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Personal Development Introduction

Personal Development Picture
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

Have you wondered what is the secret to success? Why do your relationships end up on breakups? Why can’t you get to the next level financially? Why don’t you feel fulfilled with your career? Why are you not inspired academically? We are actually asking ourselves these questions everyday in different ways but we don’t notice them because they are all internal questions that we naturally don’t have definite answers to. If you can relate, it’s most probably because you have not given much thought about Personal Development.

So what is Personal Development? Basically, it is the process of reaching your best form in every aspect of your life. According to Wikipedia, “Personal development consists of activities that develop a person’s capabilities and potential, build human capital, facilitate employability, and enhance quality of life and the realization of dreams and aspirations.” If you think you can do better than what your current state today, this is the best time for you to self-reflect, have an overview of your life and open your mind to the possible changes necessary to step up.

You may have read about Personal Development before in a news article, blog and magazine or watched a video about it in YouTube or Facebook Watch. We have collected the most important information to save you time. Instead of spending a lot of time searching about them, we invite you to go through our comprehensive list of Personal Development principles which will guide you to be the best version of yourself. Please read actively, absorb the learnings and set your day 1 to apply these principles as soon as possible because there is no such thing as too late in Personal Development. This is your day!

Before we go through our list, it’s good to identify what are the major aspects of our lives as human beings. They affect each other and they define success as a whole. Usually they are:

  1. Physical
  2. Spiritual
  3. Relationships
  4. Academic
  5. Professional
  6. Financial
  7. Mental
  8. Social
  9. Intellectual

Summary by Learnings

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

The book I would recommend in Personal Development is Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. Basically, the book emphasized a singular message which needs to be absorbed by the reader and that is to do the little positive actions which will ultimately result in you becoming the best version of yourself. Expressed as if they are magic phrases/statements, below are the key learnings one will gain from the book.

  1. The Philosophy
    • ..if we don’t change the way you think, then you’ll have rearranged what I said by the time you leave..”
    • The secret ingredient is your philosophy.
    • If you don’t change your thinking, no amount of how-to’s will offer a real solution. It’s not the “hows,” it’s how you do the “hows.”
    • Your philosophy creates your attitude, actions and results – and these 3 create your life.
    • We don’t build statues for the ninety-five percent: we build them for the five percent.
    • Your  philosophy is the foundation upon which you build your life.
    • Successful people go to work on their philosophy first, because they know it is the source of their attitudes, actions, results and the quality of their lives.
  2. The Decisions
    • Simple little disciplines  that,  done  consistently  over  time,  will  add  up  to  the  very  biggest  accomplishments.
    • But  that  simple,  seemingly  insignificant  error  in  judgment,  compounded  over time, will kill you.
    • The  right  choices  you  make  today,  compounded  over  time,  will  take  you  higher  and  higher  up  the  success curve of this real-time movie called “your life.”
  3. The Actions
    • ..ridiculously simple strategies made up of ridiculously simple lists of ridiculously simple actions.
    • It’s  having  faith  in  the  process  of  simple, positive actions repeated over time..
    • That’s  what  successful  people  do:  simple  things  that are easy to do.
    •  ..little,  “insignificant”  actions you choose to do.
    • Problem: ..every action that is easy to do, is also easy not to do.
    • It isn’t  that the actions are wrong. It’s that people don’t keep doing them.
    • plant, cultivate, harvest
    • ..simple,  little,  constructive,  positive  actions,  over  and  over.
    • ..implementing those small activities into his daily regimen, he got the results he needed.
    • Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do, and that often means living outside the limits of one’s comfort zone.
    • The  creation  of  habits  is  a  pure  Slight  Edge: simple little actions, repeated over time.
    • Before you can walk, you have to crawl.
  4. The Success
    • Success is the progressive realization of a worthy  ideal. “Progressive” means  success is a process, not a destination.
    • Success is not race, it is a journey.
    •  It (success) comes from a very small, tiny beginning — but there has to be a beginning.
    • No  success  is  immediate.  Nor  is  any  failure  instantaneous.
    • Hard work will always be an ingredient for success, but when mixed with a happy disposition and good attitude, not only will you begin to experience the fruits of success, but you will also attract others to help you along the way.
    • No matter what you are trying to accomplish.. there  is  no  shortcut to success.
    • Successful people look at a problem and see opportunity.

My Favorite CTA Section

“In a constantly and rapidly changing world like ours, you simply cannot remain the same as you were yesterday. You are in motion—you have no choice in that. But in which direction? You have total choice in that. You are either improving or diminishing in personal and professional value. Your relationships are  growing deeper and richer, or growing more stale and distant. You are learning more and more about the  truths  of  life,  or  slipping  deeper  and  deeper  into  denial  about  the  truths  of  life.  You  are  building  your  long-term security and financial freedom, or dismantling it. And your health is building day by day … or ebbing slowly away.”

My Favorite Quotation

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” In other words, he would spend twice as much time working on himself as on the task itself.

Slight Edge is a great book to read but there is also a list of interesting life-transforming resources at the end of the book. Truly, success is not defined in one aspect of one’s life only. There has to be a philosophy, decisions and actions behind every aspect of our lives which will naturally lead us to success. Just to clarify, yes there are many types of philosophies and many of them are debatable like metaphysics, epistemology and philosophical schools of thought but when the word “philosophy” is used in Personal Development, it particularly means “Philosophy of Life.” Be the best version of yourself and be truly successful. Start your Personal Development journey today!

Summary by Content

“The journey starts with a single step—not with thinking about taking a step.” – Jeff Olson

Jeff revealed that successful people have the awareness of this philosophy, and make it work for them (not against them). It’s easy to do the little actions but it’s also easy not to do them. Both success and failure are gradual, like they have invisible present results. One just needs to start, continue and be patient because what we do matters.

We all know what will happen if we are persistent and this will be realized in time. Not instantly, magically, or on a big  break, but by the long cultivating process of learning and experience. The Slight Edge is something you can’t find in the  past or the future, only right here, right now. But, we need to base our choices on what we know, not on what we see. Success is not race, it is a journey. The first small step is required. We learned that successful people had a simple beginning, and Jeff calls it a “penny.”

Someday doesn’t exist. There is only today. Jeff emphasized that believing a quantum leap or “big  break” is  worse than simply being futile. It’s actually dangerous, because it can keep you from taking the actions you need to take to create the results you want. The duration of the process may not be exciting but it sure is exciting when you finally get to experience the results.

Jeff talked about some of the underlying principles. The principles of showing up consistently and persistently give people the structure they will need in their lives in portions they can handle. Have a good attitude (positive outlook on life), beware of distractions and embrace the tough times as part of the process. Stay happy: happiness is the precursor to success, not merely the result.  In business for example, happy employees and happy customers equals success. We need to show up, be consistent and  have a good attitude.

Read a good book more than once, have a solid desire to change the trajectory of your life and do the daily disciplines when no one is watching. All this is possible with hard work and a desire to change. Most people hold time as their enemy; they seek to avoid the passage of time and strive to have results now. Successful people understand that time is their friend/ally; time will be your friend or your enemy; it will promote you or expose you. Avoid blaming, despise self-entitlement, take responsibility, don’t dwell in the past and be real to yourself. That will create a positive ripple effect to others.

Master these things but note that mastery is a state of mind that lies at the very beginning, not at the end. Either you let go of where you are and get to where you could be, or you hang onto where you are and give up where you could be. There is a gap of natural tension between where you are now and where you want to be but remember that the size of the problem determines the size of the person. Also, be careful who you share your dreams with and don’t spend much time on what other people think of you.

Give yourself something to work toward constantly. Practice an activity called completion, because incomplete things keep calling you back to the past to take care of them. Learn good habits because nothing is stronger than habit. Being productive and being busy are not necessarily the same thing. Doing things won’t create your success; doing the right things will. Regularly self-reflect. Continue learning (more) and take (better) actions / practice. This is a learning-and-doing loop. It’s absolutely normal to constantly make corrections.

Find a modal, mentor, coach or a community. Associate with people with positive philosophy. Your learnings will organically make you a leader. Write your goals down and read them everyday. Start with a plan – this plan may not get you the results you want because as you learn, there will be a loop of improved planning and doing.

Have a mindset of humility and fresh inquiry, always looking for the most meaning and importance in the smallest things. Have a million-dollar mindset, be committed to personal development, have a positive impact on people around you and always live below your means. Lastly, Jeff kind of summarized the book at chapter 13 describing the character of successful people.