What is Personal Development?
I found my very own definition for personal development. For me, personal development is the continuous progression of personal growth by expanding my self-awareness and improving my personal skills. But where do I really have to start, what is the most important thing that would take me the furthest? And what is the best first step? I really thought long and hard about that, tried a lot, read all the books and listened to all the talks. In essence, I think I found my most important steps that lead to optimal personal development:
Being Ready: The Willingness to Change
I soon noticed: nothing really happens if I am not willing to really change myself. This is not really a personal development step but rather a necessary state of mind. In order to grow you really have to be ready for personal transformation. You have to really want to change for the better. It sounds trivial, but I met countless people who want a better life but just donâ€™t want to change. The reason is that deep down they donâ€™t believe in the great positive effects a personal change would have on changing their life for the better. Another necessity is the acceptance of the current situation. I learned that you have to stop rationalizing your life and tell yourself the brutal truth. Only then you are ready for lasting change, because you are aligned with the truth.
Move to Power: Take Responsibility for Your Life
The very first major change comes when I start to take full responsibility for my whole life. It is a real move to power because now I am responsible for everything that happens in my life. Nobody and nothing else is responsible for my own fate, but me. Of course this is a bit of an over-optimistic view, there are things that are not in my control. But what is in my control is how I react to things and what I actively create in my life. This is a mind set to develop. A mind set which is very empowering and which helped me a lot in my initial stages of self discovery.
Only have your foot on the accelerator: Remove Your Limits
Still, there are things inside me which can hold me back. And those are usually self limiting rules or beliefs. Everybody has those. But where did they come from? Usually they are formed unconsciously in earlier times, maybe from our parents or by society, or by events that shaped us. The question is: Are those set of beliefs supporting me, or maybe not? And if not, how can I identify and get conscious about them and then change them into empowering beliefs? The process is thinking about an area where I am not yet happy with and then think about my beliefs in that area. A favorite one is money. What are my beliefs about money, me earning money, me deserving money, about how money shapes my character etc.? I write them down. Then I think about whether those beliefs are supporting me or not. And if not, how can I replace them with more empowering beliefs? This is a very effective way of freeing yourself and getting rid of limits that you donâ€™t need anymore.
Tap into Your Passion: Ignite Your Burning Desires
I noticed in order to be truly happy and fulfilled in my life, I have to create something and be of use in something that I and others love. That is deeply fulfilling and if done the right way can lead to great success in life. The question remains: what is it really? What is my passion? And the fuel and reasons for my passion comes from my own deepest desires. If I can fulfill those, continuously, I will live a passionate, purposeful and fulfilled life. So what is that drives you personally? What makes you excited and puts that big grin on your face?
Find Your Lifeâ€™s Vision and Create Few But Powerful Goals
At this point I understood that I am the master of my universe. Using my imagination to create in my mind what I desire in my reality is the key. The key for creating what I really want. So there is an exercise to develop a personal vision for how my life is going to look like in the future. That vision is my ideal life and it really drives me. From there flow concrete goals almost naturally. I found that it is helpful to limit my goals to the really most important ones. Focusing on only the vital few goals that make me happy the most, raises the probability that I really reach them. It also reduces stress from not getting overloaded and eventually getting nothing really done. So a strong vision and a few really powerful goals drive me to action and to build what I want.
Get Resourceful: Mind & Body
The next personal development area I want to mention here is a way to get more personal resources. There are basically two: Mind and Body. When I set all those great goals I noticed that this is challenging me to grow intellectually and also physical. I just needed more physical energy! So what I did is researching how I can increase my personal energy level. And there are 5 main things I did: exercising, proper breathing, proper eating, proper sleeping and watching my emotional and mental energy. Getting more mental resources is also helping a lot. â€œUse it or loose itâ€ is the general advice for your brain and it is true. Training the mind actively is giving me more ressources. Great methods to improve your minds capacity are: Focussed work, reading (feed your mind), relaxation, social activity, meditating and also exercising. There are a lot more, but this is what, besides my mostly mind-dominated job, I personally do the most.
Last But not Least: Learn to Take Effective Action
My last area of improvement is to learn to take effective action. By effective I mean action that is incredible productive and focussed on what matters most to me. There is the time management matrix where you look at urgent and important tasks. The key is always to focus on the important only. Start with the urgent and important tasks and then go directly to the important but not urgent ones. This is also called the Zone of time management. What is really necessary here is to know what is important. How do I know that, simply by following my vision and my goals. If I make this my center of what I do it gets harder to loose myself with false priorities. This was an overview of what I personally identified as the best areas for personal development. By focussing on those steps I think you can reach a happy, successful and fulfilled life.