness.com

“Sure, definitely! I believe the highest stage of our growth is enlightenment. I don’t think there is necessarily no more room for improvement at that point because human minds are so dynamic and vast, but that would be the highest end state of self-growth. I believe everyone has the propensity to reach there: maybe not within a lifetime, but all of us are heading there no doubt! David Hawkins wrote a book (Power vs. Force) about the 17 different levels of consciousness which I’ve covered in my article on Map of Consciousness. I highly recommend everyone to read that actually; I personally found it fascinating, sort of like a map-out of the tiers of growth we move through. The highest level at the end is what I mentioned about enlightenment, while the 16 levels before are what we work through in life before getting there.”
- Celestine Chua, personalexcellence.co

“No. There is an enormous movement of people who think that that perfect enlightenment is achievable and is a worthy pursuit. I think this pursuit amounts to a refusal to accept that life will always contain some degree of suffering and lack of control. We can certainly improve our quality of life greatly as we get better at it, but I think it’s senseless to expect any sort of finish line. It is very liberating to give up on getting there and just being wherever you are.”
- David Cain, raptitude.com

“I don’t remember who said it, but I remember the phrase, “We are in a constant state of being and becoming.” We are already perfect, whole, and happy, but we are also on this planet to experience and grow. The key is to stop rushing anywhere. There’s no rush. There’s no improving upon yourself. The paradox is that once you stop trying, things happen faster. This life is a stage, a game, a time to have fun and enjoy life. There’s no need to take this so seriously. There’s no need to take your thoughts so seriously. I still have to remind myself of this, but I’m becoming better at living life in a more relaxed, fun way.”
- Henri Junttila, wakeupcloud.com

“Honestly! No. We are always in a state of flux, a constant state of change therefore by definition we cannot reach self-actualization, but we can get to the stage of realizing that self-actualization should not actually be a goal, but a journey we strive for every day.”
- Steve Aitchison, stevenaitchison.co.uk

“I’m honestly not sure. I think it may be possible for some people, the Dalai Lama springs to mind. Although my guess is if you asked him that question he’d probably say he still has room for improvement. So there you have it, I changed my mind within one sentence and I guess there is always room to improve.”
- Tim Brownson, adaringadventure.com

“As I understand self-actualisation, it is not a state of nirvana in which no further improvement can be made; it is the state of mind we reach when we are living our life purpose. Maslow defined 5 groups of human needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualisation. The big question is: where is your mind? When you can say that most of your thinking revolves around your life work, then I would say you are self-actualised. However, I would also say that there is always room for improvement.”
- Will Edwards, whitedovebooks.co.uk

How about you?

What improvement about yourself are you most proud of, and how did you accomplish it?

Can anyone truly reach their full potential? Or is there always room for improvement?

Weigh in with your thoughts in a comment. I’d love to know what you think!

Next week I’m going to give my input on all 10 questions, so sign up below to be notified when that’s published.

Recommended Reading and Radical Resources:

Here are some great books and resources straight from the awesome people above. Be sure to check them out.

10 Top Personal Development Bloggers Share Their Advice –
Part Two

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We’re back with more wisdom from some of the most influential personal development bloggers in the world.

Read Part One Here | Read Part Three Here

Now on to Part Two:

5. What personality traits best aid people in improving their lives?

 

“Making the decision to change is the best thing you can do to begin learning how to improve your life.”
- Alex Blackwell, thebridgemaker.com

“Optimism, someone with a can-do attitude and someone who is not afraid to take action and implement what they have learned in their life. Self-improvement is actually really simple. You learn something, you implement it, you repeat!”
- Brendan Baker, startofhappiness.com

“Empathy is the key. If you can understand others and put yourself in others’ shoes, it helps you to relate to them better, and hence help to pull them out of whatever ruts they may be in or to simply help them soar to greater heights. You should have a passion for helping others. The passion will shine through and drive you into acquiring any skills and doing anything necessary to help people shine. I started out with nothing but this passion for helping others, and it’s through this that I began to build all other skills to help people, be it active listening skills, powerful questioning, observation skills, increased sensitivity for others, and so on.”
- Celestine Chua, personalexcellence.co

“Optimism and curiosity. Optimism allows you to see future versions of yourself that are better and which are believable to you. If you believe you’ve reached your limits, you have. I know that sounds like motivational-speaker fluff, but it’s true. Curiosity is what keeps people trying new things. People who are interested in the world tend to develop faster. I’ve met people who have zero interest in learning anything and it’s almost impossible for them to change. That’s why people who are into self-improvement tend to travel a lot. It’s the natural pursuit of the curious person, and you can’t help but grow when you see how people approach the same human problems in different ways.”
- David Cane, raptitude.com

“Being willing to face discomfort and fear. I’m not talking about physical discomfort, but about psychological discomfort. For example, you may have a thought of fear pop up that says you aren’t good enough. Your first reaction may be to believe it, to defend yourself against it. But what about just letting it be? Why have you decided that this thought is important? What if you explored where the thought came from? Close your eyes and investigate. Become curious about your feelings and thoughts. They are only as scary as you think them to be.”
- Henri Junttila, wakeupcloud.com

“There are sixteen personality types and each of us is gifted in self-improvement if we focus on the right area of self-improvement for our type. I’m always surprised that people do not learn their type early in their career. All Fortune 500 executives learn their type because personal development is so much faster once you know it, and Fortune 500 companies don’t want expensive employees wasting their time. But really everyone should know their type and then guide their own personal development according to where they are most likely to succeed. I’ve become a fanatic about this over the years because it’s been so incredibly useful in my own journey. I teach a lot of courses on personal development, but the one about how to leverage your own personality type to achieve success – that’s by far the most popular course. You can check it out here.”
- Penelope Trunk, penelopetrunk.com

“Compassion, understanding, empathy and social awareness. These all come together to allow someone to genuinely connect, help and understand the people around them. Environment is everything. We have to surround ourselves with the people who inspire possibility. And in turn inspire that possibility in others. That’s when things start to get interesting. Do whatever you can to feel what another person’s feeling and to see a window into their world – then do all you can to leverage your talents, strengths and passions to help them in a meaningful way. The rest will take care of itself.”
- Scott Dinsmore, liveyourlegend.net

“Determination! That’s it, If you’re determined to improve your life, you will. When you make that decision and you take action, even if it’s a small action every day, you will change. When you start to see results your mind is infused with other thoughts that will bring about a more rapid improvement of your life, you start to become more positive and gain the belief that ‘I can actually do this.’ When that happens something weird and amazing happens, you start to meet people that can help you improve, little things start to happen that seem like ‘coincidence’. Your unconscious mind sets to work on improving your life as you are asking the question ‘How can I improve this situation’ rather than asking the question ‘Why does this always happen to me’. Ask your unconscious mind the right questions and you will get better answers.”
- Steve Aitchison, stevenaitchison.co.uk

“Unshakeable belief. That leads to tenacity, persistence and a willingness to do the work.”
- Tim Brownson, adaringadventure.com

“Knowledge of your Enneagram type is useful in learning about your fundamental drivers and motivations – they vary a lot from person to person. But I would say that the ability to define your goals and then remain focussed upon them is a very important skill to acquire and I think it is true that some personality types have less trouble with this than others. At my personal development workshops, I sometimes ask people to write down their three or four most important goals. Some people get right down to it; other people are left thinking about what their goals are – in other words, they don’t have any. Real goals are at the forefront of your mind and if you can’t list your goals without too much thinking, you have not yet acquired this skill.”
- Will Edwards, whitedovebooks.co.uk

6. What personality traits do you feel hinder people from being able to improve themselves?

 

“I’m not sure if personality traits hinder people, but fear does. Fear of the past, fear of the unknown, fear of making mistakes and even the fear of being happy can keep us stuck in a place that is comfortable, and doesn’t provide the opportunity for change and growth.”
- Alex Blackwell, thebridgemaker.com

“I don’t know if I’d call them personality traits, but again I’d say it’s self-limiting beliefs. Linked to that, a personality trait that hinders someone would be someone who is not willing to be open and not willing to learn. If someone is closed minded, it will be a lot harder for them to become aware of a need or desire to improve themselves and they would be less willing to take information they learn and actually apply it in their life.”
- Brendan Baker, startofhappiness.com

“Lack of openness. When you’re narrow-minded and you believe your way is the best way to do everything, you block out new ideas which may be better than what you have. Arrogance is another one. If you look down on others, then you can’t learn. Everyone is a fountain of lessons and you have to first respect and acknowledge them as individuals before you can truly learn from them.”
- Celestine Chua, personalexcellence.co

“Conformity and self-righteousness, although I’d call them habits more than traits. When you’re unwilling to do anything most people don’t do, you’re unable to achieve anything most people don’t achieve, and I think lasting self-improvement isn’t something most people achieve. Self-righteousness short-circuits most chances to improve because learning anything is essentially changing your beliefs, and changing your beliefs requires you to accept that you may have been wrong about something this whole time.”
- David Cain, raptitude.com

“I don’t know if I’d call them traits, but one of the things I see is that people believe they have to work hard at improving themselves. It’s easy to forget that when you came into this world (as a baby), you were already happy, curious, and peaceful. So what’s changed? Why isn’t the happiness there anymore? It still is, but it’s clouded by thoughts, beliefs, and programming (for lack of a better word). It’s kind of like believing that the sun has disappeared when it’s a rainy day. The sun is always there. We just have to let the clouds pass. When you see that your thoughts are shaping what you feel and experience, things begin to change. You realize that you don’t have to take life so seriously, you don’t have to take your thoughts so seriously.”
- Henri Junttila, wakeupcloud.com

“People are scared of being wrong and scared of looking stupid. The only way to learn is to make mistakes. The bigger a learning curve you have the bigger your mistakes are going to be.”
- Penelope Trunk, penelopetrunk.com

“I wouldn’t say it’s a personality trait, I would say it’s the inability to believe that we can change. If you’ve been stuck your whole life with a belief that ‘this is my lot in life’, then it can be difficult to make changes in your life. Believing that we can change is one of the first beliefs that anybody can work on to bring about lasting change in life.”
- Steve Aitchison, stevenaitchison.co.uk

“About the only thing is a lack of belief. Without belief everything else becomes close to impossible which is why I go to great lengths with clients to not just get their emotional buy in, but their logical one too, so I’ll explain at a scientific level why change is possible.”
- Tim Brownson, adaringadventure.com

“Well, personality is very much an individual thing but, in essence I think you can consider your personality to be, broadly, a good thing, though it’s true that there are strengths and weaknesses of every personality type. Of the various personality typing systems that I know, I am quite fond of the Enneagram and I think it is a good place to begin to acquire the necessary self-knowledge. After all, you can’t change anything if you are blind to your own weaknesses.”
- Will Edwards, whitedovebooks.co.uk

7. In your experience, what aspect is the hardest for people to change or improve on?

 

“I think the hardest thing to do is to take that first step outside of our comfort zones. While our comfort zones may feel safe, they limit our growth and keep us from finding true happiness; but when we find the courage to take that first step out of our comfort zones and into growth, a whole new world full of exciting possibilities opens up to us.”
- Alex Blackwell, thebridgemaker.com

“Mindset. Changing your beliefs is one of the hardest things you can do. When you have a belief that has been programmed within you for your whole life it can be extremely hard to see an alternative perspective. Yet, it can be done. It’s simply a matter of continually developing new beliefs, disproving your old beliefs and ensuring you are surrounding yourself with the right people and creating the right environment.”
- Brendan Baker, startofhappiness.com

“They care too much about what others think. I recently coached a client and helped her to break through the need to care about others’ opinions. Most of the time, our need to listen or care about what others think/say boils down to us looking for affirmation from them. But if we realize that there’s no need for external validation, we are complete as ourselves and it’s about finding our power from within, this need for validation will disappear. ”
- Celestine Chua, personalexcellence.co

“Expectations. We grow up with fairly certain expectations of where we’re headed, and we are constantly reinforcing it to ourselves. If you’ve always expected to be poor, every decision you make reflects that expectation and so that’s where you’re headed — you’re always correcting the course so that you end up there. It really takes some active imagining to be able to see that vastly different versions of yourself are possible. That kind of visualizing is pretty unpopular outside new-agey circles, but it’s a really powerful thing to experiment with. It is possible to get a quite immediate sense of what it would be like to be wealthy, for example, even if you’ve never been wealthy. And once you’ve caught a glimpse of it, it can be believable to you, and then you feel a freedom to make choices that seem out-of-character at first, but which reinforce a different outcome than you were initially expecting.”
- David Cain, raptitude.com

“Noticing your thoughts and how they affect you. It’s like talking to a fish about water. It doesn’t understand, because water is all around it. The same is true for thoughts. You think you are your thoughts, but that in and of itself is a thought. When you look closer, you see that there’s an awareness of thought, which means that you cannot be thought, because thought arises in you. Here’s a way to look at it: there’s a dance floor and there’s a dance. You are the dance floor. Your thoughts are the dance. Truly seeing this is incredibly liberating, because no problem (thought) is bigger than you. You can only overwhelm and scare yourself by the thoughts you choose to believe in. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never feel fear, because you will. The difference will be in how long the fear sticks around and how much “power” it has.”
- Henri Junttila, wakeupcloud.com

“People expect things of themselves that are not appropriate to who they are. For example, if you are highly creative then you should not go to graduate school — those are analytic, well defined paths inappropriate to someone who is an out-of-the-box thinker. But it’s so appealing to have a well-defined path to follow that lots of people who should not be going to graduate school go. By the same token, lots of people who are analytic, system-oriented thinkers want to start a company, but startup ideas do not generally emanate from that type of thinker. Some people are great at thinking of ideas and some are great at executing them. You need to know where you fall — either spot is fine, but no one is equally strong in both. It’s not how the human brain works. It all comes down to personality type, really. If you know your personality type and you create a path for yourself based on knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses, you are likely to avoid common pitfalls of personal development.”
- Penelope Trunk, penelopetrunk.com

“Again I would say beliefs. Most of us think that a belief is there for life and we don’t even stop to look at the beliefs we have about ourselves, the world and other people around us.”
- Steve Aitchison, stevenaitchison.co.uk

“That’s quite individual, but if I had to name one thing I would probably say procrastination. Chronic procrastinators are tricky clients at the best of times. Having said that it really depends on what’s causing the procrastination. Is it overwhelm, is it a lack of knowledge, is it a lack of vision? etc. All require a different approach.”
- Tim Brownson, adaringadventure.com

“Changing any aspect of your personality is difficult because your personality is essentially a collection of behavioural habits. We develop these habits to assist us in all kinds of situations. We don’t have to think about how to act, we simply react, and those reactions are the product of past actions that have been habitualised. It’s true that they save us a lot of thinking time but sometimes, it is a lot wiser to carefully consider all of your options before acting. It is also useful to recognise that certain behavioural habits – a product of our personality – are useful when dealing with certain groups of people. But those same habits can also be extremely unhelpful when dealing with other groups. So acquiring the ability to be adaptable in situations is very useful, but I would say it is also a difficult skill to acquire.”
- Will Edwards, whitedovebooks.co.uk

 

What do you feel hinders and assists people in being able to change for the better?

Please leave your thoughts in a comment. Let’s discuss!

Next week we’ll be sharing Part Three of our interview series. You won’t want to miss it, so sign up below to be notified when that’s published and ready for you to read and learn from.

Recommended Reading and Radical Resources:

Here are some great books and resources straight from the awesome people above. Be sure to check them out.

10 Top Personal Development Bloggers Share Their Advice –
Part One

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Read Part Two Here | Read Part Three Here

We reached out to the top personal development bloggers of our time to ask them the tough questions. I am so grateful for the insightful thorough answers they were willing to share in order to help more people gain personal success.

First we get to know each blogger, and then we get down into the nitty-gritty. We got so much great content to share that this is going to be a three part series. A few bloggers only had time to answer a few questions, so if they don’t show up here in Part One, they will definitely be in Part Two or Three.

There are some variances in the responses below, but the overall concept among each answer is so intertwined from person to person, it’s almost as if they all met up and tried to come to some sort of agreement on what the best answer to each question was. This makes me come to believe that there is almost a universal truth about self-improvement and how to get there.

Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and each person has their own strategies for overcoming life’s obstacles, but overall, the answers below will teach you the core principles to living your best life. It is amazing how much you will learn from reading this.

Enjoy!

1. How/when did you become interested in personal development?

 

“I first became interested in personal development 10 years ago when it was clear I had to begin making changes in the choices I was making if my marriage was going to last. My journey started when I attended a personal transformation seminar that gave me the tools, and awareness, that the life I wanted was waiting for me – all I had to do was make the choice to go get it.”
- Alex Blackwell, thebridgemaker.com

“When I was 7 years old, I nearly died. I hit my head on a moving train and fell in the gap between the platform of a station and the train itself. I made a promise to myself to give 110% in life and live a life that mattered. My father also gave me a personal development book at a young age and this sparked the passion for life-long learning and development. I just love learning about psychology, human behaviour and human potential. It’s just fascinating and it can also be challenging when trying to implement it into your own life.”
- Brendan Baker, startofhappiness.com

“I’ve always been passionate about growth all my life, but I only really became passionate about helping others to grow in my last year of college, when I was 20. I’ve written about this in detail here. Basically I found that helping others to grow is really the highest thing I can ever do, and I’ve made it my life mission to be my highest self and to help others achieve their highest potential ever since. Then in Oct 2008, during the start of the financial crisis, I quit my job to start my personal development blog, Personal Excellence, because I figured online was (and still is) the best way to reach an international crowd in the most cost-effective way. The rest is history.”
- Celestine Chua, personalexcellence.co

“In college I inexplicably lost all my confidence and became really unhappy with my life. It was quite sudden and I couldn’t explain why it happened to me. So I started reading everything I could find on the topic of happiness and what influences it. That led naturally to a lot of self-improvement ideas and I started experimenting with different approaches. Some worked and most didn’t, but after a few years I had made quite a difference in my quality of life and I started giving people off-the-cuff advice on the topic on online forums. They told me I had really helped them and so I eventually started writing articles about it.”
- David Cane, raptitude.com

“I’d say at the age of 16. For a long time, I used personal development as a crutch to feel better about myself. I searched for that one secret that would help me feel good forever. I still fall into searching mode from time to time, but I also know that there is no thing out there that can make me happy. The only person that can make me happy is me. Happiness, and peace of mind, is a habit of thought. When you change what thoughts you pay attention to, or just let all of them pass, your state of being changes.”
- Henri Junttila, wakeupcloud.com

“I started writing about my own work life, and I realized that the only way to keep myself interested in what I am writing is to write about what I don’t know — what I’m learning — instead of what I do know. So in order to keep writing about what I’m learning I had to keep learning. That process made me an accidental maven of personal development.”
- Penelope Trunk, penelopetrunk.com

“I woke up in the hospital after being unconscious, and decided that my life needed to change somehow. I was unhappy with the jacket of life, as it didn’t seem to fit me very well, but realised that the jacket of life can be altered to fit me if I made changes from the inside. I started reading a lot more ‘self help’ books. As I was browsing in a second hand book shop I reached on the top shelf to grab a book, and as I did another book fell, hit me on the head and then dropped to the ground. I picked the book up ready to replace it on the shelf and noticed the title ‘Think, and Grow Rich’. I decided to buy it and replaced the other book I was originally reaching for. That book got me deeply interested in the ‘inner self’ and I have to say, it changed my life forever.”
- Steve Aitchison, stevenaitchison.co.uk

“In January 1991, my life was going downhill fast. I’d fallen into a pattern of self-destructive, out-of-control behavior. I didn’t know how at the time, but I decided I had to make some serious changes. I really didn’t want to spend my adult years wearing orange pajamas. I began listening to personal development audio programs, and I liked the positive messages they shared. Sometimes I listened to them for 2-3 hours per day. This had a major effect on my attitude, thoughts, and beliefs. I gradually began setting goals, working on my self-discipline, and overcoming bad habits.”
- Steve Pavlina, stevepavlina.com

“Sometime in the summer of 2003. I had just had neck surgery and a client had recommended I read Awaken The Giant Within whilst I was off. Even though I had done some NLP training previously, it was entirely based in sales and not for personal development. This opened up a whole different set of options and when I went back to work I started to avidly listen to self development books on audio when I was in my car rather than the news all day.”
- Tim Brownson, adaringadventure.com

“It was when I was Technical Manager of Apricot Computers, so that would be about 30 years ago, back in the eighties. A work colleague loaned me a set of personal development tapes and I listened to them endlessly. When I first heard messages like “it is not your ability, but your desire that will dictate how successful you will be” I was hooked. I realised that I could benefit enormously, simply by learning how to present myself well and also by learning how to deal with other people better.”
- Will Edwards, whitedovebooks.co.uk

 

2. Do you think people can change?

 

“I do, but change only happens when we acknowledge what needs to be changed or healed.”
- Alex Blackwell, thebridgemaker.com

“Definitely! Big and small. You’ve changed your simple habits from time to time I’m sure. Bigger life changes are the same thing, but they take a lot more discipline, focus and commitment. It is our beliefs that shape who we are and what we do. When you can change your beliefs, you can change your life. To make the change, it comes down to firstly being aware of the need to change and then working hard on your beliefs and working hard towards your desired change. It’s rarely something that happens overnight, but it happens with time and commitment.”
- Brendan Baker, startofhappiness.com

“Sure they can! In fact, I’ve a full 30-day character transformation program that is all about helping people to achieve their highest selves and be the best they can be. I firmly believe that all of us have the ability to change to whatever we want (that includes removing bad traits like procrastination, lack of discipline, negativity, and so on). It’s not about “whether it’s possible to change”, but *WHAT* we want to change to. Discovering our ideal selves, identifying our ideal traits, and moving towards there, day by day, is the key!”
- Celestine Chua, personalexcellence.co

“Absolutely, of course they can. I will say though that it doesn’t happen to people who don’t take an active interest in it. Lasting change always amounts to trying a different way of doing things and noticing it works better. This constant experimentation is what allows change to happen.”
- David Cain, raptitude.com

“Of course. The only constant in the Universe is change. You can change if you want to change, but in order to change, your thoughts have to change first. You have to realize that the game isn’t played out there, but inside of you. You are the one holding yourself back from what you want. And I don’t mean this in a way where you have to work harder on yourself. In my experience, it’s when you relax about trying to do so much and become so much that things start flowing, and you start floating along on the river of life. You see, all the doing and trying to become something often comes from a place of fear, from a place of not fitting in and not being liked. Look there first and notice how it’s controlling your life. When you can let it go, or let it be, you’ll notice that you can enjoy life right here, right now.”
- Henri Junttila, wakeupcloud.com

“People can absolutely change, but you’ve got to make a decision to change, and you’ve got to make the decision to change the way you have been thinking. You can’t change if you think the same thoughts you’ve always thought, as you’ll always get the same results. The trick is to recognise what thoughts, actions and beliefs are holding you back in life. Once you figure this out, it’s time to set about changing them. Your life can totally change by changing just one thought you have on a daily basis.”
- Steve Aitchison, stevenaitchison.co.uk

“I don’t think they can I know they can. The field of neuroplasticity has shattered the myth that people cannot change forever. Some people prefer not to believe it though, because that means they then have no excuses. It’s much easier to blame your parents, the government, or even your DNA and stay as you are than it is to consciously change.”
- Tim Brownson, adaringadventure.com

“Despite the old adage that “a leopard can’t change its spots” there is no doubt in my mind that people can change. But, it is often not an easy business and, of course, they must first have the necessary desire. Everything begins with desire. I believe that, provided you have the will to change, you can accomplish pretty much anything.”
- Will Edwards, whitedovebooks.co.uk

 

3. What does success mean to you?

 

“Being the best father and husband I can be.”
- Alex Blackwell, thebridgemaker.com

“Success to me is making a difference and an income from doing what I love. My highest value is to make a difference and leave a legacy, so if I was to do this, then that would be success. For this to happen, I need to earn an income from doing what I do to enable me to sustain what I do. I also need to be doing what I love so I can sustain my motivation and energy commitment.”
- Brendan Baker, startofhappiness.com

“Success means being the highest version of yourself and achieving my highest potential in life! I’ve much to grow and learn in terms of success, but daily progress is the key. Never relenting to obstacles, always pushing yourself, and always being the best you can be every single day.”
- Celestine Chua, personalexcellence.co

“Reaching a point where ordinary moments are enjoyable, most of the time.”
- David Cain, raptitude.com

“When I look at success, and follow the trail to the end, I see happiness. In other words, when I want success, what I really want is happiness and peace of mind. And because happiness and peace of mind are experienced through habits of thought, they can be experienced now. Not by controlling your thoughts, but by realizing that there’s always an inkling of happiness there. When you think about your first kiss, you’re instantly transported into the past (into a thought), and you experience a feeling. We all want feelings, and feelings are preceded by thoughts. This doesn’t mean you have to control your thoughts. It means you can let the fearful thoughts go, because we all have a habit of dwelling on the bad and letting the good slip by.”
- Henri Junttila, wakeupcloud.com

“Success means doing what I love without feeling a sense of ‘I know there’s something more I should be doing’. If you’ve got an amazing family life, social life, and you’re healthy, but you’re maybe doing a job that doesn’t satisfy your soul, then you won’t feel successful. Success is about fulfilling all the different areas of your life and being happy within each aspect and having a balanced life in all areas. I have a totally amazing life, but always know my purpose is to show others how to change and I wasn’t happy and satisfied until I reached that goal and started working for myself and doing something that I truly love.”
- Steve Aitchison, stevenaitchison.co.uk

“Being happy.”
- Tim Brownson, adaringadventure.com

“Success is a very personal thing: it is what you define it to be. That’s why you need to set goals that are effectively steps along the way to your vision. Achieving your vision, whatever it is – that is success. For me, my fundamental purpose is to encourage other people to understand that they are more talented, more powerful and more resourceful than they think, and that they can achieve far more with their lives than they think is possible. If I have been instrumental in changing the thinking of just one person during my life, then that is success for me.”
- Will Edwards, whitedovebooks.co.uk

 

4. What’s your #1 secret for success?

 

“I don’t think I will ever accomplish everything that’s in my heart; but if I set out each day to accomplish one thing, and then do it, then I can build on that success for how I approach the next day, and then the next day, and so on.”
- Alex Blackwell, thebridgemaker.com

“I can’t say… it’s a secret :) In all seriousness, I have a 10 step process that guarantees success. It is:
1) Learn something new
2) Implement a learning into my life
3) Learn something new
4) Implement a learning into my life
5) Learn something new
6) Implement a learning into my life
7) Learn something new
8) Implement a learning into my life
9) Learn something new
10) Implement a learning into my life”
- Brendan Baker, startofhappiness.com

“No secret, just sheer hard work! Always doing my best and pushing myself for the higher ground. Also, always aiming for the best and never settling for less.”
- Celestine Chua, personalexcellence.co

“Experiment. Try doing something differently than usual, even something small. I do this all the time, and you can’t help but regularly find better ways to do all kinds of things — how you talk to people, how you schedule your day, what your normal posture is like, how you do your job. You will realize there is tremendous untapped ease and joy just behind little changes all over the place.”
- David Cain, raptitude.com

“Being willing to keep moving forward and to keep listening to my heart, and to my inspiration. It’s not easy to go after what you love, but I can’t not do what I’m doing. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel many times, but I refuse to give up. I can only do my best, and I can only follow my heart. The rest is up to life. If life decides that I’m going to be penniless and homeless, then so be it. In the meantime, I’ll follow my bliss.”
- Henri Junttila, wakeupcloud.com

“Take the risk! That’s my secret. We’ve all got to take a leap of faith sometimes to cross the bridge to happiness, but most of the time we’re too scared to take that leap. What usually happens is we take the leap of faith and there’s always a net to catch us no matter what the outcome is. We’ve got about 70-90 years on this earth, why not ‘Go For It’ and take the leap of faith, at least we’ll all die knowing that we tried to make our lives as exciting and as happy as we could.”
- Steve Aitchison, stevenaitchison.co.uk

“Understand what your core values are and then work like hell to get in alignment with them.”
- Tim Brownson, adaringadventure.com

“The secret is to understand that there is no secret; it is all just hard work. That’s why people fail, when they do. It is not because there is some secret that they don’t know; it is because they are unwilling to put forth the necessary effort. If you dig deeper, it is because they are uninspired, living lives they don’t care about. That’s why it is so important to wake people up, out of that kind of slumber. When they start to understand and accept that their lives can change, that they can have the things they want in life, then they become much more willing and enthusiastic about putting in the effort. To be successful, you need to develop your own vision for the future, quantify the goals that will get you there and then work tirelessly on achieving each of them. If you do this, there is no question about it: You will become successful.”
- Will Edwards, whitedovebooks.co.uk

 

Personally I was amazed at how much I learned from these gurus. What do you think? Got any insights you’d like to share? Please feel free to add to the discussion by leaving a comment.

Come back next week when we move on to more juicy wisdoms from the best. Sign up below to be notified when we publish Part Two. You won’t want to miss it!

Recommended Reading and Radical Resources:

Here are some great books and resources straight from the awesome people above. Be sure to check them out.