(Ray Kroc, 1902~1984, founder of McDonalds)
We are all interested in personal development, aren’t we? Well, it is about growth and progress, for without it, personal development would have no meaning. The journey to self-improvement isn’t always smooth. Tom complained to the leader of his personal development group, saying, “I have worked hard and long, and yet I haven’t improved. I am still an ordinary person rife with flaws.” The leader answered, “You have learned that you are ordinary and have flaws, and this is itself a worthy accomplishment. After all, all change must begin with an awareness of our weaknesses.”
After becoming aware of our shortcomings, we next need to sense the power that permeates the universe. Allow yourself to feel the force that encourages a sequoia seed, which is smaller than an oatmeal flake, to burst through the earth and soar 200 feet into the air. That incredible, creative life force surges through your veins as well as the sequoia tree. If you were aware of your innate power and the boundless opportunities that surround you, you would never experience doubt or fear again.
Even though your understanding of your personal power may be limited at this moment, you can still begin the journey of personal development by following this simple G.R.O.W.T.H. formula:
G.row wiser, gentler, kinder. Grow more understanding, accepting, encouraging, helpful, generous, and compassionate. Grow better by being better.
R.elease your power by doing what you should instead of what you feel like. You already know what to do. Yet you sometimes avoid doing it because you feel like doing something else. Whenever you don’t feel like doing what needs to be done, welcome it because it is an opportunity to develop self-discipline. Feel the discomfit, smile, and do what needs to be done.
O.pen your mind and heart. Open your eyes to your faults to overcome them and open your eyes to the strengths of others to appreciate them. You will grow in power to the degree that you get along with others. Honor everyone by being civil, thoughtful, considerate, and helpful.
W.elcome life into your heart, for it invites us to become adventurers. It invites us to stop whining and start shining, to stop being a victim and start being a victor. It invites us to journey on a quest to discover, uncover, and recover our potential. It invites us to become the hero in our life story by living courageously. It invites us to lead potent lives in which we make a difference by contributing and adding to it.
T.ransform what ordinary people call ‘problems’ into what winners recognize as challenges, opportunities, and solutions waiting to be discovered.
H.unger for perfection. Don’t become obsessed; don’t become a perfectionist. Rather, make it your policy to always do your best.
These six steps are simple enough to do. Yet, they will add value to everyday as well as sharpen your skills and understanding.
1. Recognize that life is synonymous with growth and its absence equates with death. Choose life. Choose growth.
2. To begin your journey of self-growth, see yourself as you want to be. Ask yourself:
What do I want?
Why do I want it?
What’s stopping me from getting it?
What will I do about it?
When will I begin?
Plan to grow in all areas of life — mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical.
3. Unlock your ability to change by using the power of choice. What is it that you have to choose? To go forward toward growth instead of back toward safety. You have to choose courage instead of comfort. It is only by giving up the security of your comfort zone that you can gain the security of being a champion.
4. Although it’s true that we find comfort among those who agree with us, it is from those who don’t that we will find growth. And every time we encourage rather than correct another, we grow a little bit greater. If you absolutely must make some positive criticism (perhaps to your child or student), follow the advice of Frank A. Clark (1911~1990), “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” Our goal should be to treat everyone courteously and befriend as many people as possible. Yet, as Plato (428~347 BC) cautioned, “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.” So, choose your close friends carefully.
5. Trees that grow in stormy areas make the best timber. What storms do to trees, challenges do to us — they make us stronger. So, the problem we face is not how to make life easier, but how to make ourselves stronger. Or, as M. Scott Peck (1936~2005) wrote, “Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally or spiritually. When we desire to encourage the growth of the human spirit, we challenge and encourage the human capacity to solve problems.” Our goal should be to constantly stretch ourselves beyond the point we have already mastered.
6. Self-growth is also about always remaining fresh, for as singer Loretta Lynn said, “you’ve got to continue to grow or else you’re just like last night’s cornbread — stale and dry.”
7. Most likely you already have many accomplishments, but we want to avoid living in the past and resting on our laurels. Rather, we ought to use our past successes to remind us what we are capable of and to inspire us to do more.
8. We mustn’t mistake motion for growth. At times we may make ourselves appear busy when in fact we are engaged in frivolous or useless activity. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from time to time. After all, we don’t want to burn ourselves out. But we need to be honest with ourselves and balance work with play.
9. Although it is often said that there is no growth without dissatisfaction that needn’t be the case. Often it is the opposite. That is, our gains can act as motivation to strive harder; we need not be discontent.
10. The great reward of self-growth is not what we receive as much as it is what we become. In a word, growth in not what we have but what we are. It is not about what possessions we surround ourselves with, but about what qualities we surround others with.
11. Those who pursue happiness, will find it eludes them. But if we focus on our family, the needs of others, our job, getting along with others, and doing the best we can, happiness will find us. Happiness is simply the natural consequence of doing the right thing.
Self-growth, then, is about making the right choices. Choosing a positive outlook, rather than a negative one, choosing to focus on what we have rather than what we lack, counting our blessings instead of searching for things to complain about, and welcoming the challenges that life so graciously presents us with. It is also about recognizing that although change is inevitable, growth is a choice we make.
Remember These Encouraging Words:
“Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don’t look back at it too long. Mistakes are life’s way of teaching you. Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit. Your turn will come.” —Og Mandino (1923~1996)
“To get ahead, work ahead. To enjoy bigger rewards later, make an extra effort now. When you’ve already done what must be done, take the opportunity to do more. When you’re on a roll creating value, keep on rolling as long as you possibly can. Productive, meaningful effort adds real and lasting richness to your world. Never pass up an opportunity to engage in it. It can be tempting to sit back and rest on your past efforts and accomplishments. Keep in mind, though, that when you’re not moving forward you’re falling behind. Look at the work you do not as a burden or as a punishment. See it for the immensely valuable opportunity it is. With your work, with your efforts, you can create meaningful and substantial value. Embrace the work, build the value, and move straight ahead in the direction of your dreams. —Ralph Marston (http://greatday.com/)