Why traditional personal development has become outdated for elite entrepreneurs


Since ancient times, ambitious leaders have sought to increase their impact and maximize their potential through inner explorations and personal development. This practice may have begun when Aristotle turned his observing eye back to himself to ensure it was as evolved and relevant as possible, paving the way for other conscious leaders to do the same.

Centuries later, Carl Jung’s work on individuation provided a framework for understanding and leveraging our development engines, and Albert Bandura revealed how self-efficacy could improve our performance and support our success. These and other developments have awakened the understanding that certain techniques and practices can change our behavior and improve our abilities to pursue and achieve our goals. Yet deep self-analysis and conscious improvement were mostly reserved for visionary leaders and academics.

Then, in the modern era of business, personal development became mainstream. It has grown from a field of psychological study into a growing industry which, in 2021, was valued at more than 40 billion dollars. Complex concepts of self-analysis have been watered down to reach a wider audience. Courses and books have shrunk in size, reducing complex and nuanced systems of self-improvement to a few simple steps. Personal development has grown in popularity, but the power it was meant to instill in individuals has been diluted.


This can be especially frustrating for those exploring the high altitudes of entrepreneurship; those who have reached the top of their field and are looking for ways to climb even higher. As an elite entrepreneur, you may find that most of the personal development resources available to you are weak and uninspiring, especially since many focus on the early stages of the entrepreneurial journey.

But it’s not just the resources, it’s also the philosophies. Excelling at a higher level requires thinking differently. The next level of success may not come from simply adding a new layer to the same foundation, or simply learning a new technique of observation or self-analysis. Rather, I believe it results from overcoming the subconscious limitations that keep you from stepping into your true genius.

For instance, problem solving is often cited as a key skill that can be honed through personal development. Evolving this skill only scratches the surface for the best founders and entrepreneurs, and you’d be better served by learning how to prevent problems from arising in the first place. Problems remain a constant source of stress that must be managed, and constant stress can limit your bandwidth, preventing you from reaching your potential. For the highest leader, this limitation is not acceptable.


High-performing entrepreneurs don’t need a new tool that helps incrementally improve difficult areas. Going into problem-solving mode is a waste of time and intelligence. Instead, you might need entirely new ways to approach life; a process that dissolves your self-imposed limitations and can set you free from within.

Traditional personal development may have become outdated for many elite leaders because it asks us to do more, learn more, and do more without filling in the gaps of the current foundation. It may help move your business forward, but it may not help you raise your potential as a human being to the next level.

One of the reasons for this shortcoming is that traditional personal development is very analytical. His exercises are designed to train us in new methodologies. It introduces new strategies and behaviors, but does not facilitate carefully crafted deep emotional experiences that allow the mind to tap into and rewire the subconscious. When you are able to change your core and subconscious beliefs, you can reach stratospheric heights.


To empower high achievers, personal development must evolve. It should offer methodologies that allow the mind to unlearn old beliefs and adopt new ones. As a leader operating at this level, you’re probably looking to eradicate all success-limiting beliefs and replace them with a new, supercharged operating system that can enable you to achieve astonishing success and incredible growth above and beyond. beyond your wildest imagination. Reactionary skills and strategies are useless to visionary leaders; you must tap into the full potential of your brain and recognize the extent of your power.

Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of traditional personal development is that it relies on motivational hype. He promises leaders that we will emerge transformed and more powerful than ever, but we simply cannot deliver on those promises. Leaders then come down to earth as the euphoria wears off and the old habitual and limiting thoughts come back in full force. In order to establish a new default thought pattern, you must engage in a process that brings about permanent, internal, and lasting change.

Setting new goals or increasing willpower cannot serve you as an elite leader seeking quantum change in efficiency and success. Inner barriers must be overcome and unconscious mental blocks must be dismantled. Personal development should become a process that multiplies your effectiveness and success, rather than adding to it.

Jean-Paul Gravel is the founder and CEO of Through conversation.


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