In the mind of lots of people, personal development is a beautiful lie invented by Liberalism to legitimate Capitalism in the mind of people.
Personal development: a right-wing ideology to defend Capitalism?
By asserting the power of the individual, this ideology implies that people have to focus on them more than on the environment and work hard to succeed. Then, the value of meritocracy is prominent. That’s why this ideology seems right-wing.
Moreover, personal development is presented as opium given to the people to justify and defend capitalism. For example, lots of coaches or motivational speakers talk about money as a great component of success. Sometimes, they are entrepreneurs themselves and inspire people to be an entrepreneur. Many people who read personal development books decided to become an entrepreneur. It’s my personal experience. In other words, it seems that personal development is growing the number of entrepreneurs. However, entrepreneurs are the pillar of Capitalism. That’s why Personal development is meant to be the defender of Capitalism.
The truth is that Personal development occurred in a society of individuals. Indeed, the individual has surpassed the community (German sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies has written about this opposition between the traditional community and society). Today, people have to choose their values and decide by themselves who they want to be. They need something to cling to. Personal development meets their demand… You can’t blame personal development books if it brings the solution to the illness of individualism.
The power and impulse of criticizing
People like to denounce, criticize. It’s something that comes from the gut. Spend five minutes on Twitter and you will understand how true is it. Moreover, intellectuals like to argue to prove they’re right, in theory
For example, coaching and new politics are built in the firm in order to assure the welfare of employees. Some great enterprises are setting some seminars with gurus or coaches in order to help their collaborators to know their selves better. It’s something that works. The greatest actors of this world like NASA, the army, politicians, Google, Facebook, Amazon used this tool for their teams.
Moreover, positivity, affirmation, visualization are denounced as useless, ridiculous or weird because those practices seem too spiritual. People who did this look like they have joined a sect.
In the world of business, some, philosophers criticized the fact of caring about individuals. I’m thinking about a French philosopher who wrote in a book that Personal Growth was a sham.
The growing business of life coach has made some people skeptical about positive thinking… Positive thinking is actually a good thing
Do personal development leads to denial?
We are living a great period of challenges. We are living under the threat of climate change and the next mass extinction. That’s a fact. People need to act, at least for their consciousness. Yet, if you want people to get motivated, you need to give them an idea with hope. They need hope in order to keep seeing life as a gift… Otherwise, we are lost…
If you see the world as a sort of theater where people are actors, playing a role, lying to themselves and to others, I’m afraid to tell you that life has nothing to teach you anymore.
Every day, you have the opportunity to learn new things, acquires new skills, achieve new goals. The truth is you will never achieve everything you want and that’s fair. The perspective that you will never get and learn everything you want can be frustrating. But trying to do so is something really motivating. It’s something, books of personal development will tell you. You will see lives in the view of opportunities, lessons, and gifts more than in the way of threats, drama, and disasters as most people do. It’s true that nobody has the same opportunities, neither the chances of succeeding what you want. Yet, we all have things we want to do and that we can try to do.
Positive thinking will teach you to see life as a gift, something great, and a miracle. Yet, many people see this lifestyle as a sort of denial in a damned world.
Collapsologist, philosophers… All of these people criticized the current importance of the pursuit of happiness because they see this as the opium of the people who need to rely on something. Actually, that’s true, and it’s not a bad thing. We need to think about us as an individual, increase our self-confidence and be the person we need to be in order to do the things we need to do…
In a period of uncertainty, we need to be able to adapt ourselves, to stay strong, reliable for others. Psychiatrist Jordan B. Peterson says that the noblest goal you can pursue is “to be the person your family relies on at the death of your father”.
The fight gives a sense to life
In life, you have to fight, work hard. That’s true, there is no guarantee, you’re going to achieve your goals. Sometimes, positivity gives us too many promises, but we need to have the vision to go forward, to do something that attracts us and seduce us so that we can fully devote ourselves to this. When you achieve some goals, you realize that what makes us proud is often more the efforts invested than the rewards.
On the other side, some people like the one who invest a lot of energy criticizing personal growth till writing a book about it are usually nihilists. It’s not a bad thing to be nihilistic, it’s a choice that can be understood. If life has no sense, you don’t have to work hard, you don’t have to work on yourself, you have no responsibility and that can be an advantage.
You’re more alone than you imagine. It doesn’t have to be a source of fear but of liberation. You can believe the fact that society is lying to you, or you can believe that hard work makes you succeed. It doesn’t matter. In both cases, you’ll be right, and you will live among this philosophy.
Vikings believed that life was all about fighting and earning your place at the Valhalla, a wonderful place where you’re drinking, celebrating, fighting and loving with the gods and all the people you knew. It sounds weird, but it’s an interesting thing to consider. The philosophy you choose can influence the way you live and permit you to go through life with serenity and faith, no matter the circumstances
By the way, you don’t have to give a f**ck about it. One day, you’re going to die and all the ideas, though, all the opinions of others won’t matter anymore.
Personal Growth, like Stoicism, encourage you just to live the life you want according to your values and enjoy the process, have some fun…. And, if there are tools to help you in the process, just use them!