Personal Development Pain Points

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Personal Development Pain Points

Personal development is a process that many people pursue during their lifetimes. Research on self-improvement has yielded interesting insights on how gender and age affect an individual’s development. These studies provide eye-opening pain points that litter the self-development pathway. For successful middle-aged career women, their relationship and sexuality pain points are as discussed below.


  • A 2016 study found that age, gender, and self-confidence are three critical variables that wholly influence an individual’s development process.
  • More importantly, the study established that people with an ‘improving’ orientation were more likely to change than those with a ‘proving’ orientation. People with ‘improving’ orientation have a growth mindset and are prone to learning and improving based on the type of feedback they get about themselves.
  • On the other hand, persons with ‘proving’ orientation tend to have fixed mindsets and assume that their abilities are due to their inborn talents and traits.
  • Generally, age correlated positively with the desire to self-improve. In other words, as people grow older, they replace the ‘proving’ orientation with an ‘improving’ orientation. Scientists believe this may be due to increased self-awareness and self-confidence.
  • Females start less confident but gradually develop confidence from their mid-20s until the mid-60s. Similarly, women are likely to have a ‘proving’ mindset than men early on in their careers, possibly due to what sociologists refer to as the ‘Prove-it-again’ bias since women are generally socialized to be less confident.
  • As they age, women increasingly adopt an ‘improving’ mindset and maintain the same well into their 60s better than their male counterparts.

Personal Development Pain Points — Sexuality and Relationships

  • When it comes to relationships, the single biggest pain point for successful middle-aged career women (single) is loneliness due to not finding the right man that fits their profile. More often, men in their age range opt for younger, less-established women or cougars.
  • But according to relationship expert Mary Jo Rapini, the inability of these women to attract the right men comes down to the way they outwardly project themselves. Rapini outlines the following four reasons for negative outward projections:
  • a) Being too critical — According to Rapini, being overly critical about yourself or your partner can hinder a person from genuinely developing emotionally. While self-assessment keeps a person in check, it can be dangerous when it leads to negative self-consciousness.
  • b) Wrong measuring standards (e.g., over-focusing on looks rather than character). A relationship blog indicated that the most successful marriages are those where the woman was the looker, not the man.
  • c) Being dishonest with themselves — A study showed that most women over 35 are actually in relationships with people they do not consider to be lifetime partners. When a woman is not upfront with what she wants, she wastes time and hurts herself. The key is to be authentic.
  • d) Negative self-consciousness — at a certain age, women tend to be very self-aware and begin to see all their ‘flaws.’ They make everything be about themselves and inevitably repel others. Eventually, they find themselves alone and stop believing that they deserve to be with anyone. Self-hate follows, and it becomes a question of how can a person hate themselves and want to love others?

— lack of physical attraction
— negative mindset (too old to be chasing men, tired of the games men play)
— not finding men that match their profiles
— trust issues
— geographical inaccessibility

  • Therefore, when it comes to relationships, women have many pain points, some of which come down to how they are socialized.
  • The influence of culture and history on women’s sexuality is also hugely apparent. In reality, female sexuality encompasses a wide range of processes and behaviors. These dictate how female sexual behavior and identity are determined. It also entails the psychological, physiological, spiritual, cultural, political, and social aspects of sexual activity.
  • In most cases, various aspects of female sexuality are governed by morality, theology, and ethics. For this reason, the major pain point for women in their 30s and 40s is the conflict between expressing their preferred sexuality and conforming to societal norms.
  • Even though the world has changed and libertarian perspectives constantly challenge the heteronormative way of thinking, society still dictates, to a large extent, how women should manifest their sexuality. For instance, from age 30, women are expected to be happily married and bringing up families even as they pursue their careers.
  • However, single successful career women well into their late 30s and 40s are emerging as a new ‘normal’ breed in American society. Regardless, the pressure to marry and raise a family remains because it is embedded in American culture and history.

Research strategy

The intended demographic was women between 35 and 45 years with incomes of $75k — $250k in selected regions across the U.S. While this specific data was not available, this research presents the closest information to what was required. It widens the geographic scope to include the entire country and focuses on successful women in their 30s and 40s. The ‘success’ criterion is based on available data, which shows that the average American woman makes $40,400 per year. We broadened this criterion to include women earning > $40,400 annually.

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