Self Improvement – Do As I Do Or Do As I Say?

You are probably familiar with the saying “Do as I say not as I do” and know what it means, but how exactly does that work in regards to self improvement or personal development.

If you are about to, or have started on a journey of self improvement and personal development, it is imperative that you know how you learn and what works best for you.

People communicate using different styles because they experience the world differently through various senses.

In NLP, researchers have identified the representational systems commonly and collectively known as the VAKOG system.

VAKOG learning styles for self improvement and personal development

Most people seem to have a predominance for one of these systems – usually one of the first three.

How does learning style affect self improvement and personal development?

learning styles can affect self improvement and personal development

If you are on a path of self improvement and personal development, you may have realized by now that it is a lifelong journey.

You probably have certain goals (short, medium and long term) and based on your personality and skills, you want to live life to the fullest and realize your full potential.

Therefore it is important that you discover your preferred learning style. This way you can take advantage of your best way of learning. You will acquire skills faster and reach the goals that you have set.

So how do you know which method is best for you?  Let’s explore these two methods and how they can affect you with your personal development.

Do As I Say

slef improvement do as I say learning style

In simple terms this is learning or doing by following given instructions.  Anyone who has attended school has experienced this method of learning.  The correct term is auditory learning.

What is Auditory learning?

Auditory learning occurs when a person hears the information and is able to retain it better than if he or she was exposed to it via another medium.

Auditory learners learn best where the information is spoken to them. They find that this is the best way to retain the most information.

When it comes to self improvement and personal development, auditory learners thrive on webcasts, webinars, podcasts, and lectures. If the information is within a piece of music, they will most remember this as well.


Self improvement books often come in audio format. If you are an auditory learner, you can absorb loads of information by simply listening to your audio-books or MP 3s on your way to school or to and from work.

What are the benefits of the “Do as I say ” learning style?

Being an auditory learner certainly has its benefits!

These learners usually have better communication skills due to the preference to verbally discuss topics and issues.

They are exceptional at collaborative group work where there is a need for brainstorming and a meeting of minds.

They can master languages quite easily and can also learn with a fair amount of ease. There is little or no need for them to read or write to get a handle on new information.

They can relax and learn. They are usually able to multi task while music is being played. They often memorize information by putting a music tune to it.

What are the weaknesses of the “Do as I say” learning style?

If you learn best via auditory stimuli, one of your biggest challenges would be noise pollution and background music or noises. You may become distracted by these other sounds and as such your learning process may be impeded.

do as I say or auditory learners can become distracted by other sounds

Another issue that auditory learners may face is the absence of sound. They may struggle if the environment is too quiet.

Sometimes self improvement and personal development materials have online components where you basically have to sit in silence. This may prove challenging to an auditory learner.

Auditory learners can struggle with written material.  They may process words slowly and take longer to assimilate large texts. So, if you learn by what you hear, a good way around it is to record yourself reading the material. This way you can learn in the way best suited for you.

Careers suited for Auditory learners

do as I say learners thrive in legal careers

Individuals who are auditory learners typically thrive in professional positions that regularly incorporate discussion and require active listening.

Here are a few careers that may be best suited for auditory learners:

  • Judge / Lawyer / Attorney
  • Psychiatrist/Therapist
  • Life Coach
  • Teacher/ Tutor
  • Sales professional
  • Customer Services

Do As I Do 

The correct term for this method of learning is kinaesthetic learning.

When it comes to self improvement and personal development, this appears to be the preferred method of learning because it requires learning by doing something actively.

What is Kinaesthetic learning?

personal development do as I do learning style

This is learning by doing.  Kinaesthetic learners have a very hands-on approach. They learn by physically completing the activity.  So rather than reading about or watching a task they actually perform the task.

They usually thrive in environments where the instructor, trainer or mentor allows you to complete activities under their supervision.

When it comes to self improvement, these learners are able to build healthy habits by practicing the personal development technique.

So tasks that require physical activity such as an exercise routine, art classes, or cooking classes that allow you to get physically involved are excellent for kinaesthetic learners.

They usually thrive in active environments and are able to reach their full potential.

What are the benefits of the “Do as I do” learning style?

do as I do or kinaesthetic learning is ideal for self improvement and personal development

Those who learn by doing usually enjoy these perks:

  • Excellent muscle memory

Muscle memory occurs when physical tasks are repeated numerous times. This is another way that kinaesthetic learners retain information.

  • Amplified information retention

Kinaesthetic learners are able to remember more when movement and physical interaction are involved. The payback for these learners is pretty instantaneous. They are often aware of how much they are learning as they are able to put it into practice.

  • Greater engagement

Movement usually rewards you with a boost of energy. This energy increases focus and the particular lesson. Kinaesthetic learning usually reinforces verbal and written instruction. This can be done in a fun way via an experiment where you get to see what you have learned in action.

  • Noteworthy problem-solving skills

Self improvement and personal development encourages a discovery approach to learning.

When you learn by doing, you become intimately familiar with the problem and it gives the learner an opportunity to analyze and come up with a solution.

Usually, there is a lot of trial and error involved. However, at the end of the day, the lesson is invaluable. This is undeniably important where personal development is concerned. While results are important for personal development, the journey and process are just as vital.

  • Willingness to take logical risk

Those who learn via the “do as I do” style are usually willing to try new tools and explore concepts. The greatest innovations have come from kinaesthetic learners. Personal development and growth go hand in hand with the ability to take calculated risks and individuals with this learning style benefit from this.

  • Opportunity for autonomy and self-esteem

Kinaesthetic learners are able to take charge of their learning.  They can practice until they feel competent at a certain skill. They are allowed to discover and truly appreciate new material.

Personal development requires practice, forming new sustainable habits in whatever you are choosing. If you are learning a new language, if you are changing careers and studying new material. It is all the same, you need to practice as long as you need to attain a level of mastery.

Kinaesthetic learners feel more confident as they become more competent in new skills. As you see your own progress, there is less need to compare yourself to anyone else during your journey of self improvement.

  • Promotes teamwork

We all know that working in groups can enhance the learning experience. The kinaesthetic learning style facilitates this process superbly. Joining a like-minded group online or in-person might help you achieve your goals that much faster.

This is usually extremely useful for those of us who have fitness goals. Working out together, sharing exercise routines can help all parties involved.

  • Foster independence

Kinaesthetic learners are extremely independent and usually believe that they will be able to overcome any problem on their own. They are acutely aware of their individual power.

What are the weaknesses of the “Do as I do” learning style?

there can be disadvantages when using the do as I do learning style for self improvement

While Kinaesthetic learning can drive certain concepts home, there are times when it is not the best fit.

  • Time-consuming

In order to learn this way, you need to have the luxury of time and this is not always a possible scenario.

Kinaesthetic learners need to practice and process in order to retain information and learn a new skill.

  • Small amounts of information at one time

There is a limit to how much you can learn by doing. As such you can only work on one task. Lessons or activities only handle one or two bits of information at a time.

  • Room for distraction

If the activity is not engaging enough and does not hold the person’s full attention, the information or new habit that you are trying to foster may get lost in transmission.

Careers suited for Kinaesthetic learners

Here are a few careers that may be best suited for kinaesthetic learners:

  •  Actor/ Performer
  • Athlete
  • Sports Trainer
  • Barista
  • Carpenter/Craftsman
  • Caterer

Most people utilise a combination of  “do as I do” styles (Auditory and Visual) along with the “do as I say” Kinaesthetic style.

We have explored  two learning styles.  Both have pros and cons, but the key is to know which one is your ideal learning style for your self improvement, personal development and continuous learning.