Self-development is, what Simon Sinek would call, an ‘infinite game’. It’s a game that can be played indefinitely. There is no skill-ceiling. And the only way to lose is to choose not to play.
Self-development is not the goal. Self-development is just the skill (a skill which contains many sub-skills) which helps you to reach a goal that you’ve set. And like any skill, when you begin practicing it, you’re going to be bad at it.
And since at first you’re going to be bad at it, developing yourself isn’t going to go as well as you’d like to expect. This is what some popular self-help authors never talk about. They never talk about how self-development is a skill – that it’s difficult to make positive changes, because, at first, you’re not going to be good at doing that.
Think of the person who says that they want to read 20 books in 20 days, or lose 100 pounds in a month. They usually don’t finish their goals because they haven’t learned the best practices of setting goals (rig the game so that you can win, don’t rely on willpower), which is just one of the many sub-skills of self-development.
Think of the person who says that they’re going to change careers because they had an epiphany after reading one self-help book. They make the necessary arrangements, but they end up in a career that they hate more than the one they had before. They haven’t learned the skill of self-awareness (knowing what it is that you’re about, instead of what other people want you to be about) – another one of the many sub-skills of self-development.
Self-development isn’t something that you can throw yourself into and expect massive results to happen overnight. Self-development is a skill to be practiced, not some holy lifestyle to be proselytized.
Self-development has no finish line. And why should it? If there was, we would get bored with having reached it, and we would look for the next thing to go after.
Actually, that’s exactly what we do. We reach a point of “this isn’t enough,” so we immediately look for the next thing to go after.
“This isn’t enough” can be a good reason to go after the next thing, that is, if you’ve learned from your practice of self-development not to be blinded by your ambition. What’s right in front of your eyes is often what’s blocking your view.