Archive for the ‘personal development’ Category

Get a Growth Mindset

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Back in September of 2011 I wrote

I’m optimistic that if people knew how to change in a way that respected all parts of themselves, was non-manipulative, and was clearly explained and taught, they would embrace it and go for it.

I intended back then to make a shift from cursing the darkness to lighting candles, from an excessive focus on critique to mostly creating new alternatives (with some critique).

Here is my first commercial offering in that direction, a low-cost online training that is coming up on November 23rd, called Get a Growth Mindset.

I hope you’ll check out the link and spend some time learning with me.

In this interactive 2-hour online training, you will be introduced to some of the most important scientific research that relates to personal change, that of Carol Dweck’s work in “self theories” — or a growth vs. a fixed mindset:

  • Learn what makes the difference between people who love a challenge and people who give up too easily, and how to make the switch!
  • Realize when and where you have a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset.
  • Begin to explore the structure of how you maintain a fixed or growth mindset, without having to think about or practice it.
  • Hear a demonstration of changing from a fixed to a growth mindset rapidly…using some advanced change techniques from NLP.

You can check out the full information on the Get a Growth Mindset page.


Hedonism, Superstimuli, and Personal Development – Episode 1 of The Duff Show

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Is there anything for us modern progressive folk in the old-fashioned notion that we must avoid “sense pleasures” in favor of the spiritual or inner life, or this is just ancient moralizing B.S.? It seems that nowadays almost nobody subscribes to such a view, but are we missing something in doing so?

Is Hedonism–that which is good is what feels good–sufficient for a good life? Why or why not? What could replace it?

Here’s a 38 minute spontaneous lecture on hedonism, superstimuli, ethics, spirituality, and personal development.

It’s Episode 1 of The Duff Show! Where Duff talks about things, and hopefully people find it interesting enough to actually listen, and better yet, engage in dialogue in comments and on Facebook afterwards.

Hedonism, Superstimuli, and Personal Development – Episode 1 of The Duff Show by Duffmcduffee on Mixcloud

Right click and “save as” to download .mp3 from public DropBox

Also, you can hire me to help you make changes and become a better person at


p.s. BG has been somewhat dead for quite some time, in part because Eric joined the gainfully employed and because Duff stopped being so interested in critiquing personal development culture. I guess I just kinda said what I needed to say, and then I wasn’t sure what to write about.

But my long hibernation has not been for naught! This year the seeds of change have been sprouting as I have been researching science that is relevant to personal growth and developing novel change methods based on the science and combined with NLP techniques. Check out the seedlings over at my new site Scientific Goals.

I’m working on a top secret project right now along those lines. In the meantime, the comments here are somewhat broken, but please do join me on Facebook where I am very active most days.

Will Setting Goals Help or Hinder Your Life Achievement?

Friday, November 9th, 2012

I suspect that the future of personal development is being born right now, but not in the sophisticated online marketing scams techniques of some bloggers and ebook writers. No, the future of personal development is being born primarily in social psychology and neuroscience journals. My hope for the future is that the next generation of personal development readers, raised on Snopes and Wikipedia will scream out [citation needed] whenever a claim is made or “a study” is referenced. The Age of Information has arrived. Self-help books written B.G. (Before Google) will shock future generations with how confidently wrong they were, how they made broad even universalized claims with only anecdotal evidence. Or at least I hope this will be the case.


Just today Guardian columnist and self-help critical author Oliver Burkeman wrote an interesting piece for Fast Company, entitled Why Setting Goals Could Wreck Your Life. He points out that the oft referenced “1953 Yale Goals study” which allegedly concluded “the 3 percent of graduates with written goals had amassed greater financial wealth than the other 97 percent combined” is an urban legend.

That’s right–the study never existed. Nobody can find any reference to it existing. (more…)

More is More, Until More is Less

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

A huge number of personal development books and blogs are dedicated to the principle of leverage, also known as efficiency, the 80/20 rule, productivity, etc. But the thing is, many people use a “less is more” strategy far too early in the game.

In this great article “Is less really more?” I found via @andyfossett on Twitter, movement, strength, and conditioning coach Clifton Harski challenges the notion in exercise that less is always more.

He brings up three main points: (more…)

The World is Not Your Mirror

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

hall of mirrors

“The world is your mirror” is a popular phrase in self-help culture. In reality the world is not a reflective glass surface. So this is a metaphor that means something like, “instead of blaming others, examine your own thoughts and behaviors and how you are contributing to the problem.”

This can be a very helpful strategy in many contexts. For instance, if you have the same kinds of problems in intimate relationships with partner after partner, finding yet another partner (“The One”) without determining your role in the situation is not likely to be a good approach. A better strategy is to introspect and change your behavior first. For instance you might ask yourself, “how do I manage to choose the same kind of partner again and again? How can I improve myself in this situation instead of blaming the other person? In what ways am I contributing to creating this problem?” This approach is commonly referred to as taking responsibility and is a sign of maturity. (more…)

Anthropology Grad Student Looking For Help With Research Project

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

We recently received a request from an Anthropology graduate student looking for people involved with personal development programs. I am sharing this person’s request here:

Hi Beyond Growth Readers! My name is Araba, and I’m an anthropology graduate student at UC Berkeley who is conducting research on personal development programs, identity, and narratives of self-help in the U.S. I’m currently looking for personal development program participants who are interested in taking 30 to 60 minutes out of their day to reflect on their experiences with me.

Whether your participation in a personal development program has led to subtle changes or radical transformations in how you think about and frame your life experiences, I am interested in hearing your story. If you live the in the Bay Area, I would be happy to meet up for coffee or lunch to talk. For non-Bay Area residents, I will be conducting interviews over Skype. Please email me at araba [at] berkeley [dot] edu if you would like to participate or have any questions about what will be covered during the interview. Thanks!


Please contact Araba to help with the research project if you are interested.

How Do You Know Whether Your Personal Development Efforts are Working?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

I recently achieved a goal with regards to a dietary habit, but then suddenly realized I didn’t know why I was doing it and therefore had no clue whether it was working. Many of us do this–wasting time, money, and energy because we don’t have a clear outcome and ways to measure progress.

Per the Body Ecology diet, I’ve begun consuming coconut water kefir before meals and cultured vegetables after meals–both sources of probiotics. This was difficult for me to remember to do, and also the cultured veggies don’t taste all that great so that aspect was also difficult. Also both cost money, especially since I buy them at the store instead of making my own.

I have a history of digestive health issues and probiotics apparently help with that, but how much should I take and how frequently? What am I even going for here and how can I measure whether my efforts are working or not? (more…)

An Approach to Ending Chronic Procrastination

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Chronic procrastinators are riddled with internal conflict. We may talk to ourselves or others about what we are not doing, like “I didn’t get anything done today.” “I can’t focus.” “I need to get this project done already.” We feel as if we are a slave to their brains, not in control of our behaviors and even our minds.

Yes, I’m saying “we” because I’m admitting that I have a problem. But I think I may also have recently stumbled upon an important part of the solution.