Does Self Development Work?

Person reading a book on self development. Article is about self development work

Self development work seems to be integral to many training courses on starting an online business. But do you really need it? I guess that depends on how you define it but my friend and I don’t think so. Certainly not if you’ve been around the block a couple of times, as they say. So we have created a Youtube channel aimed at providing self and personal development free information on starting an online business to fellow 50 plusers.

Don’t get me wrong, like most ambitious people, I have a bookshelf at home which contains some of the usual self development suspects. Most are from my days of climbing corporate ladders and most I only part read. I usually found that as with motivational talks, their impact was short lived. I always found the more business oriented tomes by the likes of Robert Kyosaki and Napoleon Hill more impactful in the long term. 

The basic premise in self development work seems to be that there is something wrong with you that needs fixing.

No one is perfect but we believe that most people by the time they reach say 50, have worked themselves out. Decades of careers, running businesses and life experience tends to do that. If they want to learn how to start an online business or take an existing business online, they really just want the nuts and bolts. 

Just The facts Please

A hand holds the word Info to symbolise "just the facts please". Article is about self development work

That’s certainly what I was looking for when, just shy of the big five-oh, I was laid off and decided the internet was the place to be. I found an organisation that provided some excellent training and a business partnership to boot. Unfortunately the gems of knowledge and practical training on making money online, was often surrounded by a cocoon of self development mumbo jumbo. Sorting the wheat from the chaff was tiring at times. 

I know I’m not alone in finding all this “Getting out of your own way”, “Coming from a place of integrity”, “Overcoming your limiting beliefs” and similar blobs of cod psychology tedious. Many people I’ve met on “My Journey” (Gag!) have complained about it. Why, they ask, did I have to sit through a 5 hour webinar to find out the single key fact I was there for?

There seems to be a conceit amongst gurus who evangelise about self development work, that time equals value. Sadly this often equates to them spending hours of your time waffling.

I’ll never forget fuming through a webinar on internet advertising. The host spent half the allotted time offering relationship counselling to an attendee whose partner didn’t understand her online business. As Alex Bellfield (The Voice of Reason – Youtube) would say – “That’s not why you rang caller!”. Damn right it wasn’t! 

Of course selling things online involves marketing which involves a bit of psychology. That’s fine, psychology is a science. Learning what makes people tick can be studied. It doesn’t require a detailed study of your own navel. You do that in your angst ridden teens and early twenties when you want to change the world. Not in your fifties when you want an encore career to boost your retirement funds without sucking away all your precious time.

For Those Who Have Done The Self Development Work

Image of a smiling, older man on horseback who looks like he has been there and done that. Article is about self development work

Granted some of the people coming into the online business world are in their late teens or early twenties. Many of them have never been self employed. To them, guidance on mindset, productivity, self reliance and self discipline is probably useful, foundational stuff. The audience we are looking to serve have been there and done that. 

I personally believe that basically you are what you are. There’s nothing wrong with you. Your basic character and nature are there from birth and evolves during childhood. No amount of self development work can change you completely later. If you identify things about yourself such as a tendency to procrastinate or to be judgemental you can work on them. You’re not however going to turn yourself into Gary Vaynerchuck if you weren’t like him as a child – as he was. 

Starting an online business just requires commitment, a willingness to learn and a decent work ethic. It’s not rocket science. It’s not some kind of mystical voyage into your soul. 

If this article chimed with you why not click the link below to visit our Youtube Channel.