What Is The Value of Personal Development?
I sat down for an interview with Diogo Lança last weekend. Diogo is the creator of “Road Delta”, an online platform for empowering self-learners and personal developers.
It’s always good to chat with like-minded people. We both shared our personal story, together with valuable insights and must-read books. In this blog, I present the 3 major takeaways from our one-hour conversation.
If you want to watch the full video, go here:
Are you ready? Let’s go.
1. How personal development can help you beat anxiety and allow you to thrive in your 20’s.
As we all know, our early 20’s can often bring about a rollercoaster of emotions: break-ups, family issues, and the uncertainty of not knowing what to do with your life.
How do you get through these difficult moments?
Well, one of the topics we discussed vividly was how getting into personal development helped us reshape our own destiny. Diogo explained how reading his first personal development book (i.e. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz) re-programmed his entire mindset. He used to be shy and anxious about other people’s reactions. Just by getting into reading books on self-improvement, his attitude towards life changed.
“Reading that first book was such a game-changer. It was almost over night that my anxiety completely faded. Something ‘clicked’ inside my brain and it has impacted my life in an enormously positive way.”
After that, Diogo started to take his goals more seriously and moved from Portugal to Luxembourg, a destination of more opportunities in his area of interest: mechanical engineering.
It’s all about learning.
A very similar story held for me personally. When I was studying for the first time abroad in Madrid (Spain), I started wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life. How was I going to make the most out my limited time here, on planet earth?
So I literally went to Google and typed in questions like : “What do successful people do?” and “What do all successful people have in common?”.
Soon, I found out that success is about continuously learning and educating yourself. It’s about reading or seeking information in order to stay ahead of the curve. Curious as I was, I ordered my first book on Amazon. I still remember the name up to now. It was “No Excuses” by Brian Tracy.
Reading that first book changed my life for good. I was shocked how much I could learn from just one book. After my 6-month period Madrid, I made reading one of my top life priorities. This habit spilled over to the creation of Book Success and me coming to the US, graduating in International Marketing and eventually starting my own business in my dream country. Long story made short.
2. How should you consume personal development content?
We further talked about different ways people can consume personal development materials. For us obviously, it all started with books.
However, there are multiple options to consider. You can read or listen to online book summaries, watch YouTube videos, buy online courses or even go to personal development seminars.
So how should you take it in?
We both came to the conclusion that it depends. Some people like to read the full paper-back book, while others don’t like to read and prefer to watch book summary videos on You Tube. There is nothing wrong with a specific method. It just depends on the preference of the person. A good idea might be to combine several methods and see from which source you get the most value.
“Some books just contain a lot of fluff. You can actually summarize the main ideas and concepts into 5-10 pages. For this reason, it can be a good idea to read or listen to book summaries.”
However, other books are so complex and well-written that it can be hard to compress that knowledge into a book summary. An example: Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud. Nevertheless, I tried my very best to summarize the book here. You are the judge!
3. The Power of “Deep Work”
One of the personal development books we touched on is “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. In his work, Cal Newport tries to identify how we can focus and produce high-quality work in a world of endless distraction.
As Diogo says: “We have all become addicted to our digital devices. This is stopping us from creating deep, high-quality work. In other words: the work that really matters.”
Newport explains that the most successful people in history typically had a place to hide themselves from distraction and produce their masterpieces. For example, Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, had his own cabin in the Swiss mountains, far removed from all the distractions and stresses of the modern city life. This allowed him to to work on his groundbreaking psychological theories. Another example: J.K. Rowling wrote her last Harry Potter book in a quiet hotel room. As you probably know, it became a huge success.
For us, it can be a day-to-day challenge to focus. Most of us grew up in an environment of PC’s, televisions, tablets and other electronic plays. It’s very easy to check your phone for new updates or messages.
However, as Cal Newport argues, it might be a good idea to find your own peaceful resort or space for deep work. Meaning: performing work in a state of distraction-free concentration that allow you to push your cognitive capabilities to the limit. These efforts can evoke new value, improve your skills, and are very hard to replicate.
If you’d like to know more about this book, here are 25 “golden nuggets” of the book. Let us know in the comments which one your favorite was!