YOUR PERSONAL GROWTH ENDEAVOURS MIGHT BE TAKING YOU NOWHERE

By Ndukwu Chibundom Kaosisochukwu - September 09, 2022

 



 “This generation doesn’t have a knowledge problem. We have a consumption problem. We are addicted to learning for the sake of knowing. Book after book. Podcast after podcast. Conference after conference. Sermon after sermon. But still, for many of us, life remains the same…” – Dale Partridge (author of Saved From Success)

Here is an unlikely picture of a doomed person. Let’s call him Zain.

Zain has been introduced to the concept of reading personal growth books to change his life. He has perhaps picked his first book and felt that boost of dopamine that comes with knowing something that he believes at least 90 percent of the world does not know. He feels incredible, good about himself, and hopeful for the future.

Zain begins to make vague plans in his head, plans to defeat procrastination, quit his social media addiction, stop eating junk food, wake up earlier, etc. He begins to fantasize about the transformation of his life and how he would most definitely be a successful person in the future.

Perhaps Zain does apply some of the things he has learned from the books for the period in which he still feels motivated. In the first 2 to 3 days, he wakes up by 4 a.m., exercises, journals, prays for an hour, reads the scripture, places his hands on his head, and screams that he has ‘A millionaire mind!' for thirty minutes in front of a mirror.

And then the motivation fades away, slowly at first, but surely. He relapses into old habits and starts feeling like a terrible person; like he is losing sight of himself, his visions, and his goals for the future.

So he buys another productivity or spiritual book, abandoning all the principles and morals has learnt from the first. And for the period that he reads that book, he feels productive. He is getting in line with his goals once again and is getting ahead of his peers. He is being his ideal self.

Everything feels good after that. Soon after, he feels like buying another book and then another and another until this becomes an addiction. He reads productivity books during almost all waking hours. Then he moves to other platforms that give him the same good feeling. Ted talks, sermons, conferences, seminars, and all different avenues provide the same dose of dopamine.

Soon after, his binge reading takes the place of implementing any actions in his life. The brain begins to interpret the hours spent gulping book after book after book as productive ones. With each book he reads, he gets this illusion that he is headed to his bright future, to the success that he wishes to attain.

 


PSEUDOPRODUCTIVITY

Work that looks as though it is valuable but is truly just an elaborate means of wasting time (dextronet.com)

 

Each time Zain opens the first page of a new book; listens to a new sermon, or watches another Ted Talk, his brain fills him up with dopamine. He gets a peculiar sort of high. For him, living in the pages of motivational books or the euphoria of Ted Talks, or other such activities has become his new normal.

These sorts of activities provide him with a tremendous reward. He ends up having little motivation to get off the high, put down the book and apply what he has learned. He probably will never do so. But it does not matter to him, because he already feels diligent and has a sense of fulfilment.

It does not matter that 99 percent of the things he learns in the books are forgotten once he drops them for the next fix. After all, billionaires and powerful men of God read tons of books, right?

Zain does not realise it, but this habit of his leaves him stuck in his current predicament, without any tangible results or change, in an unending cycle that will leave him empty and depressed.

Because at a point in his life, he will have to realise that despite everything, he has achieved nothing yet. He is bound to realise that he has made no real progress in his life. All he has done is indulge in activities that have convinced him that he has been making progress.



 

ADDICTION

A compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behaviour, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects… (Merriam Webster’s Dictionary)

 

You can get addicted to the good feelings that come with reading personal growth books, much to your detriment. It seems an unlikely correlation, does it not? I am sure many people do not expect to see the words, ‘addiction’ and ‘personal growth books’, being used in the same sentence. But hear me out. Just hear me out.

There is a proliferation of personal growth and spiritual books in the market. This means that no matter what area of your life you are trying to address, there are at least a hundred books addressing that issue, and even more.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with reading these books. Well, some of them. But that is a topic for another day.

But I dare to say that your extensive consumption of books, even spiritual books, sermons, teachings, messages, etc, without giving yourself the time to act by the teachings of those books would lead to outcomes you may not expect, negative outcomes.

And I have the backing of the scripture on this one.

James 1:22:

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Reading further, the scripture has painted a beautifully tragic picture of the sort of person who continues to listen to the word (or read books) without ever applying the teachings therein.

James 1:23-24:

“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”

 

The underlying problem here does not stem from reading books. It stems from when these books become just another book to be read, like a novel, to be quickly abandoned and forgotten after reading. The problem lies in the twenty church books we have shoved in our drawers but never gone back to gain new applicable insights from, in the highlighted productivity books that are never used to make our lives better.

The problem lies in when we become so addicted to gaining knowledge about how to be our best selves; that we forget to apply the knowledge we have gained.

And what do we have as a result? Personal growth book lovers still stuck in the same spot because they have not mastered the discipline to apply what they have learned. Pastors not abiding by what they preach. Christians who substitute the reading of spiritual books for spiritual growth.

Do not get me wrong. You are even more doomed if you do not take out the time to read the scripture or spiritual books or personal growth books. At least those who do so know the principles for success. At least, there is some chance that they might realise they need to apply the knowledge they possess. They are on a higher level than the individual that refuses to read anything and refuses to expand his mind.



I once saw a question that asked, “Do you really need to read an entire book to know the right steps to take to be successful?”

Yes, yes of course you do. If you have a particular challenge in your life, wisdom on how to overcome it will not fall from the sky. You need a book, a sermon, or a mentor.

The real question that we should ask here is, “Do you really have to read ten to twenty books dealing with the same topic? Do you need to be told to pray or wake up early or destroy procrastination ten different times in ten different books from ten different authors?”

I mean, if you have gone past book two and have not received enough insight to deal with your challenge, then there has to be something fundamentally wrong with the way you consume these books. You have a consumption problem.

Reading these books this way is a peculiar and dangerous form of procrastination.

You must make a conscious effort not to allow yourself to consume more information than you take action on. Do not let yourself fall into the trap of pseudo productivity or pseudo-spirituality.

Here is the basic truth. Reading spiritual and self-help books in and of themselves would do nothing for you. If you want to change your life, you have to take action. Otherwise, you are no better than the person who has not picked up a book in his entire life.

A person who has read just a single book but has let his subconscious take in all the lessons from that book, and has vigorously implemented it into his life, is better than the binge reader that does nothing with the information that he or she has learned.

A serious question needs to be asked here…

Do you think great men of God just read spiritual books?

Do you think successful and influential people got to that point in their lives by just reading books?

Well, the answer is simple and obvious.

No.

Why?

Because reading books is not enough. What you choose to do with the aftermath of your reading endeavours is crucial to your success and spiritual growth.



 

WHAT TO DO?

1, Read with intention. Do not just grab a book because the title seems nice. You do that for novels, not for books that you presume you are investing money and time in to grow and develop as an individual. Identify a problem you need to solve in your life and begin hunting for books that could help you with that problem.

If you read a book whose teachings you cannot apply, it is wasted knowledge.

Most books have synopsis and summaries online. Even if you think that the book will help you, ensure that you read the summaries online to get a clear picture of what the book is all about and to be certain that the book is the one to help you.

One thing that I have begun to teach myself to do is to read books about specific principles that I would wish to emulate. Hence, I try to avoid vague and clickbait books and go into the more specific ones. If I want to learn how to be consistent, I read a book about consistency and highlight key points to implement. The same goes for any other principle I wish to learn, whether it be how to build good habits, how to forgive, the importance of spiritual mentors, or how to let the Holy Spirit guide my every step.


2. As you read, take notes, and highlight, so that you can have references to return to when you need to refresh your memory.


3. Apply the principles you have learned in your life. Never move to another book without having a clear-cut plan on how to actualise the lessons learned and begin to apply them in your life.

In the end, no matter how many books you read, they are useless if you do not choose to take responsibility and implement changes in your life. You grow by making a conscious effort to grow, not by reading books on how to grow.

 

 

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13 comments

  1. This is actually a very interesting read.
    Quite informative and relevant.
    Well done.

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  2. I think that discipline may be the key factor lacking in pseudoproductivity. Great write up!

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  3. Quite an interesting write up. Taking action consistently is key to achieving the desired personal growth traits. This requires stepping out of ones comfort zone and holding oneself accountable with penalties for default and commendation for attaining milestones. Keep the good works @ Kaosi

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    Replies
    1. Yes. Most of the time, just studying personal growth books and not applying the knowledge therein becomes a new comfort zone that one would need to break out from.

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  4. What a great read...always consistent πŸ‘πŸŒΉ

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  5. I definitely learnt something

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  6. Nice one✨
    It's the 'doing' that matters.
    You remember what "...faith without work" is?!
    More wisdom πŸ€—

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you. This is the point of this article. Without the doing, the knowledge becomes completely useless.

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  8. Thanks for Sharing ,I discovered it with me and it made me to be more intentional with any book I read

    ReplyDelete