Investing in Yourself vs. Investing in Junk

Let’s take a make-believe stroll through the aisle of any Big Box department store together. Give yourself $25 to spend. How many of you choose to purchase the potentially life-changing personality development book, and how many of you choose to purchase the latest popcorn movie out on Blu-ray?

If the sales of Blu-rays is any indication, most of you choose to spend the $25 on the summer blockbuster you saw in theaters just a few months ago.

Why do we do this? Given the choice to invest in yourself versus invest in junk, most of us readily hand over our hard-earned cash to buy more stuff. This stuff ends up collecting dust in our oversized homes.

One reason is that there is a stigma against self-improvement. Oprah-fueled phenoms like The Secret have given personality development a bad name.

(Spoiler alert: It turns out that you can’t just wish for stuff and it will happen to you.)

After all, the only people who could be attracted this kind of stuff are not serious-minded individuals. They fall for any woo-woo spouted by the latest guru, right? These people are worthy of our ridicule, the Herd mentality urges us to think.

None of these broad over-generalizations are true, by the way. If the huge business that self-help brings in each year is any indication, we are a culture desperately seeking something more meaningful in life than materialism and consumerism.

Why You Fear Real Change in Your Life

The real motivation behind avoiding anything that smacks of personality development or self-help is fear.

Fear that the book or program or course or webinar in front of you really could change your life.

Fear that buying it might force you to take a hard look at the way you are living.

Fear of discovering that you are not truly happy with the path you are on.

Fear of putting in the work to change that reality.

Fear of realizing that you’ve wasted so much precious time.

Honest introspection is tough. Sometimes it’s brutal and emotionally draining.

But life-changing moments are life-changing for a reason.

Life-changing moments force you to confront that truth that the life you’re leading isn’t worthy of you.

Given all of that potential for emotional distress, is it any wonder most of us just pick up that Blu-ray instead?

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