5 Personal Development Mistakes

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Improving your life sometimes depends on spotting your personal development mistakes.

Everyone seems gung ho at the beginning of their self help journey.

Most slam into resistance quite quickly.

Facing obstacles triggering your fears is an important step on the way to learning more about your mind.

But you will never learn about yourself if you fall prey to these five common personal development mistakes.

Own these errors.

Make the appropriate corrections to foster greater growth in your life.

1: Perfectionism

The couple I am currently house sitting for in Prague is German and German Namibian.

Discussing Germany with the husband revealed something interesting: as a native he explained that Germany collectively holds itself back with a sense of perfectionism.

Everyone knows about the fabled German precision. But this German professed how initiatives often never get solved because higher ups go back and forth for days, weeks, months and even years attempting to find the perfect solution. 

He noted how Germans still use only handwritten prescriptions while in Prague he gets his filled with a QR code on the phone. Digitization is still not a country-wide thing there, either.

Resisting technology in a fast moving world creates many problems.

Perfectionism handcuffs many on the self growth journey. Trying to do everything perfectly triggers self-doubt, heavy self-judgment, delaying, hemming and hawing.

Meanwhile, people who dive in and learn on the fly reach their dreams by being very imperfect but highly practical.

I hiked around Prague for 3 hours today. For much of the hike, my GPS erred and I lost my way for a few moments. 

But I “failed” myself to my location by practically correcting myself again and again.

Get after it. Fail. Correct. You’ll get there.

2: Isolating Yourself

Reading “Autobiography of a Yogi” revealed one common personal development error.

A devotee asked a guru if he could travel to the Himalayas to become enlightened in lonely isolation.

The ascended master said that men, not mountains, teach enlightenment.

“A Course in Miracles” was dictated to an individual living in NYC, perhaps the most hectic urban area on earth at the time.

The Voice who dictated the course clearly tapped into the symbolism; your greatest growth occurs not in a cave but out in the world.

Interacting with human beings is one of the quickest ways to reflect your belief system back to you. Isolating yourself from human beings is one of the most effective ways to bury fears deeper in awareness. 

How do you grow? Facing your fears fosters rapid growth.

Humans trigger fears like few other factors. The world reflects your mind back to you with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel.

Spending time in isolation serves you to be in quiet but up to a point.

Stop being a recluse.

Get out in the world.

Get triggered to face your stuff.

3: Attempting Quantum Leaps Versus Taking Baby Steps

I vividly recall meditating for 2-3 hours a day during my trip to India.

My intent: meditating with a *0-60* mindset could precede massive, rapid growth for me since I had only been meditating for 20-30 minutes prior.

I wound up suffering horribly from a dis-ease for roughly 2 months.


Trying to go too far, too fast via an intended quantum leap made me fall flat on my face.

Take baby steps. Go slowly.

For example, if you have been an employee for your professional life do not quit your job with $500 in the bank to start a blogging business online.

Becoming successful requires substantial practice and significant time.

Blogging From Paradise – my blog – graced sites like Forbes and Entrepreneur only after I baby-stepped my way to increased exposure.  Contributors from each site approached me based on my commitment to blogging for a long time.

A few months ago my name came up after Seth Godin as a blogger to follow on Google. That feature is the result of 15 year’s worth of blogging on a daily basis.

Take your time. Develop skills slowly. Take baby steps to grow organically.

4: Harboring Unrealistic Expectations

I deeply believed that I’d be sitting on Oprah Winfrey’s couch talking about my rags to riches story 15 years ago.

I imagined it: from fired security guard to smiling island hopper.

Reality slapped me upside the cyber head sooner than later.

I gradually learned that delusion blinds you and being realistic grounds you.

Be realistic about your goals. Success takes practice and time to cultivate. Migrating from a poverty consciousness to an abundance mindset requires a slow, steady journey inward to expose and forgive your shadow. In layman's terms, you and I have ample fears to face, feel and release in order to patiently purify the mind.

People typically want peace of mind now without doing the necessary inner work to bring their chaotic emotions into awareness. 

How can you be realistic about your personal development if you skip all of the mindset training necessary to engage in self help?

In particular, most cling to unrealistic expectations regarding meditating. People generally expect meditating to feel relaxing at first when the opposite rings true as a beginner meditator. Sitting in silence unearths various forms of upset long buried through distraction, aversion and general delusion.

New meditators feel disappointed about being antsy, anxious and suffering from the racing mind.


Realistically, this is pretty much how it goes in the beginning.

Most people in the Western world suffer from a sickness called the “monkey mind”. Meditating is the quickest way to observe it until it quiets down versus running away from it with a busy, distracting schedule.

Be realistic. 

Don’t expect to be Buddha or Jesus after 5 years of meditation.

I recall an enlightened being explaining to a devotee how he still had plenty of inner work to do because he had only been meditating for 45 years. 

Meanwhile, most worldly people feel frustrated with their lack of progress after meditating for 45 minutes.

5: Attempting to Grow Inside of Your Comfort Zone

My wife and I have circled the globe for 12 years.

We became full time digital nomads a number of years ago.

I feel entirely comfortable owning a backpack, carry-on, laptop, phone and clothes for one week now.

But letting go of my apartment 15 years ago, letting go of a home base 3 years ago and circling the globe pretty much non-stop minus a little time here and there felt highly uncomfortable for a bit.

Of course I grew like a weed when I dove into doing two of the most uncomfortable things known to humans, simultaneously: traveling the world and building an online business.

All growth occurs outside of your comfort zone.

No growth occurs inside of your comfort zone.

People love attempting to grow inside of the safe, secure confines of their comfort zone. Self-conscious individuals often attempt to root out this mental poison in their home town where everyone looks like them, thinks like them and speaks like them.

How can you bring up your self-conscious fears in such a comfortable, cozy environment where no one triggers these deep emotions?

Meanwhile, when my wife and I were 3 hours away from humanity in a remote Costa Rica jungle and a dude showed up with a rifle and 2 foot long machete speaking rapid fire Spanish, I was forced to face my self-consciousness by communicating only in Spanish via a highly uncomfortable situation.

True story; turns out, he was a pig farmer living even deeper in the jungle who wanted to help me cut back la selva around the property with his machete.

Growth happens well outside of your comfort zone.

Do scary things to accelerate your personal development like a Ferrari whizzing down the highway. Travel. Take up public speaking. Take on greater responsibility at work. Ramp up your business by being more prolific and by networking more freely.

Do whatever needs to be done to exit your comfort zone on a daily basis.

Grow quickly by putting your comfort zone in your rear view window.


Address these personal development mistakes.

Correct each error to accelerate your personal growth exponentially.

About the Author 

Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph helps you learn how to blog at Blogging From Paradise.

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