What I’ve discovered about personal development and listening to audio

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If you’re serious about growing yourself, you can seek out mentorship. You can also read books. These two points are key.

Another worthwhile activity is listening to audio.

The Evolution of Audio

If I’m not mistaken, the first personal development audio to be released on vinyl was Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret. I own this record. I find it’s just as relevant today as it ever was.

Following vinyl records, we had a something called cassette tapes. If you’re on the younger end of Generation Y, then you probably don’t know what these are, but all you need to know is that before CDs, we had tapes. They were crude audio devices whose audio degraded over time and usage.

Interestingly, there are still a lot of “old-guard” self-help and business experts that talk about “tapes” today. When they refer to tapes, they are almost always referring to training programs and courses available in audio format, by the likes of Tony Robbins.

It’s interesting how fast things have changed in the last 20 years or so. Most people don’t even want to store digital media on their hard drives. They much prefer streaming media.

But regardless of what medium you use to listen to personal development material, it’s the action itself that carries the benefit.

Access to Information

Since we are in the information age, there is more information available to you than ever before, and much of it can be accessed entirely for free.

If you belong to a club, group, organization, or association that offers training material, this is a great starting point. You can plug into their materials and learn a lot, although I will say that whatever establishment you belong to might have an agenda in supplying you with those resources. So,you need to develop the skill of separating the wheat from the chaff, the good from the not-so-good, the helpful from the blatant propaganda.

I used to engage in quite a bit of material from a network marketing organization I belonged to, so this is something I’m quite familiar with. There were a lot of good resources, but most of them had a bit of a slant to them.

What Should I Listen to?

If you like CDs, then there are still plenty of audio programs you can order on Amazon, from the likes of Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, and so on.

If you like audiobooks, you can use a site like Audible to gain access to a huge library of books, and yes, you can find personal development audios over there too.

But if you know me, you know that I’m a huge advocate of the podcast medium. You can find content on just about any topic imaginable, and subscribe to receive new episodes on an ongoing basis. Plus, subscribing to a show is 100% free.

I enjoy turning my car into a “Mobile University” whenever I’m driving around, because otherwise that can quickly become lost time. And studies show that we drive several hundred hours every single year.

Why Listen to Audio?

At this point you might be wondering what listening to audio does for you that reading doesn’t.

For one thing, it’s important to acknowledge that human begins have five senses. A book can be seen, tasted, smelled, and touched. But to be fair, you’re probably not going to taste a book for any sensible, logical reason. You also can’t hear a book unless it’s being read aloud. So, you’re basically engaging three of your senses when you’re reading, and of them, sight would be the main one.

What about audio? Well, audio can’t be seen, tasted, smelled, or touched, but it can be heard. So you’re engaging a different sense when you listen to audio, and you’ll pick up things you wouldn’t pick up otherwise.

Your Personal Growth Plan

Take a moment to think about the different mediums that exist when it comes to content. There’s basically text, audio, and video, and each of these are consumed a little differently. So we get something different from all of these activities, of reading, listening, and watching, all of which can be — and should be — a part of your personal growth plan.

Most books are available in audio form. Most audios are available in text form. This makes it convenient for us to consume information in the ways we prefer to learn. But if you’re serious about self-improvement, I would suggest reading a bit even if you hate to read, listening a bit even if you don’t like spoken word, and watching a bit even if you don’t care much for videos.

How to Get the Most Out of Listening to Audio

As with any other personal development based activity, consistency is key. It’s not about listening for three hours today, and then forgetting about it for the next month. It’s about engaging with it for 10 minutes today, 10 minutes tomorrow, and 10 minutes every day for the rest of your life.

You can listen to more if you want to, but you should have a baseline to hold yourself accountable to so you continue to do it every single day. Also, don’t worry about trying to do it perfectly, because nobody’s perfect.

The Convenience of Audio

Of all the content types available, audio is probably the most convenient because you can take it everywhere you go. All you need is an iPod or a smartphone and a pair of earbuds, and you can listen while you’re driving, working in the garden, making meals, exercising, and so on.

Of course, if you’re in your car, you can take advantage of the built-in audio system. If there’s anything in particular that inspires you, you can listen to it over and over again to get it ingrained in your mind. And every time you listen to it, it will continue to be fresh in one way or another, because it will apply to your life and situation in different ways depending on where you personally are in your life.

I’ve found this to be the case with myself. Different audios mean different things to me as I enter new seasons in my life.

And don’t forget — you can find audios on every topic imaginable. Just remember to get connected with material that helps, because there is a lot of negative out there, and there are also a lot of resources that may entertain, but not give you anything real to chew on.

You can listen to comedy podcasts or Sci-Fi novel audiobooks at your own leisure, but you’ll want to be intentional about listening to content that challenges you when you’re on a path of personal growth.


In closing, I’m going to leave you with a few questions to get you thinking:

  • What audios are you listening to right now?
  • How much audio do you listen to on any given week?
  • How conscious are you of what you’re listening to, and what’s going into your mind?
  • What audio programs and training material could you be listening to moving forward? What are some good topics to learn about?
  • When and where will you be listening to audio from now on? If you don’t have a consistent time and place for it, you’re more likely to forget or to ignore it completely.
  • How much audio will you listen to on a daily basis?

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