An Unfinished Man’s Guide to Personal Development – Mastering the Art of Not Being a Useless Person

I’ve been sick with a nasty cold these past few days, and as I’m sure you can appreciate, I’m not a fan. Yes, colds are pretty shitty all in all, save for one thing: they give you a lot of time to sit around and think about your life.

I’m a firm believer in the usefulness of self-reflection. I’ve written about it on a number of occasions since I started writing for Unfinished Man, and I try and make time for it whenever possible. It’s one of those qualities that, while often difficult to define, can lead to massive personal development… another nebulous term and the topic of today’s article.

Why is Chad so Amazing?

People are always asking me why I’m so happy all the time, never complain, and why I’m such an all-around awesome person. To that, I usually say something like, “what are you trying to get out of me?” before explaining that I put a lot of effort into growing and not being such a useless human being.

Now, I could give you some hand-wavy ways to achieve that, like “live your life like there’s no tomorrow!” but instead, I’m going to give you a few slightly less hand-wavy suggestions that have made a huge difference to my quality of life.

  • Get in the habit of thinking about your life, i.e., self-reflection. A good starting point is to think about what you want from life and how that’s going for you. Most people can’t be bothered, so they simply drift along, conforming to happenstance or other people’s wishes and desires.
  • Put some effort into learning new skills. It doesn’t matter what… whether you pick a new language to learn or decide to finally bone up on some NLP to make yourself less awkward with strangers, kick your own ass to do it. If you aren’t growing, you’re stagnating. It’s very easy to keep doing what you’re comfortable with right until something comes along that screws that up for you.
  • In a similar vein, if you’re scared to do something, that’s usually a good indication that you should do it. If your friend invites you to try rock climbing, but you’re scared of heights, well… what do you think is going to help you overcome that fear of heights?
  • Try and learn from everyone, especially people you hate, dislike, or flat-out believe are evil. Even complete assholes like Steve Jobs and Stalin made some pretty good points and had some pretty useful skills during their time.
  • Do things. It’s fine to spend a lot of time reading (in fact, I think it’s very important), but don’t forget to actually take some action as well. Most people end up going nowhere because they never get past the “well… I’m not the absolute best at XYZ, so I probably shouldn’t do it…’”. If you can spend more time doing and less time on massive wastes of time like this, then you’ll be in good shape.

If you put a gun to my head and forced me to summarize these bullet points into one short takeaway, I would say something to this effect: I’ve been the least happy with my life when I’ve been too scared or lazy to try and something, be it starting a new business, or venturing out to a club alone to make new friends. Any time I’ve started to stagnate, I’ve been unhappy.

Learn from my mistakes (and your own as well) and do everything you can to have a life, whatever that means to you. It’s probably going to be a challenge, and it may even be uncomfortable, but boy, is it better than the alternative.



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Chad is the co-founder of Unfinished Man, a leading men's lifestyle site. He provides straightforward advice on fashion, tech, and relationships based on his own experiences and product tests. Chad's relaxed flair makes him the site's accessible expert for savvy young professionals seeking trustworthy recommendations on living well.

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