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How To Achieve Personal Growth By Tweaking

Personal growth by tweaking


How To Achieve Personal Growth By Tweaking

Trying to achieve personal growth by transformation is tough. It may be wise to aim for incremental rather than dramatic changes to yourself.

It’s hard to fundamentally change ourselves. For example, do you often hear of dullards becoming brilliant, slackers becoming driven, the obese becoming svelte, the taciturn becoming charismatic, the procrastinator becoming highly productive?

Yet, fueled by the personal growth industry, we’re made to believe we can transform ourselves if only we make the effort… and perhaps pay $99.95…if you act now.

Yes, sometimes people do transform: One day, the substance abuser decides, “No more!”  The layabout decides to grow up. The liar decides to be an honest person. But rarely is it a worked-on project. It seems to occur almost magically. For example, that substance abuser might have tried programs from AA to Zumba to no avail and then one day, simply decides s/he’s sick and tired of being sick and tired.

In my experience with clients and friends, I’ve found that, rather than aim for transformation, it’s wiser to accept your basic self and just tweak. Here are examples, none of which require a personality transplant:

  • As a boss, romantic partner, or parent, more wisely decide when to be permissive or to set limits.
  • Change bosses or workplaces but not career.
  • Find a more compatible romantic partner or friend.
  • Improve a skill, for example, a software program, your accent, your posture, gardening, running a theatre’s light and sound board.
  • Become a more careful, caring, and tactful listener.
  • Become neater and more organized.
  • Become a better dresser
  • Become smarter about money: a smarter shopper, budgeter, and investor.
  • Try a new hobby.
  • Improve your technique in bed.

Whatever the tweak, rather than take a course, it’s often wise to use some combination of self-study, a tutor, and watching masters, live or on video.

A takeaway?

So, is there one tweak you’d like to make to your worklife? Your outside-of-work life? If so, what’s your first baby step toward making that tweak?

Marty Nemko’s bio is in Wikipedia.

[Marty Nemko]

Named the San Francisco Bay Area's "Best Career Coach," Marty Nemko has been career and personal coach to 4,500 clients and enjoys a 96% client-satisfaction rate. The author of seven books (250,000 copies sold) including How to Do Life: What They Didn’t Teach You in School plus over 2,000(!) published articles, including on where he also writes, Marty Nemko is in his 26th year as host of Work with Marty Nemko on KALW-FM (NPR-San Francisco.) He was the one man in a one-man PBS-TV Pledge Drive Special. Marty Nemko holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and subsequently taught there. He is married to Barbara Nemko, the Napa County Superintendent of Schools. They have one daughter and one doggie: Einstein, whose name is false advertising: He's dumb as dirt but sweet as they come. The archive of Marty Nemko's writings and radio show plus an active blog and Twitter stream are at

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