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The One Deadly Self Improvement Mistake We Must All Avoid

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Like all self help junkies, I was self obsessed about goals. Goals like becoming a millionaire before 30. I started my personal development journey when I was 23. At first I was super optimistic and I couldn’t wait to change the world! But over the years, things started to change.

Since graduating college, I had a bitter taste of what “the real world” is like. I hate to say it but, no amount of books can get you ready for real life challenges. Yes, you may find a guide that will help you navigate the path, but to endure the path, you’re on your own on that one. Despite getting all the “expert” information in our heads and taking action, the lack of persistence in millennials like me, can be credited to one big mistake.

Thinking That Reading the Top 1% Material Makes You the Top 1%

Just because you read personal development books, watch videos on starting a business and listen to life-hacking podcasts, you are no more special than the next person. It is very easy to get caught up with this idea, that just because you’re in a special group of people who spend time on education instead of entertainment (the Top 1%) – that somehow you are magically part of the Top 1%.

For example, I would look at stats that show 20 somethings growing tech companies and becoming billionaires.I started to think I’m in that special group of people that make it. I would look at stats of 99% of businesses fail in the first 5 years and jump to conclusions that those 99% of people weren’t knowledgeable enough and that I, with all my business reading and education will be in the Top 1% that will make it.

I’d look at divorce rates and assume that the 50% who fail at their marriages didn’t think it through. They never picked up a book on relationship dynamics or watched a video on how to make a marriage last. In short, they’re dumb and I’m smart. Or put it another way, I was an ignorant and arrogant person who seemed to know it all.

“Every beautiful mind has great dreams, but rarely is anyone ever ready to work hard for their dreams.” – Terry Mark

Here’s the thing, reading all the books, enrolling in all the courses and attending the seminars doesn’t make you a pro. You may become a Top 1% expert, but you’re not a Top 1% expert practitioner. Don’t fall for the Top 1% trap as some gurus even explicitly say that you’re in the Top 1% for watching their videos or joining their courses. They say things like most adults don’t ever read a book after finishing college and “insert other flattering elite statistic here.”

It’s very easy to scoff at people who fail, especially when you think you have all the answers, but when you’re put in a similar situation and things fail unexpectedly, then you realize you shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

It happens to the best of us, even the smartest and most experienced people fail. You’re not the chosen one who has a special shield handed down by the gurus, and immune to all these human flaws. You will fail, and everyone does. The trick is not to think that you somehow get special treatment from the universe simply because you picked up a book somewhere.

The Number One Dream Killer

Social media mogul, Gary Vaynerchuk was once asked in one of his vlogs – what’s the difference between those who make it (people like The Rock) and those who don’t. Knowing him by now, most of his followers would expect something like “hard frickin work” or “hustle 24/7” or “grind.”

His answer was “Zero entitlement.” Whether you admit or not, quite a number of gurus out there instill a certain sense of entitlement in you, thinking you’re special because you have insider information, their information.

The dangers of this entitlement mentality is that you will give up much sooner rather than later. You will think “I’m supposed to at least be mildly successful at the first try, knowing how much I know.” Your expectations are set so high that you get demotivated, discouraged and down each time you flop. Eventually, you give up altogether.

“Entitlement is a delusion built on self-centeredness and laziness.”

A Bulletproof Way To View The World

Not long ago, I came across a tweet that silenced the entitled brat in me. It went: “One thing I have learned, running a company, working in VC, and raising/supporting a family: difficult and complicated is the default situation. Hoping for anything else is delusional. Must instead expect hard things and always be willing to face them head on.”

It was written by venture capitalist Nick Grossman and it couldn’t be further from the truth. It is only foolish for us to think that success is going to be easy or at least easier. However, it’s not, and the sooner we realize it, the better off we are at actually achieving it.

How do you make sure you’re self-aware? Let us know in the comments below!

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    Natalie Keyser

    Aug 4, 2018 at 7:32 am

    I believe I am one of the lucky people who learned early in life that I would have to work hard to achieve my goals. I had my first job at 13 to save up for a car; I had the pleasure of working and going to college full time because one could not be achieving without the other. I like this article because of how many people I have met who believe, everything will just be handed to them and they need to be reminded that is not how the world works. Thank you for sharing the tweet from Nick Grossman.

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