5 Reasons Why Personal Development Is Hard

[Special announcement: The past couple months I’ve been working on a book title: The Leadership Mandate, 10 Essential Elements to Developing the Leader Within You. I’m in the process of working on the book cover, the last of the editing, and a few other details. My goal is to have it released at the end of this month (Going for Sept. 23rd). You will hear more about the book and how you can join my book launch team in the next week or so.]

Repost from 10/2011

We can know the benefits of personal development but often find it hard to do. Just like exercising we know and feel the benefits but often don’t do it. We can’t just think about personal development or exercise and expect to see the benefits; we need to apply action to our thoughts. But putting action in the area of personal development can be hard. Here are 5 reasons why personal development can be hard,

1. Change Personal development causes us to change which is hard because it takes us from the known to the unknown, from where we are to a new or unfamiliar place. It causes us to see areas where we need to change or become better in or at. We often can resist the unknown or change of any kind which can make it hard to grow personally.

Challenge- Choose to change and venture into new and undiscovered areas of yourself.

2. Time If we desire to grow and develop then time is a key component. This is hard because we live in a busy world which can lead us to lose focus on personal development. Everyone has 24 hours in a day but not everyone uses their time wisely, in most cases when we become busy the first thing to go is personal development.

Challenge- Daily manage your time and set aside time for personal development.

3. Money- Whether it’s buying a book or purchasing a ticket to a conference, personal development takes spending money. In this economy spending money can be hard but it’s worth remembering the benefits of personal development. Though there are valuable resources online you still will need to spend some money.   

Challenge- Make the choice to spend money to develop yourself.

4. Energy- Energy is the key that ignites and starts growth and development. If we desire to grow then we need to actively engage in personal development and this requires energy and self-motivation. If we have energy we will take the time to grow but if we don’t then we won’t. We need to manage our energy level so we have enough energy to engage in personal development.

Challenge- Use some of your best energy for personal development.

5. DisciplineThis is one of the hardest things about personal development because it’s hard to be disciplined. But if you desire to grow then you will need it. Sticking with your plan to grow takes self discipline and focus. I have found that if you don’t discipline yourself to grow and develop then it won’t happen.

Challenge– Discipline yourself to daily grow. Set up a personal development plan and stick to it.

Questions: What are some other reasons personal development is hard? Do you relate to any of these 5 areas?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.empoweringthe80percent.com/ Ellory Wells

    Dan, congrats on the book!

    I might actually argue that personal development is easy, and that “time” is one of the easiest of your reasons.

    The justification being that we all have the exact same amount of time! Warren Buffet has the same amount of time as you and me, and the same amount of time as the homeless guy on the corner.

    Time is the great equalizer! We only have to spend it more wisely. Like Pat Flynn and Corbett Barr like to say, if it’s important, we’ll find time for it.

    I really agree with your #5. Developing yourself requires tremendous discipline. Thank you for sharing!

    • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

      Good point about time, Ellory. Do you think lack of time is something we use to justify why we don’t make changes? I guess we could do that with all 5 of these items, turn them into reasons why we don’t focus on personal development. At least, I’ve heard people say, “I don’t have time.” or “I’m not very disciplined.” or “I can’t afford it.” or “I’m too tired.” or “I don’t like change.” We say these things as if that’s just the way we are and can’t change. Your comment got me thinking in this direction.

      • http://www.empoweringthe80percent.com/ Ellory Wells

        Kari, “I don’t have time” is the #1 excuse I hear.

        I actually wrote a pretty popular post about it called, “What If You Had More Time” on my site here: http://e80p.com/165PpVF. My premise – the richest and the poorest people all have the same amount. I even call time the “great equalizer.

        It really bugs me when people say, “That’s just the way I am.” I think both are cop-outs (both of which I’ve used myself) for not setting a goal, making it a priority, and tackling it head on.

        Thank you for your comment Kari!

        • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

          Thank you for sharing that post, Ellory.

        • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

          I’ve learned to change my language to “I have not made time…” If nothing else, it makes the point to myself that it’s a choice on my part. Not sure if others are noticing or not. Just read & commented on the article. Thanks for the link.

          • http://www.empoweringthe80percent.com/ Ellory Wells

            Wow, thats powerful Kari! “I have not made time.” What a great idea!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you:) Great point about time, it defiantly is the “great equalizer.” Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • http://www.crazyenoughtotry.com/ Ryan Bonaparte

    Good points. I would add that personal development can be hard because of a lack of clarity. What is it that you would like to develop exactly? How are you going to accomplish that change?

    When I advise people about personal development, one of the first things I always ask is, “What are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish?” These questions are often answered with vague ideas or unspecific achievements, which makes reaching them next to impossible. Only after clearly defining a goal are we able to make progress, dedicate time, value our investments, and keep ourselves motivated.

    Congratulations on the book, I know it can be a tough push at the end to get everything wrapped up and looking the way you want. Keep at it!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Great point, Ryan. Specific growth and development is important. Thank you for adding to the topic.

      Thank you:)

  • http://www.hutchinspired.com/ Charles Hutchinson

    Looking for ward to more info about the launch team.

    I wonder if change isn’t like most other things we fear? Meaning, the more we subject ourself to it (on purpose) the more accepting we become of it.

    Great post. Thanks for putting this together.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Hello Charles,

      You I’ll be posting about the launch team soon, I just need to finish up a couple things before I do. I mentioned something so people would know it’s coming:)

      Great thought! I think that’s true. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    Great to hear about your book! Definitely looking forward to reading it and being a part of the launch team if possible.

    Personal development is hard also because I think we don’t always see where we need to develop and change. I think it’s easy to see how we think others need to change, but we often fail to see where we need to change. We need to use a mirror in this area instead of a magnifying glass or periscope. Another reason personal development is difficult, and this may be more unique to my melancholy tendencies, is that I see SO MANY things I need to develop and change. I struggle being content with where I am at times. My struggle comes with finding a balance between focusing too much on what others need to change and not getting overwhelmed with my own needed changes. Within all of that is the idea of contentment. Wow! I didn’t realize this was so complicated for me until I started typing.

    • http://www.barbraveling.com/ Barb Raveling

      I’m with you on that second one, Kari – I see so many things I need to change, it’s hard to know which one to focus on! I’m sanguine first, and melancholic second, so I have a wide variety of weaknesses to choose from. :)

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Hello Kari,

      I would love to have you on the book launch team. Info is coming soon, I just need to work on a few details.

      I totally agree, it can be difficult for us to see what we need to work on or develop. I think that’s why being specific about our growth is so important, to pinpoint one or two area we want to work on then focus on those areas. So we can see progress. Thank you for your support and adding to the discussion.

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        Looking forward to it! Being specific about growth definitely is important. I am working on structure, having more of it in a way that increases effectiveness. I have fought against it for the past couple of years, going from one extreme to another. Need to find the happy medium.

        • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

          It sounds like your on the right path, about becoming more structured allowing you to produce and be more effective. Keep at it!

  • http://www.buckleadership.wordpress.com/ Justin Buck

    These are great points of resistance for many people, Dan! Personal development, as you point out, is an investment in every way. Can’t wait to get ahold of your book!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Personal growth is defiantly worth it. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about my book. I hope you will consider being on my book launch team.

  • http://performdestiny.com/ Kevin Cole

    Number five is a big one for sure. Being disciplined and having the patience to wait is tough. We live in a NOW culture so to realize growth is a process is not easy, but so worth it. Looking forward to your book man!!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Yes, it discipline can be one of the main reason why people forsake it. We have to remember growth is more like a crackpot than a microwave.

  • http://theregoi.com/ floyd

    Glad to hear about your new book, Dan! Any type of change is hard and to rise to the level we dream about is going to involve some tough times… those of which true success and wisdom are impossible without.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      I’m excited:) True point about going through different seasons and tough times. I’ve learned the tough seasons of life really are a catalyst for growth. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • http://www.barbraveling.com/ Barb Raveling

    This probably falls into the discipline category, but I think personal development is hard because it requires a dying to self–giving up something in order to get something better. And even though we’re getting something better, it’s sometimes hard to see that when you’re down in the trenches.

    I’m excited about your new book! I’m also putting out a new book at the end of this month – I posted about it on Monday (accidentally sent out two posts that day). All of these end details are time-consuming, aren’t they? It sounds like we’re working on the same things. i’ll be so glad when it’s over and out!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Good point about dying to self. Moving to the next level of life and growth always requires leaving the past and old habits.

      I hope both of our book launches go great! Yes, the details are defiantly time consuming. That’s why I have not nailed down an exact release date, I still have a couple things to work out before I know if the date I mentioned will be a go. At least we are releasing something soon. Please let me know if you need help with your book launch!!! These are exciting times.

      • http://www.barbraveling.com/ Barb Raveling

        Thanks, Dan. I love your positive attitude. I hate to say it but I was thinking these were bad times because of all the decisions I have to make! Obviously, I need an attitude adjustment. Your attitude is helping me. :) Let me know if I can do anything for your launch – I am at least excited for you. :)

        • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

          I’m not perfect and don’t always have a positive or optimistic attitude but I try:) I’ve been stretched the past few weeks being outside of my comfort zone (Finishing up my book and working out the details) But I try and see the good and positive.

          • http://www.barbraveling.com/ Barb Raveling

            That’s great, Dan. You’re a good example. I also work at it as I don’t like living in turmoil – it just doesn’t come naturally to me. And maybe I’m believing a lie that it comes naturally to others. :) Michael Hyatt had a helpful podcast on scarcity and abundance that I listened to today. Was helpful in terms of thinking about the book launch.

            • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

              I’ll have to check that Podcast out! I think everyone has to work at it not matter how positive or optimistic they are, to some degree.

  • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

    Can’t wait for the book. Personal development can be hard because there is a lack of a clear vision.

    • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

      I agree Bernard, when I don’t know why I’m doing something I’m a lot more likely to give up.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you Bernard! Great point.

  • http://www.hitenvyas.com/blog Hiten Vyas

    Hi Dan,

    You’re spot on about these particular reasons and how then can make personal development difficult.

    I think one other point, which can hamper personal development is other people. Other people can sometimes try and hold us back from developing, as they will also have to deal with us changing.

    Thank you.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Glad you agree with the reasons:) Great point about people holding us back from growth. It’s why we have to be careful about the people we spend time with. Those who encourage and help us grow and develop our self. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    Looking forward to hearing more about your book Dan!

    I think personal development can be difficult because it goes against so much of what society teaches us. When we watch tv and listen to radio ads they are constantly telling us that we need to do less, relax more and be entertained. Unfortunately, when we do too much of those things it can really hurt our personal development.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black


      I just need to nail down a couple things before I make the release date official. I’m excited!

      Great additional thoughts. We have to be careful about what we are listening too and watching.

  • http://www.vishnusvirtues.com/ Vishnu

    hey Dan, good overview of all the stumbling blocks to personal development. I’ve faced all of them but I think that’s what’s interesting about personal development. Conquering all those obstacles is part of the journey to be a better us!

    Ultimately, I think we have to see how much we want to change and how much we want to commit to change. IF we are 150% committed, we can overcome all these obstacles and achieve our personal development goals.

    Looking forward to your book as well.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Hello Vishnu,

      Commitment to growth is key especially when it requires overcoming these and other obstacles. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

      Thanks man!

  • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

    Great repost Dan, I relate to all of them! but esp change and discipline.

    Congratulations on the book! Can’t wait to see it out and help you spread the word!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you for commenting and your support. Your great!

  • http://www.theinspiredday.com/ Melanie Wilson

    Blessings on the book, Dan! Very exciting and I would be glad to help you promote it. The time management following I have on Psychowith6 may be interested. As far as personal development, I think the biggest issue is changing our thinking. Our behavior is usually obvious, whereas the way we think is not. It’s the key to making true change.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you, Melanie:) I’ll let you know how you can help, in the near future. Your a huge support. Great and true point about changing our thinking, that’s huge.

  • http://www.jonstallings.com/ Jon Stallings

    I think another key element change is desire. You really need to want to make it happen.You mentioned it as part of Discipline but I think it would stand on its on. Desire will then feed energy and discipline.

    Congrats on the book!!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      I totally agree with you. Great additional point! Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • http://www.reflectionsfromthealley.org/ Dave Arnold

    Great thoughts, Dan. And I’m so excited about your new book! Can’t wait.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you for reading and support. I’m really looking forward to the book being released.

  • Razwana

    Dan – excited to read about your upcoming book. If you have more than one option for a book cover, you can always post the options on here for a vote – I am sure the community here will be happy to provide an opinion!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you Razwana:) That’s a great idea! I’m checking to see if the person doing my cover can provide a couple different options. If I’m able I’ll do that.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    Congratulations on the upcoming book, Dan. I look forward to the release. Keep up the great work!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you, Dan!

  • http://dsargentblog.us/ Darin Sargent

    Excited about the book coming out. Look forward to reading it.

    My grandfather use to tell me all the time – It is hard to live life easy but it is easy when you live life hard. When we focus and take into account these 5 areas of this post I believe great things can happen in our lives, but we have to work at it. Thanks Dan. Great post!!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Me too:) Thank you for your support.

      Wise words from your grandfather. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • http://www.mayura4ever.com/ Mayura De Silva

    Hi Dan,

    That’s awesome mate! Congratulations on your book :)

    I believe personal development helps immensely for our growth and success, but I like it the simplest possible way for me :) Discipline is something I struggle with sometimes eventhough I do what I love, but meditation makes me feel better. Unless, I think money, time and energy can easily get wasted.

    Anyway, I find those who really work hard and very focused on their goals leads to miserable lives eventually. Even they are rich with materials.

    I’m not sure but I find a great support when I’m surrounded by right people :) You know, some people are just the victims of negativity.

    You have a fabulous weekend mate!


    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you Mayura:)

      Yes, surrounding our self with the right people is so essential. People lift us up or bring us down. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

    These are good challenges you’ve shared Dan. Another issue that needs to be elevated is the WHY of personal development. Are you personally developing to become rich, more reputable? Or are you focusing on personal development as a means to an end. For you and I, it’s about glorifying God and influencing others through mutual service. I think lots of people engage in personal development, but seldom ask the question WHY. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Dan.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Asking the “why” is key. That’s the first thing we should be asking. Thank you for adding that great point.

  • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

    Nice job, Dan.

    One thought…the way I’ve found time for personal development is to move away from thinking time management and instead carve out a daily space for “leading my life from quiet.” Personal development is a key component to leading my life from quiet, which means personal development rarely gets squeezed out.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you, Kent.

      What a great idea and thought. Carving out daily growth time allows a person to always be learning and growing. Thank you for taking the time to read and share.

  • http://dosomethingcool.net/ Steve

    Personal development is hard because we get used to the status quo. We get caught up in a routine and developing ourselves means breaking out of that routine into something else. That can be hard since we’re trying to exchange something we know for something we don’t yet know.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Totally true, Steve. Getting in a routine can be good if it’s the right one. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    Great re-post! Thanks for sharing. I think personal development is hard because we tend to get stuck in ruts, we get comfortable and don’t want to rock the boat. We stop dreaming and just get caught up in the day to day grind.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Glad you enjoyed it:) Great additional thoughts, I totally agree.