What is your intention when you read a personal development book?
Since January 2013 I have been committed to personal growth by reading every single day. I may have missed the odd day in that time, but much like cleaning your teeth twice a day, reading became one of my daily habits that felt a little naughty if I missed it. I didn’t have a clear intention for most of that time though.
Why do so many of us commit to reading self development, business, relationship, health or money books? Attending seminars, hiring a coach, asking google 30 times a day? Why do we buy products, trainings and catch every webinar on our selected industry or favourite topic?
Why do we feel so sure that we need to feed our minds with more and more knowledge?
For me personally, when I began my self-work, deep down I felt I needed to read. I hadn’t picked up a book out of will since I read Twilight in my early twenties, and I’d hardly call that a motivational or educational read. But now, I find it very hard to believe that most people don’t pick up a book after they leave education to continue their self education. The incredible Jim Rohn said it all too well,
A fortune not only in money, but in creating self love, freedom and fulfilment in your life.
Addiction Or Intention?
When you continue to develop yourself you add value to who you are and begin to create opportunity after opportunity for yourself. Doing what you love makes you grow in confidence, you create demand for yourself and let’s face it, everybody wants to feel needed in some way. So I guess learning becomes addictive.
The pathways in the brain that govern learning are the same as those with addictions. Dopamine is the chemical present that enables us to retain information and interestingly is also the chemical that is released in the brain when we are rewarded, when a person gambles and wins (or loses), takes certain addictive drugs like cocaine, or just engages in a new exciting adventure. Learning about new things is an adventure for most adults and very rewarding and dopamine levels increase in the brain to help us retain that new information.
Anybody worth their salt, with a desire to be successful in business, in life, and who lives with a meaningful purpose will be committed to growth and self improvement. Those that think they don’t need to read, learn or improve themselves in any way are letting their egos & pride get in the way.
You know what you know, you know what you don’t know & you don’t know what you don’t know!
Isn’t that fact staggering?! You don’t know what you don’t know! For the overtly curious and adventurous among us, that creates so much new information to explore and gobble up. But how much can we actually take in? How much is addictive? How much is necessary?
I guess the deeper question is… “Can we become addicted to learning and self-development?”
And is that a healthy obsession through a self evolutionary need to grow and contribute? Or is it because deep down you don’t feel good enough, you could know more before you start, it will give you more credibility & recognition? It is important we look within for the true answer to these questions.
I believe everybody should feed their minds with information they are passionate about, what they may want to teach someday, to work on a specific area of their life they know is weak. But overly consuming so many books, products, attending seminars can actually be counter-productive, especially if it is coming from a NEED TO IMPROVE instead of INTENTION TO LEARN.
Personal Development & Worth
When we need to learn, that need is signified by low self worth, not feeling good enough, or feeling that more is better. You are in a state of lack, not respecting yourself enough to accept everything you already are first before seeking to improve. I realised this earlier in the year during my India trip, I didn’t feel good enough if I wasn’t reading something new.
What if you don’t need to add anything?
Why do you need to be better?
Why do you need to learn more?
Are you out of balance? Perhaps you have lost sight of your priorities and fallen back into your head, instead of creating clarity and making decisions from the heart? We set intentions from the heart and trust in all that will follow. When we intend to learn, that reflects an acceptance of all that we are first.
So next time you pick up a book, have an intention for what you will get out of it. If you don’t have an intention, perhaps it’s time to allow your mind to absorb all those seeds you have planted already.
I recommend you allow those seeds to be rooted in the soil of your mind. The next time you water those seeds with fresh new information, the previous plantation won’t be washed away and you will develop and flourish a beautiful garden of wisdom.
Peace & love