I've received many
frequently asked questions and comments from readers about Personal
Development over the past couple of years so I've decided to share
some of the common ones with you.
I hope that you find them valuable and informative, as well as
relevant to your own situations.
This page will be updated with new Q & A regularly.
Thank you everyone!
Q. You talk a lot about loving the self and a
healthy self-concept. Isn't that somewhat selfish or self-centered?
Like most things in life,
therein lies the paradox. For example if you were starving, it would
be the most important thing in your life and your first priority.
Nothing would matter until you were fed; not fame, not money, not
As Abraham Maslow states in his hierarchy of needs, if your
biological and physiological needs aren't met, nothing else matters.
Likewise, if you don't love and accept yourself you will always be
searching to fill that big gap and sometimes in unhealthy ways if
you're desperate enough e.g. promiscuity, addictions, self-defeating
behaviors. As we have witnessed in the entertainment industry, many
successful, wealthy and attractive have led unhappy, sometimes tragic
lives because they didn't love themselves in a healthy, accepting
manner (Marilyn Monroe, Elvis
Presley, Judy Garland). This, of course, is in contrast to what can be
termed as narcissism
- a personality disorder, which is both 'unhealthy' and extreme.
Q. What can I do to get
motivated? Lately I've felt no motivation for anything.
Ultimately all motivation
must come from within. No one can make you want to do something.
You have to decide what is worthwhile in life. Does wanting to stay
healthy motivate you? How about being the best that you can be?
If you don't learn to motivate
yourself you will stagnate, become boring and bored, and life will
just go downhill from there. Take initiative and start somewhere. Work
and do whatever you can to improve yourself. You'll be surprised how
once you start, you will build the desire and motivation to continue.
Q. What is the best action to take
when nothing else works? Where do you run?
Sometimes the actions you
take work, and other times they don't, however, running away never
helps. First of all, you can't run away from yourself and secondly,
the problems are still there waiting to be solved.
Facing life, your fears etc. and doing some "critical thinking" is the best approach. The solutions may
not always be perfect, however, you build courage,
problem solving skills and self-confidence in the process.
Q. I do not like myself and I having
been feeling really sorry for myself lately, what can I do?
First of all if you don't
like yourself, how can you expect anyone else to like you?
Secondly, feeling sorry for yourself can be a waste of time. Make
the decision to start working on self-acceptance and self-confidence.
It will take effort and action on your part but if you make the
commitment to improve, you will do it.
Q. How do I make life worth living again?
I'm so depressed and so lonely. It seems I am only surviving minute by minute.
Start with yourself. Make the decision that you won't let it beat you. You have the ability to change your thinking
Everything is how you choose to see it. No doubt, it's difficult to
change your mindset, especially if you're used to one way of looking
at things, however, it's necessary. There are many things we all have
to be grateful for, such as freedom, opportunities, decent heath etc.
Our job is to make the most of it. All the best to you!
Q. Lately I've been feeling
emotionally numb? What can I do to change that?
are times when we all feel numb. There could be a variety of reasons
for this both physical and emotional. Sometimes we're just drained or
The best thing to do is ride it out, however in the meantime take care
of yourself by eating properly, getting plenty of sleep and
Q. How can I learn to love, embrace,
and accept parts of my physical appearance that other people see as
ugly and reject?
If you don't love and embrace
yourself, you can't really expect anyone else to. If there is
something you can do to improve your looks such as lose weight, learn
what styles and makeup suit you best, and which of your good features
to accentuate, then do so. If there is not, you must learn to accept
yourself as you are.
Certainly looks are not the measure of a person. The heart, mind
and soul are. Perhaps you've seen the movies or know the stories of
'Beauty and the Beast' or 'Cyrano de Bergerac' and the lessons they
I've known many people who were beautiful at first glance but after
they opened their mouths and revealed their personalities they were
suddenly somewhat unattractive. Likewise, I've met seemingly
unattractive people, but after I've gotten to know them, they were
beautiful to me because they had a good personality
and/or were very intelligent and had much to offer.
If you feel you will never be attractive enough (according to some
societal standards) then develop other aspects of yourself such as
your personality and attractive qualities such as kindness, humor,
generosity and intelligence.
Looks aren't everything and as everyone knows, they don't last
forever. Some have thought Barbra Streisand, or Fred Astaire or Liza
Minnelli aren't attractive, but they've made the best of their looks
and who they are. I, myself find that a person who has character,
is fit, yet not conventionally good looking, to be more interesting.
It's all in how you see and conduct yourself.
Self-acceptance and self-confidence may take practice but they're
worth working on. If you exude self-acceptance and confidence others
will accept you as well.
Q. I just had my worst job interview
ever and I feel like a terrible failure and that everything in my life
is falling apart. What should I do?
After having had many
terrible interviews myself, I know how you must feel. Sometimes it was
because I was not well prepared; other times it was bad chemistry and
more often than it should be - bad interviewing. Needless to say we
all have off days, so to have a bad interview is not so unusual.
My advice is that after you get over your disappointment of how
things went, the best thing you can do is learn from it. My guess is
you've already learned to be better prepared.
Right now your perception is a bit distorted because things didn't
go smoothly. Treat this as a challenge and an opportunity to improve
your interviewing skills. Deep down you know how good you really are!
Don't let this one incident skew your perspective
All the best! You will do better next time!
Q. How do I stop being insecure,
fearful and shy? People are afraid to approach me because they think
I'm boring, stuck-up or anti-social.
I think that you're biggest
obstacle is fear.
In order to overcome the shyness and inability to approach people you
have to put yourself out there. At first it will be unnatural,
extremely difficult and go against every fiber of your being; however,
in order to prevail you must do it. Start small at first. Say hello to
people and smile. Stand straight and act comfortable, even though we
know you aren't. Practice beforehand what you could say to people.
Learn to visualize
No matter what, fear or not, you will have to push yourself to get
beyond your comfort
zone if you want to become more social and friendly with others.
Nothing is easy at first. It may not even work out well at the first
attempt, but you must keep trying. Commit and make the effort to
Q. I have real problems with
controlling my anger. What can I do?
As I'm sure you're aware, we
humans are emotional
beings. If we are to live mature, productive lives we must learn to
manage our emotions, both the positive and negative. If we do not, we
risk harming our relationships, being miserable and not accomplishing
what we want.
To manage any emotion, anger
included, we must exercise self-discipline, critical
thinking and common sense. This of course does not happen
automatically, it takes practice, practice, practice.
When you get angry, ask yourself these questions (some critical
* Why am I angry?
* What can I do about it?
* Will taking action help or hurt me in the long run?
* What does it accomplish to be or stay angry?
Once you take time to assess your anger, first, it helps you cool
down, and secondly, it makes you consider the options. Once you've
done that, your anger is put in perspective and you may find yourself
no longer angry.
If it is something that has continuously made you angry, you must
consider the source and deal with it. This may mean accepting a
situation or changing it.
Q. Why should we accept and help
others when there are so many people that take advantage of us and
never give anything in return?
Unfortunately there are
always those who take advantage of others. It is both unfair and
unethical. If you are the person who has tried to help others and they
are not grateful and want more, then you are under no obligation to do
Helping others is a good thing, but not when they don't try to
help themselves. You do not have to cave into their demands, nor
do you have to accept anything that is against your better judgment, or
When I talk about 'acceptance',
I mean that you should accept that which you cannot change, mostly
because you have no choice. If you can change it, then do so.
If you let things you have no control over bother you, then you are
harming your peace of mind.
Q. think I don't have passion for my
job anymore. I just drag myself into work each day. Should I change my
Right now you have a job
where you're not fulfilled. If you're thinking of quitting or
finding another job, make sure you have a nest egg to fall back on.
It's never a good idea just to leave without anything to fall back
These days few of us stay in the same jobs our whole lives. While
you're still there, however, make the best of it and learn
everything you can to sharpen your skills. This will make you more
employable and attractive to other companies. Also, brainstorm what
you do and don't want in a job (your priorities). If you leave and
don't know what you want, you may find yourself in the same boat, or
even worse off.
Here's one of my favorite quotes that says it all
"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." Plan for finding
another more fulfilling job. Look to see what's out there before
making the plunge. You may even decide to stay put.
Q. I love to eat and should lose some
weight, but I don't know whether it's worth it for me to change my
habits and give up food for a thinner body. What should I do?
If this is a question of
accepting your body versus losing weight, the answer is that good
health should always be your first consideration. If you're not
model thin, it's okay! Few of us are, or should be. Your health,
however, is absolutely worth working at. Everything you do now to take
care of yourself will pay off as you get older. Find a way to balance
eating healthily with enjoying your food. There are many tasty,
nutritious meals you can cook. Never sacrifice your health for
Q. No matter what, I never feel I'm
wrong! When I fight with people I always feel as if I am right and
they are wrong! Can you please tell me how to see through things
because I'm losing friends?
You mention that you always "feel" that you're right. Is that the same as
"knowing" that you are?
You must know that no one is always right, no matter how strongly
they feel about an issue. It's great to have conviction, but that's
not the same as being right.
It's important to think your position through and try and see the
issue from another's point of view as well. To only see it from your
own point is self-centered and one sided and often, in the end,
It's time to stretch yourself and do some critical
thinking. Real knowledge comes from being open-minded
and willing to explore more than just your own ideas.
Q. How do I acquire self validation?
Sometimes people criticize me or treat me like I don't matter so I
find it hard to have a good opinion of myself. Instead I let their
opinions define me. What can I do?
As you are already aware,
growing up without a lot of encouragement and validation from parents
makes it more difficult to have a healthy self-concept.
Without that kind of confirmation, a person is more sensitive to
criticism from others, believes he/she doesn't matter, and of course,
has a low opinion of themselves.
Without that continuous support it makes it more difficult to have
self-confidence in a culture that challenges the psyche at every turn.
More difficult, however, does not mean impossible, so good for you
that you are willing to work at it!
That leaves you with the challenge of building yourself up. Know
that it will be an ongoing process and one that requires patience,
perseverance and consistently applying yourself. There will be days
that you feel it will never happen and days that you want to give up -
Start by acting like you have self-confidence,
even when you don't. It will help keep people from treating you
poorly. Like animals, we can sense weakness or vulnerability in others
and those less scrupulous of us can take advantage of it.
Know that you are a worthy, valuable person and act accordingly.
techniques to speed up the process of building yourself up. This will
help you define yourself rather than let others do it for you.