The problem with toxic self-improvement
-It doesn't align with personal belief
-It comes from comparison
-Extrinsic motivation is doomed to fail
-There are no parameters
There you are coming to the end of a hectic day, you just somehow made it through, then bam you realize you forgot to invest £10k this month. Horror! In what, you ask? I don't know but the random Business guru with his menacing folded arms and a smug smile on Instagram tells you to.
This is a topic that has irked me for some time now, I call it “toxic self-improvement” .
You may have already been ambushed by a total random entrepreneur man. He has a lovely smiling face but has a list of demands which are almost laughable:
10 goals before the age of 30:
Start investing 10K / month
Read 4 books/month
Wake up early every day
Become a millionaire
Take a trip around the world
Own 5 different homes
Have more than 5 streams of income
Exercise 10 hours a week
Pay off all debts
Learn something new every day
All of these goals are verbatim from the post.
How ridiculous do these sound in the cold light of day and not the blue backlight of Instagram?
As someone who often helps people with goal setting, I want to offer some advice for those who look at posts and feel crestfallen by them.
All of this has an effect on you because it comes from a place of comparison. Some people are better off in some areas than others - this is a fact of life. However, no one has figured it out. Something has to give.
These “goals” have no parameters for success.
Become a millionaire: how? Robbery? Own 5 homes? Again, how? robbery?
If these goals don’t align with your personal beliefs then don't bother pursuing them.
There are some commendable goals in this post: reading 4 books a month being one of them.
That is immensely powerful and you can gain a lot of knowledge through this practice, but people have different reading speeds and tolerances.
Don’t feel guilty because you take two months to finish a book.
Don't feel like you "need" to own a home before 30.
Don't play catch-up with something that doesn't exist.
These posts use arbitrary parameters in order to create a fear of missing out, in order to generate likes which in turn makes their content spread further to be seen by more people.
Whenever you see a post like this; always ask the question
“What is this post's goal”?
Is it to grab attention or to empower me?