Myth Busting: What Personal Development Is, And Is Not

What does my commitment to personal development really mean? And what is it not? I want to clear up some common misconceptions, because it’s definitely not about chasing perfection or forcing myself to be happy all the time.

For years, I’ve called myself a personal development “junkie.” But some people misunderstand and think that means I’m stressed out trying to be perfect. Not at all! My journey is about continuous learning, growth, and trying to understand myself better. It’s being curious about my own thoughts, reactions, and limiting beliefs programmed since childhood.

Some days it would be easier to avoid reflection and just blame others when things go wrong. But my commitment to personal development is asking myself the hard questions instead of taking the easy way out. I want to react to life’s challenges in a constructive way, not just feel sorry for myself or get angry.

I used to think focusing on my own needs was selfish. But I’ve realized self-love actually makes me a better person. When I take care of myself, I have more energy to support others. Personal development is about embracing myself fully, taking responsibility for my own happiness, and living a meaningful life.

It’s not about following rigid rules or trying to be perfect. Some days it’s okay to rest and be gentle with myself, even if that means eating potato chips because I’m sad and need comfort! I’m learning to understand my own patterns and triggers, then meet my needs in a healthy way. Growth happens when I can be aware and make conscious choices, instead of just reacting.

So my commitment to personal development simply means continuously working to understand myself and live a meaningful, happy life. The more I learn, the more I can spread generosity, patience, and compassion to others!

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[00:00:00] when I talk about being addicted to personal development, it is a commitment to my own growth. It is a commitment to trying to understand more of who I am, how I react, all the things that I learned when I was a kid that is not now serving me anymore, all the things I picked up subconsciously from everything that was happening around me. And this field is so, so, so interesting. The more I do, dive into personal development, the more I understand all the small things that happened, that I was small and how they actually affect me now. And for me, that personal development is just trying to understand those things better. Being super curious about my own mind, about my own reactions to things about my own thoughts about my own limiting beliefs.​ ​ [00:01:00] I said for quite a few years that I am a personal development junkie and that I am addicted to personal development. And I wanted to talk a bit more about what that actually means, because a lot of people are misunderstanding it and they’re getting it wrong. A few weeks back, I had a post on social media and somebody was commenting on it saying it sounds super stressful to have to be perfect all the time. And I was like, What? That’s not at all what I mean when I say that I’m committed in my own [00:02:00] development. When I started doing personal development and reading self help books, of course, I did all the things that people are told to do in the beginning. Look for the positive things, write like a gratitude diary, focus on what you want. And one of my biggest realizations at that time was how big power I had over my thoughts and my focus, because a lot of people that isn’t interpersonal development, they are kind of victims of the environment. If something happens, then I have to feel like this because he behaves like that. I have to do this, or I have to think like this, or it’s not weird that I feel sorry because that guy is, is an idiot. And so the first thing you learn is just really that you have power over your mind and that you can choose what to think. You can choose what to feel. You can choose what to focus on. however, it doesn’t mean when you start doing these things that life suddenly becomes perfect. I think maybe it’s almost the opposite. Like when you start thinking and realizing [00:03:00] how much power you have over your brain, you realize new things that happen in your life where you could react better or, or in a different way. And when I say better, it isn’t about perfectionism. It’s never about perfectionism, but it is about how can I React to the things that happens. How can I manage my thoughts in a way that is more sustainable for myself that is more sustainable for the people around me blaming everyone else? That’s not sustainable. It’s not a good way to have good relationships to others. It’s not a good way to have good relationships to qs1 yourself. So when I talk about being addicted to personal development, it is a commitment to my own growth. It is a commitment to trying to understand more of who I am, how I react, all the things that I learned when I was a kid that is not now serving me anymore, all the things I picked up subconsciously from everything that was happening around me. And this field is so, so, so interesting. The more I do, dive into personal development, the more I [00:04:00] understand all the small things that happened, that I was small and how they actually affect me now. And for me, that personal development is just trying to understand those things better. Being super curious about my own mind, about my own reactions to things about my own thoughts about my own limiting beliefs. just a few days ago, I was walking on the beach. And I always walk on the beach. And and I talked to myself, I do some tapping, I use it as therapy, somebody said, it’s it sounds good to talk to yourself if you have questions. like good conversations, but for me, all the conversations I have with myself, when I walk on the beach, they’re not biased or they’re not negative. It’s just me checking in with myself. How am I, what do I feel today? Is there anything that is coming up now in my life where I can let go more or understand more or love myself more And I was walking around the beach and some, one of the things I do also when I walk on the beach is singing. And that’s because there’s so much Singing is just therapeutic to me and because I know that I really [00:05:00] want to sing more. I’ve been singing more or less most of my life I was in a choir and I was singing and my family was singing And I kind of lost it a bit and I wasn’t doing it for some years and I realized that health is better when I sing. So I want to sing. I want to express myself creatively through singing. And I was walking on the beach and I just realized because there’s so many great musicians around where I live. And there’s a lot of people that are performing a lot and they’re, they’re doing so well. And I just find myself getting really, really touched by the music. people performing music, like from an honest place from an authentic place. And it really touches me. So I start crying often when I hear people sing. and I want to sing like that. I really want to sing like that. But I realized that When I was walking on the beach that I kind of created some kind of league of the musicians and the kind of semi professional and professional people and I wasn’t allowing myself to do that. And for me, I’ve been working a lot in my life about trying to stop myself comparing myself from others. But I [00:06:00] realized, okay, so I have all these other areas where I kind of prevent myself from, being allowed. I’m not saying that immediately I will become a super, much better singer, but I wasn’t even allowing myself to think that I am a good singer. And of course, that, that prevents me from becoming a good singer, even how much I try. And I realized I have like all these things, even with like my physical abilities, my health, I always put myself in the, like, not the healthiest, not the fittest, not the thinnest kind of category. And I wasn’t even allowed to try to get and change the category. So when I talk about committing to personal development, it’s just asking myself these questions and being honest with myself about these questions. And that is hard. So I just want to give you a warning because it sounds so hard. Super great to be committed to personal development. some days, it would be much easier if I just sat at my house drank my coffee and blamed everyone else and not try to think, constructively. Because some days you, you aren’t in the very best mood or you, you [00:07:00] wish that you could just blame someone and feel sorry for yourself. Like that’s the easy route. So when I say the, the commitment to personal developments just. The commitment to actually be aware of what I think, be aware of how I act, be aware of, of how I present myself and what actions I take. And I can give you an example because This misunderstanding that this is about doing all the time, and being perfect, and doing the right things, and always doing, and always doing, and always doing. For me, this is as much about human being. There’s this saying about, we are human beings, not human doings. a lot of the personal development, and, you know, And maybe Tony Robbins is a representative. Like when you see him the first time, he’s all like, Ah, like go, go, go, go, go and go, go get it. but he also have a very spiritual soft side. And I think for me that the whole personal development concept it has so much in there that isn’t so visible. for me, the commitment to personal development is when I wake up in the morning and [00:08:00] I feel really crappy, I ask myself, okay, so what is this? Are you sad about something? Is there something going on? Are you stressed? Is there too many things? Do you need a hug from your kids? Like, what is the thing going on? And I ask myself those questions. And more importantly, when I figure out what I need, I allow myself to give myself what I need. And this is super duper important because much of my life, I kind of knew, I think what I needed and what I wanted, but I wasn’t allowing myself to do it. So for example, a day of rest. If I need a day of rest, I can actually give myself a day of rest. that is personal development. So it isn’t about the doing. It is about asking myself, how do I feel? How am I? And getting that awareness. I can use another practical example because one of the things I’ve been doing a lot in my life is emotional eating. And I still do it. I eat potato chips. I drink sometimes wine when I’m by myself because I’m just [00:09:00] feeling sad or I want to relax or I have too much coffee because I feel like it’s giving me comfort. But before I was just doing that, not being aware that I did it. And then also not understanding why I did it. but working with myself and understanding and realizing and looking at the patterns. Also, of course, a lot of like, actually being in a course, having a healer, talking to a coach, having therapists and stuff. When I am in those processes, I just realize so much more about how things are connected. So for example, the potato chips thing, at some point, I actually tracked down my source of wanting to eat potato chips when I feel lonely. And that was super interesting because back in Norway, there’s this special kind of potato chips called sour cream and onion. It’s, it’s a special brand and it’s, it’s so good. And it’s like the best potato chips ever. And every time I think about potato chips, I’m sad that I can’t get it here in Vietnam. Maybe it’s good for me as well. But at one point [00:10:00] in the, in the coaching session, I realized that the reason why I have so much. emotion connected to that potato chips was because every Friday night in my house when I was a kid, my parents and my sister and I were watching television. We were watching all the like Friday night TV shows that was, we only had one TV channel at that time. So it was no choice. We watched all of those and we had pizza and we had the sour cream and onion. So for me, that potato chips. actually represents the togetherness feeling in my family when I grew up. And I’m almost crying now when I say this, because that’s, that’s why I want it. That’s why I have the emotional connection to sour cream and onion. just this whole process of getting aware, because I still sometimes eat potato chips. But I know now that when I search for the potato chips, that what I probably need is an emotional connection to family members. And of course [00:11:00] then, some days, when my kids are not at home, Patrik is not at home, and I feel like I want to be a bit, like, sad for myself for a few hours, I choose to get that potato chips, and I really enjoy the potato chips, but I also know it’s not replacing the human togetherness of my family. So when I talk about personal development, it’s not about always making the right choice, because that sounds like you’re trying to forcing yourself into some kind of perfectionism or some kind of rules about what is right to do and what is wrong to do. Some days it’s super okay and the best choice to sit down and feel sorry for yourself and eat potato chips, but not for the rest of the life, not every single day. So when I make choices that maybe aren’t the most healthy or the most constructive or the most whatever in this moment, at least I’m aware of it. I know it. And I choose to let myself because right now, that’s what I need. And some days, again, it’s about like having a [00:12:00] break, going for a massage, taking an extended walk on the beach, just lay down on the beach. Some days I’m walking down, I’m going down to the beach and I’m like, Oh, I don’t really feel like walking. And my legs are super heavy. And I just lay down there and I lay down there for 10 minutes and then I feel better. So for me, the commitment to personal development is just the commitment to continuously learn, to continuously grow, to continuously be curious about myself, my own focus, my own reactions. And of course, also other people’s focus reactions, because there’s so much to learn about watching other people and how they make their choices. I’m not trying to tell anyone, like, that you have to do personal development as well, but I know that the people that I, know that is very much into personal development, and I’ve gotten to this reflection level of what it is and what it means. feel like a lot of these people are living more meaningful lives just because they have this awareness level and can understand the world better. And what is super interesting about meeting other people that is on this personal [00:13:00] development journey is that when you do this and when you understand that in every second, I have the choice of what I’m focusing on, what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling, how I’m reacting to what other people are doing. The people that understand that and not even understand it, but live it, like, really live that when you do that, you get to a place where you are more generous with others, where you’re more robust, where you can have more kind of shit talk directly to you, people can say it to you as it is, because you know that you choose how to react. And you know that someone saying something to you is about their view of the world. And sometimes you should, of course, listen to, to feedback, but sometimes feedback is just because a person is in their own head and they have their own kind of limiting beliefs or, or fears or something that got triggered because they saw you and now they say something to you and it hasn’t really anything to do with you. So just understanding that difference and [00:14:00] being able to put yourself in yourself or take responsibility for what you can take responsibility for. It’s super nice to be also with other people that take responsibility for what they take responsibility before. And, and I was a person when I grew up that kind of tried to make sure that everyone else was fine. I was the good girl. I was making sure that people weren’t feeling bad. People weren’t sad. People weren’t, angry. And, and I just learned to, know that I am myself, no matter what is going around me. And I can choose for myself, no matter what is going on around me. I want to share something that had a profound. Impact on me from my coaching education because we had this exercise where we were coaching it each other on concepts that made us angry. Yeah. So this was like kind of irrational anger towards things that some reason was triggering something and we couldn’t really explain it. And there was a guy in this group and he volunteered to be coached on a topic of being angry with [00:15:00] Facebook ads. Like every time he saw a Facebook ad he got so angry and he just felt like, and he wanted to kind of kill the person that had the Facebook ads. And of course, if this guy wasn’t Very self conscious and kind of well behaved or, or, or aware of his own thoughts. He could very easily turn into like a troll or like a person just kind of spitting out really negative comments on people’s Facebook ads out of the blue. However, when we did this coaching exercise. the person that was coaching him and asking questions was asking like, so what is behind this and what do you think is the reason for that? And there was, of course, like certain, key elements to that process so that we could get behind all the, like the, the first reaction to the Facebook ad. And what was super, super duper interesting. And again, this was like a huge aha for me. And I refer back to it so many times. When we came to the root of this, The thing was, this guy was, when he was a young [00:16:00] man, He was told he didn’t have much longer to live. And of course, since he had lived with that for now many years, he always put off kind of really doing what he wanted, really going for his dreams, because he was supposed to die soon. So it wouldn’t matter. And we figured out in that process that this guy was actually so sad. Because it wasn’t him on the ads, because he knew that if he started earlier, instead of thinking that he was going to die and going for his dreams, he could be the person that had the Facebook ad that was presenting his message that was earning money from being visible and being a role model and having an impact in the world. When I tell this story, I almost every time start crying because it’s so profound how like small. Seemingly coincidental things can be triggered by something that is much deeper, much, much older, much kind of not visible. I know [00:17:00] this because I’m in a business where we use Facebook ads a lot and all our clients use Facebook ads a lot. So, A lot of people are afraid of the haters. They’re just like, what happens if I get an angry comment on my Facebook ad? And then I use this story to illustrate that sometimes the source Kind of the driving force of the reaction or the feeling is just not at all connected to whatever like this thing is here. So when I do something and someone get angry at me, it can have to do with something totally else that I have absolutely no control over. So why should I freak out and make it a big deal? I’m not saying that I’m not listening. I always love constructive feedback and if people want to give me a feedback on something and they say that you could do this differently or I would change this so that this would make it better, that’s fine, but just kind of some of the, the angry comments, some of the random comments, some of the, really explosive feelings that comes out, they just don’t have to do with us. And I think this is super important for everyone to remember. And it’s [00:18:00] not easy. It’s not like every single day I remember and every time somebody’s angry at me, I’m just like Zen, that’s not how it is. But again, this is my commitment to getting better and understanding myself more. when I get triggered by something or someone or someone says something, and I’m like, ah, or get super defensive, or, or I feel hurt, or I get sad or whatever, There’s an opportunity for me to look deeper. There’s an opportunity for me to ask myself, so what are the things that actually happened now? What are the things that triggered this so that these reactions happen? And this is, for me, personal development. And one more thing that I want to add, and that is self love. Self love is a hard one. when I started learning about personal development, when I started thinking about putting my own oxygen mask on before helping others, which is a great metaphor, it’s been overused and, and misused, but it’s, it’s so good. Like that’s the concept of life. You just have to make sure that you can breathe. Literally and metaphorically to be able to be [00:19:00] anything to others. If you’re dead, you can’t be of service to others. when I learned about this and I started practicing self low, I started practicing putting more of the things in my day that gives me energy. I’m starting to remove the things that, drained me for energy. I felt egoistic. I felt like I was kind of some egoistic bastard that didn’t care about others. So that was my thoughts telling me. And I know for many people, when you start going on this route, that’s what your mind is going to tell you. It’s going to tell you like you are just turning into a narcissist or you’re turning into someone that is, treating others badly. But this is not about that. It is just about when I take care of myself, I am an adult human being. And there’s a lot of things that is in my life because things that happened when I was a kid, and I could blame my parents for it, but I know that they did as best as they could. And right now I’m 46 years old. I know how to take care of myself and it’s my responsibility. I can’t give that responsibility to [00:20:00] anyone else. So just making sure that I do the things that are good for me makes, I truly think that it makes me a better person. One of the speakers, Peter Ek and I had, when we did physical events back in the day, she was talking about the radical self care. And for me, that’s, that’s kind of turned to something that I come back to and I think about what it is. And I think that the radical self care, the radical self love, when we really allow ourselves to be ourselves and, and forgive ourselves when we’re doing mistakes or stupid things. For example, sometimes I, I say things and after I thought that was a very weird thing to say. And maybe I shouldn’t have said it. But instead now of, of going to that kind of beating myself up for weeks, because I said it, because the other people probably forgot about it five minutes later. Maybe they thought, Oh, that was a bit weird. And then they forgot about it. So why am I making it into such a big deal? So that forgiveness, that self love, that putting time into the calendar to actually do things that is good for me, that is personal development. It has nothing to [00:21:00] do with being perfect all the time. It has nothing to do with having to do things all the time. It has to do with Embracing yourself, understanding yourself and doing what you can to have a happy life so that you can have an impact on the people around you. So one of the phrases that I hear a lot, when we talk about personal development is being the best version of myself. And I have kind of two sided relationship to that quote, because I, I understand what it means. I understand that it means what I already said, but also it sounds like you have to be performing every day and that you’re kind of holding yourself out. Up to some standard that is maybe not possible. One of our business mentors, Rich Sheffrin, he said, you should build a business around the worst version of yourself. And I love that because what he’s kind of saying is that you can’t show up every single day expecting yourself to be the top best version of yourself every single day. Like a top athlete aren’t [00:22:00] competing in the Olympics every single day, they have breaks, they have restitution, they have practice, they have all the things, so we can’t hold ourselves to being a best version of ourselves that is kind of inhuman or like too good to be true. So when we talk about being the best version of ourselves, for me, that is just taking responsibility for making myself happy and happy. And fulfilled, and that’s what this whole personal development thing is about for me. In this episode, I’m going to talk about what personal development is and what it is not. And it’s definitely not about trying to be perfect and having to do everything right. It is much more about understanding yourself, being patient and generous with yourself and being curious to know how you can grow as a person. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. To dig deeper, visit awesome. com forward slash scaling light. That’s A W E S M dot com forward slash scaling light. [00:23:00] You’ll find show notes, resources and links. mentioned in this episode, as well as links to our socials. If you like what you heard, please rate and review us on the podcast platform of your choice. Your feedback is so important to help more entrepreneurs to discover this show. Our goal is to provide inspiration and we hope you’ll continue scaling alongside us. Thanks for your support and see you next time. ​

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Business Strategist and Visionary

Petter Erik Nyvoll has worked in sales and has been an entrepreneur for 20 years. He has sold courses and conferences, sponsor packages, consulting services, shares, investment opportunities, telephone and server solutions, ads, exclusive memberships, and network marketing products.

He loves to keep up with what’s happening in sales and marketing around the world, is continuously testing new marketing strategies by himself and helps online entrepreneurs implement new sales and marketing strategies. He is well known for challenging his clients to double their price , to think creatively and to break out of their comfort zone!