Mythology can be intriguing to study. The stories that are portrayed in myths may be fictional, but there is usually some truth that has allowed the story to be passed down from generation to generation. That's what "myths" are -- they are not completely true or completely false. Here we will discuss the true and false elements of common myths in personal development.

Myth #1: Personal development is all just about positive thinking.

Positive thinking is a component of personal development. For some, it's a big component, for others, it's not an important component at all. In fact, some paradigms of personal development teach us to think critically, radically, and negatively, depending on our circumstances. Personal development does not try to make us be a certain way. More than all of that, personal development allows us to control our way of being -- whatever way of being we choose.

Myth #2: The motivation doesn't last.

That's true. We eventually have to be self-motivated. Fact is, however, some of us are not self-motivated. So getting temporarily motivated by something or someone else is the first step towards becoming self-motivated. Sometimes, that's just the nudge we need to get ourselves into action. Personal development programs teach various methodologies on becoming self-motivated.

Myth #3: Personal development doesn't work for everybody.

Just because something doesn't work for everybody, doesn't mean that it won't work for us or that we should dismiss it for ourselves. Many things don't work for everybody. Diets don't work for everybody . . . Investing doesn't work for everybody . . . But the some/few people they do work for, they work for beautifully. We can only know whether something truly works for us, if we've sincerely given it a try.

Myth #4: Most people can't change very much, after so many years of conditioning and habit.

It doesn't matter how "much" we can change. Sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest influences on the quality of our lives. The idea of personal development isn't necessarily to change our conditioning . . . It is to realize our conditioning, be conscious of it, and to use it in a way that is empowering for us.

Myth #5: All personal development programs are essentially sharing the same common-sense "truth."

Massive amounts of wisdom and knowledge are mirrored throughout the personal development industry. And that's great. We learn not only by knowing the truth, we also learn by experiencing the truth from many different perspectives. The reason common sense is not common is because everybody's "truth" is different. If there's any foundation to personal development, I believe it's the willingness to understand somebody else's truth.

The study of personal development is so vast because the depth to any truth is infinite. Any progress we make in uncovering a truth for ourselves, that enriches our lives in any way, is personal development. As Dexter Yager says, "You've got to learn to study things -- not see things the way they are, but see the truth behind what you're seeing."

Myth #6: The benefits are not worth the effort.

How do we know whether the benefits will be worth the effort, for anything in life? Think about spirituality, think about relationships. How do we know when we've put enough effort into something? Even from a financial perspective (which is more easily measurable) we may see business people lose money for several years before they turn a profit. How do they know that the benefits will be worth their effort if the majority of businesses go bankrupt within the first five years?

Is it worth it? Is your life worth it? Will personal development work for you? Those are questions only you can answer for yourself.

[This is an abridged version of Chapter 3 in Danish Ahmed's new book, "Your Guide to Personal Development: Making Sense of what is Out There & Creating a Self-Growth Journey that Works!" which has many more myths listed, and specific examples for each of the myths.]

Author's Bio: 

Danish Ahmed is turning heads in the personal-growth movement by bringing the education of the industry down-to-Earth -- by teaching from our popular culture, like television, movies, music, and other current day media. Get a FREE bi-weekly newsletter -- no advertising -- just ordinary words with some extraordinary power! Visit