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Self-help seems like a viable way to get rid of your neediness or insecurities. But it actually heightens these feelings — and makes you miserable.


Because most self-help gurus, courses, and books promote toxic growth. Fetishizing growth is a recipe for depression, anxiety, and shame.

That’s the bad news.

The good news?

You don’t need “growth” to be happy. In this episode, you’ll discover how self-help leads to toxic growth. And 3 simple ways avoid the “Toxic Growth Trap” many men fall into.

Listen now.

Show Highlights Include:

  • How personal development leads to toxic growth (and how to experience happiness, fulfillment, and love now) (0:25)
  • The insidious way growth makes you needy, unattractive, and miserable (even if it seems like its improving your life) (0:59)
  • Why buying into the “self-help lie” amplifies your neediness and insecrutites instead of minimizing them (3:00)
  • The “Toxic Growth Trap” which fills you with anxiety, depression, and shame (and 3 ways to avoid this trap) (4:320
  • How to create happiness out of thin air today (without hiring a life coach, going through personal development courses, or finding a girlfriend) (9:19)
  • The “Flow” secret for unlocking a state of human existence more pleasurable than having sex (13:52)
  • The weird way accepting more challenges unleashes joy through your veins (14:02)

Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I've helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I'm therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.

For more about David Tian, go here:


Get access to all my current and future online coaching courses by applying for the Platinum Partnership program today at:


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now, here's your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.

David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology podcast. I'm David Tian, your host.

In this episode of the podcast, we'll be looking at how self-help and personal development can lead to toxic growth and this is so that you can experience happiness and fulfillment and love in the now instead of settling for a second-rate happiness that doesn't last in the long term, and if relied on too often or too long, will actually lead to the opposite, the lack of happiness, the lack of fulfillment, the lack of unconditional love, and instead, more anxiety, more depression, more layers of shame. [00:57.5]

Specifically, how this happens is that self-help fetishizes growth. Most self-help, personal development, life coaching, is actually needy towards growth. You might hear the message about acceptance or living in the now, or something along those lines, or mindfulness, and they might promote some form of meditation, but those are almost always in the service of some way to make more money or to excel or to succeed in some way, and that's because they actually fetishize growth. They say that in order to be happy, you have to grow and you have to make progress, and then they say, Hey, here's some ways to grow and progress. “Live in the now.” “Be present.” Mindfulness, meditation, that sort of thing.

But those are not for their own sake. Those are so that you can progress and grow, specifically in the area of money, but also you find it with fitness and in dating. And then what's the best way to grow and progress or to develop mastery in life? “It's by my course,” right? “Just buy this event” or “buy this program.” [02:07.0]

There are all these people who have bought into this lie that self-help tells you that, in order for you to be happy, you have to grow and progress, and now they become nervous and anxious about growing and progressing. They also have all of their old baggage and their old neuroses built into the thing that they're trying to grow into.

For instance, maybe they think that in order to become successful in life, they need to have a Lamborghini or a Ferrari or something, and so then that becomes a sign of growth. Then they'll, of course, buy the course that the life coach is offering in order to make progress in getting the Ferrari or Lamborghini, because if they don't make progress in that area, then, of course, they believe that they're not enough, and if they're not enough, then they won't be happy. It actually goes right into and it reinforces the conditions of the needy person's core insecurities. It's actually going right into them. [02:59.5]

This is why so many people who are insecure and needy buy into the self-help lie, and for a while, they make progress, so then they think it's working because the thing that they're looking to make progress in—let's just take as our prime example, making more money, but it could also be a very commonly a fitness goal or a dating goal or something like that—they see these results, because they're finally getting off their ass and they're working really hard at something, and they're making some progress.

That's great at the beginning, because if it was like a benevolent lie to get you off your butt get you going, there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, of course, growth and progress can lead to happiness. This is one way that you can become happy if you see that you're making progress and growing. But if it's the only way that you can access happiness or create happiness in your life, if you require growth or progress in order for you to be happy, then you've discovered toxic growth. [03:58.0]

In logic terms, for those budding philosophers out there, growth is sufficient for happiness, but it is not necessary for happiness, and if you rely on growth too often or progress too much in order to be happy, then you're actually fetishizing growth and now you're needy towards growth. You're dependent on progress, without visible progress towards these unexamined or uncritical goals in your life, progress for its own sake. We're not talking about progress in what areas, but progress just for on its own.

Now we've got toxic growth and now we have a recipe for further anxiety, depression, and shame. I've got three points here and I’ve already started on the first one. The first point out of the three is the connection between growth and happiness. Growth is sufficient for happiness, but it is not necessary and if you rely on growth or progress too much for happiness, then it becomes toxic.

It, of course, leads to further anxiety, but it also reinforces a sense of shame that you're not good enough or that life isn't good enough just the way it is, that you are not good enough just the way you are, that you require growth of progress for you to be happy—as if you couldn't be happy just appreciating who you are in the present right now, not needing any further growth or progress for you to become better or for you to be enough, but then requiring it. [05:23.0]

Even the maximizing of your so-called potential, which I don't believe even makes sense, because if you think more deeply about who you are as a human being, there's no such thing as you are maximizing of your potential, because there there's no possible way that you can maximize your potential in all these different areas. Every time you choose one thing, you're giving up another. I can't maximize my potential to be a lawyer or to be a management consultant or to be a strategy analyst because I’ve chosen to become a therapist and life coach. What would it even mean to maximize my potential as a therapist or life coach? Why would I need to do that or be interested in that? [05:58.6]

No, later on, maybe I’ll want to become an author and I don't care about maximizing my potential as an author. I will do it as long as the challenge is enjoyable to me, for instance, or I don't even need it to be a challenge. Maybe I can just enjoy life and I can. In fact, I shouldn't say maybe, you can, in fact, enjoy life just by being fully in the present, not requiring anything else in your life, but just being fully present with the sunshine on your face, the breeze blowing through your hair, the smell of the grass, enjoying the sensation of breathing in your body, or being fully present with whomever you are with.

You can be completely happy and totally fulfilled through acceptance of everything in the moment, the radical acceptance of everything about you in this very moment, not requiring growth or progress in order to find happiness or even meaning in life. The meaning of life could be the very enjoyment of it now, fully experiencing life right now in this moment that you do have, even in the midst of great pain, so happiness and fulfillment don't only come from growth and progress. [07:08.0]

Now, someone might object, “But that's what I mean by growth, learning to be more present, to be more mindful, to more fully accept the present moment and everything about yourself, and all of your parts and burdens, and however things are as they are.” But then if that's what you mean by growth, you've watered down most definitions of growth, at least in the world of self-help, and it certainly doesn't mean making more money or getting bigger muscles or a more defined six pack or something. If it's simply about making progress in not needing to make progress, then great, totally down with that. Just realize you've redefined growth and progress so that it can mean just about anything.

What almost always self-help is referring to is growth in terms of finances or fitness goals, or something along those lines. For the guys who are trying to get better at dating and who have found self-help as a way to do that, it would also mean getting more dates or getting more attractive women or something like that, for the more immature guys, or for the slightly more mature guys, it might mean getting engaged or getting married. [08:16.0]

If you require being in a relationship to be happy, then you're really screwed, because no matter what relationship you create with that mindset that you need it to be happy, you will sabotage it. I've covered this, the reasons why, in multiple podcast episodes. For a relationship to be successful, both parties have to be able to meet their own needs and one of those needs is happiness in themselves. Then they go into the relationship as the secondary providers for each other of those needs, but you have to take responsibility for your own needs, for your own emotional needs and be able to meet them yourself, if you want to have a chance at a successful relationship that lasts over time that has passion and connection. [09:00.0]

By the way, if you hear a little baby in the background, I am still on vacation. I'm still traveling, not really on vacation. It's like a working vacation with family, and I am in one of the rooms in our multi-bedroom suites, but the doors are thin, so that’s what's in the background.

That's the second point, contrasting growth with acceptance, radical acceptance, and appreciation and gratitude with the present, not requiring any growth or progress in order for you to be happy, but finding happiness in just being present with the now, with how things are right now, starting from a place of acceptance, and then from there, moving into appreciation and eventually to love.

Imagine loving somebody only if they're growing or making progress. That would not be what you'd call love. That would be very obviously conditional, and maybe some of us, especially those of us who are achievers got that message from our parents that unless we were doing well and doing better, we weren't then worthy of their love. I'm not, of course, saying that they actually believed that or felt that way, but that would be a common message that the child would pick up and that would lead to or could lead to an achiever persona and achievers definitely take well to the self-help messaging. [10:19.7]

For those who have been following me since the days of when I was a dating coach, this might be obvious to you, but I just want to make it clear and explicit why—I'm now talking about growth and toxic growth—a lot of people who wanted to get better with their dating ended up moving into self-help and approaching it as a kind of self-help thing, and as a result, they were trying to earn their self-worth so that they can be finally worthy of their ideal woman or something, by growing in these more obvious, straightforward ways of money and getting a better body, and that sort of thing. [10:55.0]

For a while, of course, that helped them, because if they actually persisted and, in fact, did make progress, then that's obvious and it's laudable, but then, if they require it for their own happiness, now they've just added yet another thing that they're needy towards, and this will be obvious only if you have actually made progress, so this is sort of already up an achiever's episode again. But it would be very obvious if you've actually made progress and yet you find yourself still anxious, depressed, or feeling not good enough—and that is the great lie of self-help that growth will solve everything, when, in fact, it is only a stop gap measure at best and, at worst, and is very common for this to happen, if you persist with this mindset for more than six months or so, and many people have been at it for years and years, and, in fact, then teach it to others, this deep insecurity then becomes so toxic that it actually heaps on even more layers of shame and depression and anxiety. [12:01.8]

Of course, when you have that much anxiety and then you have the shame underlying it, the belief that you are not good enough just in the way you are, eventually it will lead to depression, because nothing you've tried or can do will finally make you feel enough. So, self-help actually turns out to be quite toxic if taken, even in the medium term.

Now I move into the third point. The first point was the connection between growth and happiness, how growth is a sufficient condition for happiness in the short term, but it is not a necessary condition for happiness, and if you rely on growth solely or too much to generate happiness, it can easily become toxic. That was the first point. Second point was on growth versus acceptance, okay.

Now the third point is on a healthy kind of growth. There's toxic growth, which is very common in self-help, but there's also a healthy growth where the growth is actually enjoyable, so you are doing it for its own sake because you enjoy it intrinsically, not because you need growth or progress in order to be happy. [13:05.4]

Now I’ve got to invoke the all-important concept of flow. This is the concept that was developed first by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and is now a super important concept. I'm pretty sure everyone is familiar with it, the scientific concept of flow. With flow, one of the pre-conditions, one of the most important preconditions, is that there's a challenge in that you have the resources to meet that challenge.

One of the misconceptions that people have when I share about this fetishizing of growth and toxic growth is that they think I'm promoting this idea that, if it's not enjoyable, then you shouldn't do it, or that all of life should be enjoyable or lack pain or suffering or something like that. That is, of course, not what I mean when I'm talking about toxic growth, and it's very obvious, if you just think about this concept of flow. [13:52.8]

Flow has been shown by extensive research to be “the” most enjoyable state of human existence, even more than having sex. Of course, to enter this state of flow, you require a challenge. Unfortunately, most people perceive challenge as pain, and then they don't enter into flow because they lack the resources to meet that challenge, so they require very few challenges in their lives.

Unfortunately, the current political climate at universities with the cancel culture sort of micro-expressions and safe spaces has really coddled young people these days so that they really don't perceive challenges in a positive way. They see them as pains that should be done away with, but then that's really unfortunate because then they'll never actually be able to experience flow or not experience flow in anything other than the most basic situations. It's like somebody who can only enjoy playing video games at the most basic level, and then once it gets past a beginner level, then they just freak out and they don't enjoy it anymore. That would suck and that's sort of how life is for many people, maybe the majority of people these days. [15:00.0]

But notice how the most enjoyable state of human existence requires challenge and you can actually enjoy challenge. That's actually what flow is, that the concept is telling us that the thing that we enjoy the most is a challenge or facing a challenge that we have the resources to meet.

Along the way, of course, the more of these challenges that you face that are right at the edge of your skill level or comfort zone, obviously, the more you'll grow as a natural response. As a natural result, you will have growth and progress. But it's not looking at the growth and progress and, therefore, making you happy. That's what the self-help lie is telling you and it makes you dependent on this thing that is not flow where you step out of flow and go, “Huh,” pat yourself on the back, “Look at the progress I’ve made, and, therefore, I'm now happy.” That can quickly lead to toxic fetishizing of growth and further anxiety, because then you have to keep doing that, keep making progress, in order to be, therefore, happy and to feel like you're finally enough. [16:00.3]

But, instead, the right way to do it is to have growth and progress as a byproduct of living your life, and the ideal state would be flow. Of course, you're not going to be in flow 24 hours a day. Obviously, the more flow that you can incorporate into your life, the more enjoyable your life will be. But, again, enjoyment in terms of having a challenge and the resources to meet that challenge, right? You've got to have a challenge.

It's not about just sitting on a beach and looking up at the sky all day. That's probably not going to help you get into flow, unless you're totally burnt out, all right? At some point that gets really boring and the human mind needs more challenge, but if you approach challenge as something that is negative that you don't want to have in your life, then you're not only not going to experience much flow in your life, but you're not going to experience much happiness, and then, of course, you're not going to experience much growth or progress anyway.

For all of those, for all of you who are actually looking for more growth and progress in your life, because you want to make more money or you want to increase your dating results, or you want to get a better body or whatever, the way to do that is actually not in fetishizing the growth and progress for its own sake, but, instead, losing yourself in the flow of the activity that's required to get you those results. [17:12.4]

This is assuming that the activity itself is healthy, because, after all, you could have growth and progress in being a killer or in being, I don't know, a Nazi or whatever it is, and, of course, those things on their own. Hopefully, you can see how growth and progress, in and of itself, isn't a good thing. Assuming the ends or the aims are healthy, then the best way to approach it is actually not through growth and progress, but, instead, through flow.

Then flow will actually get you to the pure enjoyment of it. Of course, that requires embracing challenge. It's not about having an easy life or a life of pure fun in the way that most people might understand it, but, instead, of the way of how flow, where you meet a challenge that is at the edge of your skill level or the edge of your comfort zone, is enjoyable and you lose yourself in it. You immerse yourself in it's so much that you lose track of time, when I know, for a lot of listeners, their main focus as guys is trying to get better with women maybe who would somehow find this podcast that way, their main focus is on “How does this help me get better with women?” [18:17.4]

Kudos few already, if that's your main motivation for sticking with this episode, but, obviously, when it comes to the dating situation, what you should ideally be doing is being in flow with the people that you're interacting with, and a really great date would be one in which you are in flow, where everything just flows freely and smoothly, and you're not having to think about it too hard. You're not being self-conscious about it. You're just fully present with the other person in your conversation or your interaction, or engagement or whatever it is.

Now, what actually prevents guys from entering flow? It's their insecurities. It's their self-doubts and all of their anxieties, and so that's why I recommend the therapeutic approach, which is the focus of this entire podcast series, all of these 60-something episodes now. Go through the rest of the podcast as well as all my other content. [19:10.0]

If you want to go deeper into the therapeutic process, obviously, I have the Platinum Partnership, which gives you access to all of the recorded courses. You don't have to make progress in them to be happy, though. Instead, they will be giving you knowledge and insights, and giving you meditative exercises that you just follow along and do, and, hopefully, you will be able to enter flow in them.

Just naturally, along the way, you'll discover when you look back that, oh, you've made this progress, but that's not what will make you happy, though that will make you happy, because, of course, it is sufficient for creating happiness in the short term. But what will really be sustaining you in a fulfilling state is the fact that it's fulfilling, in and of itself. The activity itself is fulfilling, whether you make progress or not. That's just icing on the cake because, when you come out of flow, then you might look back and go, Oh, yeah, I’ve made some progress, that's great. But it's an enjoyment of the challenge, the activity itself that is fun and enjoyable, right? The actual challenge. [20:07.4]

If you can enjoy the challenge of life, then you can be in flow more consistently and more easily, because, of course, life is full of challenges. If you require life to have no challenges in order for you to enjoy it, then you're going to be really screwed. It's obviously about finding a challenge and having the resources to meet it.

Now, some people dive into the deep end and maybe they take on challenges too difficult for them given the resources they have. In my courses, by the way, I’ve actually already accounted for that, so there are beginner-level courses and more advanced, and more intermediate, and so forth.

Part of the Platinum Partnership comes with a private coaching call, where we have a written assessment of you that you hand in. Based on that, I hop on a video call with you and recommend for you the best way to go through the program, all the different hundreds of hours of content in the courses, based on your goals and your background and where you're currently at, so that we can find a challenge that is at the level where you're able to meet that challenge, so that you can enjoy the actual process, in and of itself, not requiring progress in order to be happy. But, of course, you will make progress if you lose yourself in the actual activity and you're entering states of flow. [21:18.8]

That's how you take care of growth, as a matter of course, as a byproduct, as a yeah, it'll happen. Of course, you don't have to think too hard about it. You don't have to focus on it. It'll just happen, and you don't require it to happen for you to be happy and it doesn't even need to be there. Eventually, you're going to just even stop checking because it won't even matter to you, because you just enjoy doing that activity, whether it's being on a date with a woman or it's doing this workout that you really enjoy, whether it makes you bigger or whatever it is. [21:49.7]

Do you struggle in your interactions with women or in your intimate relationship? Are fear, shame, or neediness sabotaging your relationships or attractiveness? In my Platinum Partnership Program, you'll discover how to transform your psychological issues, improve your success with women, and uncover your true self.

Get access to all my current and future online courses by applying for the Platinum Partnership today at DavidTianPhD.com/Platinum.

That's the third point, the connection between growth and challenge and flow, that flow, which is the most enjoyable state of human existence requires challenge, and if you enter into flow consistently because flow requires a challenge and requires you to have the resources to meet the challenge, you will naturally have, as a byproduct, growth and progress. The growth and progress itself is not what makes you or should not be what makes you happy, though, of course, if you ever stop and assess your growth and progress, it'll give you some short-term happiness. [23:03.5]

The lasting happiness and lasting fulfillment comes from the minute-by-minute experience of your life, not only when you've done the thing and you look back. Now, if you don't enjoy your minute-by-minute life, that's the problem. It's not growth and progress that’s the problem. That's the problem. Fetishizing growth and progress will just add on more toxicity that will lead to greater anxiety, not feeling good enough, right? Feeling like you need to keep moving on this unending treadmill of a rat race or like a laboratory rat, that treadmill that goes nowhere and never ends, and instead, robbing you of the enjoyment of the intrinsic enjoyment of the very present moment. That actually is what flow does. Flow requires full present engagement with the moment with the activity at hand, with the challenge at hand. [23:56.1]

Now, for those guys wondering, “How can I get into flow with women more consistently?” because that'll actually also be you at your most attractive state in terms of your personality, if you're in flow and, therefore, not self-conscious, you need the therapeutic process.

Almost every guy needs a therapeutic process. Almost all, say, 95 percent or so, ballpark figure. It's always a minority of guys who just simply lack some knowhow, some knowledge, maybe need a little bit of comedy training or something like that. But if that's the case for you, you would've already gotten it because, I mean, there's so much of my material out there for free already or for very cheap in order to get you just the knowledge, so it's not that you lack the knowledge of what to say. For the vast majority of guys, it's their insecurities, their anxieties, their self-doubt, their lack of self-confidence that creeps in, in those moments when they're trying to interact with a woman. The solution for that is the therapeutic process.

To recap, the first point is about toxic growth and its connection to happiness that it's not necessary for happiness, but unfortunately, a lot of self-help and life coaching and personal development makes it seem as if happiness requires growth and progress. In the long run, if you rely on growth too much, it becomes toxic. The second point is about growth versus acceptance and the third point is about the connection between growth challenge and flow. [25:18.7]

Okay, so I'm going to end off with a quick story about a client named Tim. Tim, when he first came to us, was very much an achiever. He had a father who was very strict and was very hard on him, and kept reinforcing that Tim had to be more successful than his father in order for his father to be happy with Tim. That was the message that Tim got, and, unfortunately, Tim's dad was worth millions at the time.

Now, Tim buckled down and achieved and, by his late-thirties, he was worth tens of millions, but he still felt like he wasn't enough, because it was drilled into him by his father who was a big fan of Tony Robbins and self-help and self-development, it was drilled into him and by his own peer group that his happiness was dependent on growth and progress. [26:02.3]

Here's an example of that, but there are many examples, but here's one. He felt like he needed to get a Lamborghini because his father always told him as a teenager that successful people have Lamborghinis. It was very specific, the Lamborghini. His father, I think he had a Mercedes-Benz SUV or something like that, but his father didn't splash out and get the Lamborghini and he put it into son's head that his son needed to get a Lamborghini, if he was going to outdo his dad, and he needed to outdo his dad was the message that he got.

Of course, he eventually did get a Lamborghini. He bought a Lamborghini, and then he joined a Lamborghini club and then his peer group started to change more and more, and he had a peer group that was now part of the Lamborghini club. That was a big part of his peer group and they all owned Lamborghinis. Some of them owned multiple Lamborghinis.

Now, as a peer group that he's comparing himself to naturally, he doesn't feel like he's enough now, because his dad always hammered into him that he had to be special. He had to be exceptional. He had to be better than the others and was constantly forcing him to compare himself to his cousins, to his classmates, to the other people in the neighborhood, and so, of course, now in his thirties, he's comparing himself to the other Lamborghini owners. [27:13.8]

To top that he went and got a customized McLaren. That was a lot of trouble for him to procure, and then, of course, you can probably predict where this is going. He then joined the McLaren club. He experienced this, what we call the hedonic, what scientists call the hedonic adaptation, the hedonic treadmill. Over and over, in many areas of his life, the material goods are just the easiest and kind of the funniest examples to bring up. I mean, he experienced the same thing with his boats and his planes and all this, and he was not making enough to be playing with these ratcheting stakes.

Eventually, he was getting in over his head, but he was still making ends meets. Of course, a big part of this was also to have what he now looks back on and calls a “trophy girlfriend”, the girlfriend who other guys salivate over he gets props for, that sort of thing, who looks good on his arm, the trophy girlfriend. [28:09.2]

Of course, because of that, he then got into a toxic relationship because that is not the right kind of motivation to be able to find the right type of mate to get into a long-term relationship with. Of course, his relationships were incredibly toxic, lots of cheating, lots of lying and all of that. Then he had children with these toxic women. At the time he came to us, he had three children with multiple toxic ex-wives, and his life, despite his high achievement, especially his personal life was a mess.

But as he underwent the therapeutic process, he was able to discover his love for himself and the parts of himself that he was ashamed of, the parts that were forced into the achiever roles by his father. He was able to let go of those burdens, finally, and as a result, he was able to discover acceptance and he was able to finally actually be able to stop the generational levels, generational shame and burdens that he was placing on his own children, and apologized for that for his own children and to really be there, present with them. [29:10.3]

One of the most amazing byproducts of the therapeutic process for Tim is the transformation in his relationship with his kids. That's one of the things that's most satisfying for him. Since our work last year, he has gotten engaged with a new woman who is herself seeing a therapist and going through her own incredible growth. I was asked actually to comment more on the partner. The thing is I don't know as much about the partner as I do the client, so there's only so much I can say, but I do know that she's been seeing a therapist weekly. She's had all kinds of childhood trauma that she has overcome and grown from.

Of course, they still have difficulties. The girlfriend, now wife, they've gotten married since then, had tensions with his children and maybe sometimes probably still does, but as a result of them being able to meet their own needs and then coming together as a couple, being able to then be there also for his children as a couple and helping them all to grow together, as a natural byproduct of meeting their own needs and of love. [30:10.7]

A natural byproduct of unconditional love will then, of course, be growth, but it's not the growth for its own sake. It's the fact that you love the person unconditionally and are there for them, especially your own children, and as a result, they grow. But this is the type of growth where they're growing in acceptance of the now that they're growing and not needing growth, making progress and not needing progress. When we call it, when we use growth, in that sense, it's really a very capacious definition, not in the same way and not being used, that word “growth”, it's not being used in the same way that most self-help people are championing it.

Tim now is in a happy new marriage and has very solid relationships that have deepened incredibly in such a short period of time with his own children, and he has, even more importantly, especially for this episode, come to a place where he does not need any outward signs of validation or anything like that, or needing any growth or progress in his life that are obvious signs of growth and progress, like making more money or climbing the corporate or career ladder or anything like that. He doesn't need those things any longer for him to be happy. He can be happy. He's happy just in the present moment. [31:20.3]

Now I'm already heading off an objection. People might say, Yes, he's worth tens of millions. Of course, it would be easy then to turn around and be happy. It's an important thing for you to realize that people are unhappy up and down the income distribution. There are unhappy people who are incredibly rich and there are unhappy people who are poor. There are happy people who are incredibly rich and there are happy people who are incredibly poor.

Now, Tim was one of those people who came to us with a high degree of anxiety, constant anxiety for decades of his life, trying to be enough to meet his dad's expectations in life or requirements that he passed down when Tim was just a teenager. He was able to let go of those, unburden himself from those, and enjoy the present moment fully and have full acceptance for who he is, not needing growth or progress for him to be happy or fulfilled in life. [32:09.6]

You don't want to buy into the lie of self-help and end up with a life of toxic growth where you can never rest where it's never enough. You don't want that for yourself because it never ends. You're literally on a treadmill, a hedonic treadmill that never ends. You're a lab rat where you're going nowhere with this, but you think you are. It's a lie and it just keeps you spinning your wheels, and it keeps you spending more money on self-help courses and all that sort of thing.

Actually, discover happiness and acceptance and appreciation and love in the present moment right now, because, actually, from the place of unconditional love, you are already enough for that. You are already enough for unconditional love, just by virtue of you existing. If you can invest in the therapeutic process for yourself, you'll know this, not just intellectually or just in your head, but you'll know this in your heart, and that changes everything. [33:03.4]

Thank you so much for listening. I want to hear what you think about this. Leave a comment. I appreciate all the comments and read them all. I try to reply to as many as I can. If this helped you in any way, please share it with anyone else that you think could benefit from it. Thanks so much for listening. I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode. David Tian, signing out.

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