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The Typical Journey of Self Improvement

By: Brian Kim - November 12, 2006

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Remember your first self improvement book? After reading it, you probably got “pumped” up. You felt like you could do anything. Open that business, get that job, get the raise. You felt invincible……and then a couple of weeks later, you were down again.

So you went to the bookstore and got another book. Another incredible high after you read it. You believed in yourself, took action, felt invincible…..and then a couple weeks later, you became down again.

This depicts the first phase that people go through on their journey of self improvement. They rely on books, speakers, or tapes to “pump” them up, to tell them that they CAN do it.

It’s true though. You CAN do it. Everything you need to accomplish anything you want is already inside of you. You CAN do it. This is the basis, the foundation, the thesis if you will, of all self improvement.

Everything hangs upon that simple fact.

This addiction to the pump of “I can do” it lasts until that fact gets ingrained in your mind. Once that happens, you go on to the second phase of self improvement, which is mass absorption of knowledge.

You start looking for the how to part. It’s not enough to know that everything you need is already inside you. You want to know how to use that something which is inside of you (your mind) to achieve your goals.

Slowly you start to gain knowledge on positive thinking, visualization, goal setting, the power of beliefs, reframing, discipline, etc. You find you have some measure of success with each “tool” you discover, but you then realize it’s only effective for a little while.

There are so many pieces to the puzzle of human achievement out there that you feel overwhelmed with information. You feel as if there’s so much to learn and so little time and each time you think you found the key to it all, you read about yet, another key to success, and another, and another, to the point where you go on a seemingly never ending hunt to gather all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together.

This is the phase where most people get stuck in. They start chasing their own tails. One more book, one more article, one more principle, one more tip, THEN I’ll find that missing link I’m looking for. They never apply what they learn and instead seek comfort in knowledge alone.

What’s worse is that some stubbornly cling to one principle, thinking that’s it’s the key to it all, like affirmations, NLP, or visualization, but they inevitably find that it’s not what they were looking for.

When you’ve read enough literature on the subject of goal achievement and start to apply some of the knowledge you've learned, you then start the journey of your third phase.

This third phase involves putting the pieces of the puzzle together. You cease looking at the things you learned as separate from one another and you start to realize that they are all part of one big picture.

You start putting two and two together. You realize that positive thinking is linked to your power of choice to shape reality, which then influences the way you perceive things, hence influences your future actions. You realize your beliefs were acting like lens that perceived reality to be conducive to your beliefs, thereby shaping your actions without even knowing it. Slowly you start to merge the little pieces into bigger pieces in order to assemble the big picture and then the fourth and final phase hits you like a ton of bricks.

The fourth and final phase of self improvement involves realizing that there is a natural process to human achievement and the cycle then completes full circle. You come back to the first phase, namely that everything you needed to accomplish anything you wanted was inside of you, BUT this time, you are conscious of it. You understand it on a deeper level that you couldn’t feel before, because now you’re not hindered by formula or technique, but rather freed by nature in all its simplicity.

Realize that there is a natural process to achieving your goals. Long before any self improvement books were ever written, people were achieving great things without them. They didn’t need Tony Robbins or Jim Rohn. It was inside them the entire time.

The reason why you see so much literature on self improvement whenever you go to a bookstore is that people have forgotten this basic fact, that what they are seeking is already within them, that they already have the means within them to achieve their goals. These books just provide people with the “pump” to wake them up. Now the search begins for the how.

When they accept the fact that they have what it takes and go on that how to phase, they find themselves overwhelmed with so much information that they don’t know what to make of it.

Here’s my advice to you if you find yourself stuck there. You’ve got to start seeing how everything fits together. Realize that there is NO ONE key to success. I know you’ve read countless books and articles that highlight ONE principle as the key to success, like believing, or perseverance, or hard work. Clear your mind of that kind of narrow minded thinking right now.

Instead, start to question things. Start digging deeper. For example, if you think perseverance is the key to success, then ask yourself, what is it that makes someone persevere and why is it essential to achieving your goals? If you think belief is the key to success, then ask yourself what is it about beliefs that makes one successful? If you think action is the key to success, then what is it that makes someone take action?

When you get your answers to those questions, start digging down even deeper by asking how they relate to one another and then you’ll really begin to understand and start making the connections between everything you’ve read.

You want to get to the point where you’re no longer “dependent” on these self improvement books to get you to take action in order to achieve your goals.

Once you figure out how to achieve your goals naturally (which is EXACTLY what The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow shows you), you won't need those books like you used to. You'll have come full circle and that's when the real fun begins.

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19 Responses to “The Typical Journey of Self Improvement”

  1. Devesh Says:

    Brian, i just wanted to you let you know how inspiring your MIT’s are… there are times when i read them and i wish to pass on the link to a friend of mine so as to convince them to sign up for your MIT’s - it would be really beneficial if you could include some kinda link in them to refer a friend to sign up… :)

  2. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Devesh,

    Glad you’re enjoying them.

    I’ll see if I can whip something up ;)

  3. Devesh Says:

    Cheers Brian… i wish there was a way I could meet you and personally thank you… these are the best things I read in a day :)

    Thank you once againm whole-heartedly!

    Best Regards, Devesh

  4. Brian Kim Says:


    Thank you for your kind words. I’m flattered.

    Some day, when I start traveling the world, maybe then ;)

    Glad you’re enjoying them and thanks again.

  5. Creating a Better Life » The Personal Development Carnival - November 19, 2006 Says:

    […] Brian Kim presents The Typical Journey of Self Improvement posted at BrianKim.net. […]

  6. Kyle Varner Says:

    Hi Brian,

    I really enjoyed reading this article. It got me thinking about whether I’ve done enough “digging deeper” in my life–and I think that I have’t. It has given me a lot to think about, and I’m sure I’ll be able to do some good things with it.

    Thanks for writing this!


  7. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Kyle,

    Thank you very much for your comment. I really appreciate it.

    When you start “digging deeper”, you’ll find it REALLY is something else ;)

    To the start of a new journey,


  8. 60 Seconds to Self Improvement » The Typical Journey of Self Improvement » Self Improvement Blog … Says:

    […] Find other items tagged with “self-improvement”:. Technorati Del.icio.us Wink IceRocket · Terms of Service · Privacy · Support · Stats … Read More… […]

  9. Emeka Says:


    This is one of the best things I’ve ever read. I love your blog because you not only share wisdom concisely but you also guide the reader to ACTION! That is very helpful.
    I love reading books and the “pump” can be addicting. Like you said, it wears off and you go back to the well for more. A year later, not much has changed.

    This article, if I read it a year ago, would have saved me a ton of wasted time.

    Thanks Brian for doing what you do.


    p.s. I got your book and it’s awesome. Your book will replace many books in my Library. It’s that 20% in the 80/20 rule. I’ll write a full review at some point when I’m done with it. Thanks again!

  10. Brian Kim Says:


    Thank you so much for the kind words! I really appreciate it.

    If I read this article many many years ago, I know it would’ve saved me a TON of time as well.

    Good to know you think my book is awesome! I happen to think so myself ;)

    Looking forward to your full review :)

    All the best,


  11. Cameron Says:

    Hey Brian,

    That was the first of your articles I read, and it was amazing! I felt like you were a personal friend of mine just describing me to myself! lol. I feel ready to move onto Phase 3 now, and I don’t feel so bad about the time I had spent in phase 1. Thank you so much.

  12. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Cameron,

    Thank you for the kind words. I really appreciate it!

    It’s good to know you’re moving on to phase 3. One more and you’re home free ;)


  13. Galba Bright Says:

    Hello Brian:

    I think this is a very insightful article. I can relate to it well. Keep up the great writing.

  14. Marj Says:

    Hi Brian, Thank you so much for writing this article. Now I understand how I seem to read one self help book after another and not achieve much. It was like an addiction! I’m so glad you’ve addressed this issue, it all makes sense now. I didn’t know it happened to other people too!

    Wishing you happiness, Marj.

  15. Brian Kim Says:


    No problem. I’m glad the article has helped.

    There are a lot of people out there who have the same problem, and more than you think!

  16. Edsil Puno Says:

    Wow this is really great! I can relate to your article. Thanks a lot Brian! :)

  17. Brian Kim Says:


    Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it!

    It’s great to see you can relate as well :)

  18. Den typiske rejse gennem selvforbedring - thomaswagner.dk Says:

    […] Den originale artikel findes pĂĄ http://briankim.net/blog/2006/11/the-typical-journey-of-self-improvement/. […]

  19. Den typiske rejse gennem selvforbedring - thomaswagner.dk Says:

    […] Den originale artikel findes pĂĄ http://briankim.net/blog/2006/11/the-typical-journey-of-self-improvement/. […]

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