To Be Successful, Focus on Your Personal Growth

UPDATED: May 6, 2023
PUBLISHED: April 24, 2017
woman reading book to focus on personal growth and development

I remember grabbing coffee with one of my buddies in New York City. Sunday morning, 11 a.m., I rolled out in sweatpants and a hoodie. My friend showed up in a beautiful blazer over a down vest and jeans. For Sunday coffee!

He looked great. I loved it.

This is a great example of abundance: You don’t save up your good clothes for a special occasion. You look great all of the time. You raise the expectations for yourself because you know you can always buy more clothes. This hit home for me because I used to do exactly that: Save my one cool outfit for a special occasion.

Abundance is one of those words thrown around by life coaches and personal-development authors, but it has taken me years to begin to understand what it really means to me.

I can think of numerous definitions, but here’s one of my favorites: Investing in yourself when you’re unsure of the outcome. Whenever I hear someone ask, “But how do I know this will work for me?” I already know they are doomed. Those aren’t the words of a winner.

A real winner says, “I’ve done my homework, and this looks good. I’m worth it and I’m smart enough to figure out how to apply this to my life.”

Personal growth and development is a journey

The most successful people invest in learning because they know the process of learning is valuable. Maybe this class won’t make you $25,000 richer, or maybe that wine seminar won’t make you a world-class sommelier. But the fact that you’re continuing to learn can only be beneficial.

In short, successful people see learning as a continual journey, not something they reach.

This is why I took a class on managerial accounting at Columbia University, even though I have people who run my finance team. It’s why I continue to spend more than $50,000 a year on trainers, teachers and other forms of personal development. It’s why I read at least two books a week.

Some people reading this will roll their eyes and say, “Sure, if I had $50,000 a year to spend, I’d do it, too.” They are delusional. I read those books and went to those meetings when I had nothing.

The very best people invest in their personal growth and development when they have no resources and when they have myriad resources. They’re relentless at getting access to opportunities, whether it means volunteering at conferences or reading every single piece of free material out there. Those are the people who become so successful they can spend tens of thousands of dollars investing in themselves, continuing exactly what they’ve already been doing for years. That’s abundance.

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine and was updated May 2023. Photo by Josep Suria/Shutterstock

Ramit Sethi is the author of the New York Times best-seller I Will Teach You to Be Rich and writes for more than 1 million readers on his websites, and Ramit and his team build premium digital products about personal finance, entrepreneurship, psychology, careers and personal development for top performers.