We recently lost our dear friend, Dave Lakhani, so we dedicate this newsletter to him.
By Dave Lakhani
An excerpt from his book The Power of an Hour – Business and Life Mastery in One Hour a Week
“Self-improvement tends to be one of those very important things we regularly put off because, well, it is so easy to do. The problem with not constantly improving yourself is that if you are not moving forward, someone is inching past you, and you are falling behind.
I’m not suggesting that self-improvement is all about competition – that is really the smallest part of it. Self-improvement is about constantly moving your evolution forward so that you never stop learning and never stop setting new goals.
When I talk about self-improvement, it can take on any form; it may be as simple as learning a new job skill that will allow you to perform at a higher level or something as complex as going back to school to become a doctor if that is your dream.
Four Reasons Self-Improvement Efforts Typically Fail
The first reason that self-improvement efforts fail is in two parts. The first part is that it is easier to put off our own needs than to make them real.
The second part is that nearly everyone is moving through the day with maximum effort and a packed calendar; committing time for one more thing is very difficult.
The second reason most efforts fail is that we are often reluctant to invest in our improvement rather than our instant gratification. Most of us would rather buy a new boat, a new car, a new barbeque grill, or any other gadget than to actually spend our money on improving ourselves. Somewhere along the way, we started believing that the company we work for should pay for our training and education. Unfortunately, that is a faulty belief. Companies to whom you have no loyalty have no compelling reason to invest heavily in you so that you can go to another company and use the newly gained training to help them profit.
The third reason that self-improvement efforts fail is that we give in to peer pressure. Our buddies laugh because we are committing the next 104 Thursdays to finally getting an MBA. Worse, they are appalled that we’d invest $3,000 in a three-day seminar that will give us access to the world’s top experts and an opportunity to be trained by them. A tough question you need to ask yourself is this: If peer pressure and other people’s skepticism and criticism keep you from improving your personal and professional skills, what else are they keeping you from?
The fourth reason we hesitate to improve ourselves is our past experience with transforming information into action. Experience tells us that we’ve invested in ourselves in the past and then not done anything with what we learned in order to give us some return on the investment. Turning information into action requires only one thing: implementation.
Implementation of new information is hard because it requires that we do something new or different. Often what we are required to do is foreign to us or will be judged by those around us. If your fear of being judged is keeping you from implementing ideas that may change your life, what else is that fear holding you back from? Nearly everyone who achieves anything significant risks being judged by someone else, twice. The first time is at the beginning, when they scoff at your effort; the next time is when they see your success and judge you in comparison to their own lack of action. Don’t worry about judgment – worry about implementing the new skills and information you’ve obtained.”