The 3 Criteria of How I Identify Good Self Development Advice

Xue Zing
3 min readJun 15, 2021
Image from Unsplash by Gaelle Marcel

I am a huge fan of self-development despite the constant disbelief surrounding the industry.

And there is a good reason for that disbelief.

With all the influx of new advice and new books coming in, the self-development industry has matured.

This leads to a lot of confusing advice out there.

Poor advice or maybe even conflicting ones are provided just for the views.

This buries the good gems, the content creators with actual good advice.

Therefore, I came up with my own personal way to identify if a piece of advice was good for me.

I break them down into 3 levels.

A good piece will have all 3, a poorer piece of advice will have the first two, and the ones I find not useful will only have the first one.

The advice that tells you what to do.

These pieces of advice are usually either really obvious ones that most people will already know or vague ones that sound good but don’t really mean anything.

Some posts that are just putting good-sounding words together but lacking in content.

I personally find these pieces of advice not very convincing and rather unappealing.

For example, a simple google search of X things you should do during the pandemic and will get you a lot of these kinds of articles with the following advice

“Cut through the clutter”

“Keep a cash reserve”

“Eat healthily”

Usually, their catchy headlines attract the audience but the content is mostly fluff.

The advice that tells you why you should do it.

The next level is a bit better. Self-development advice that tells you why you should do it.

The why is especially important as self-improvement is motivated by one’s self. There is no superior nagging or demanding you to take your life to the next level.

Therefore, the reason for starting or the reason to take action is especially important.

Xue Zing

Writing about thought provokers that go against conventional self-help