Why should we never rest until our good becomes better and our better, best? Well, isn't it true that what we become determines what we get? If we become thieves, we win enemies; if we become kindhearted, we win friends. And if we dedicate ourselves to do our best with every action we take, success and happiness become inevitable. That's good enough reason to do our best. Besides, when we change ourselves for the better, we change all things for the better. That is, our job, relationships, and experiences improve as we improve ourselves. Yes, personal development makes sense.
But we don't become better by merely wishing for it; we have to take deliberate action. If we continue to do what we've always done, we'll always be what we are now. Isn't that a scary thought? The nature of life is endless growth. So, if we don't join in, we'll be left behind. The best way to remain in sync with the dance of life is to continually be setting and reaching goals. Goal setting is important not so much for the rewards we get, but for what we become. Achieving our goals builds our self- esteem, confidence, and power.
SELF-IMPROVEMENT BUILDING BLOCKS
1. We need to accept RESPONSIBILITY. Every challenge I face in life is a fork in the road. One path leads to victory, the other to victimhood. The path I take is my choice. I am the one that is treading on the path. I can choose to be positive, patient, and persistent. I can cheerfully accept my challenges as opportunities to become more than I am today. Or, I can cringe at every difficulty, beat my breasts, curse the darkness, and wail in despair. But at what price?
Quincy Jones continues, "We all got problems. But there's a great book out called 'Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart.' Did you see that? That book says the statute of limitations has expired on all childhood traumas. Get your stuff together and get on with your life, man. Stop whinin' about what's wrong, because everybody's had a rough time, in one way or another."
"When the archer misses the mark," writes Gilbert Arland, "he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull's eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim -- improve yourself." The message is clear; if we want to succeed, we have to stop making excuses and start looking for solutions.
2. Think big. Life is vast and expansive. It can hold our biggest dreams. You can rise no higher than your biggest dream, so dare to reach for the stars. Set goals, but remain intent on shattering all expectations. As you choose a dream to adopt, explore every possibility while doing your best to convert impossibilities to probabilities. If you're smug about your accomplishments, that means you haven't done anything today. When I say to dream, I don't mean to dream about the past. Rather, I mean to envision a glorious future. After all, as Charles F. Kettering stated, "You can't have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time."
3. Focus on your dreams, not your fears. Let's call on Pope John XXIII (1881~1963) to expand on this point, "Consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you have tried and failed in, but for what is still possible for you to do."
4. Be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed because the rewards of success far outweigh any necessary time and effort. Why is it that some are desperate to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves? Have they forgotten we reap what we sow? When we commit ourselves to change, the whole world rushes in to help. More than 2,400 years ago, the Greek dramatist Aeschylus said the same thing, " When a man's willing and eager the god's join in."
5. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Don't concern yourself with what others are doing, for we are all unique and have different capabilities. If you do what you do best and improve on it each day, success is yours.
TOOLS TO CLARIFY WHAT WE WANT AND HELP US GET IT
For successful planning, we need clear thinking, the ability to see the big and small picture, and the skills to organize our thoughts. A valuable tool that will help us do these very things is mind mapping. It is a visual form of planning that is easy to learn. Mind mapping forces us to focus on the subject at hand, is well suited for brainstorming, reveals how everything fits together in the big picture, and inspires us to see all the possibilities. Because of this, mind maps are perfect for problem solving, decision making, organizing our thoughts, and making plans.
For an excellent overview of mind mapping and to see sample maps, visit: http://www.12manage.com/methods_mind_mapping.html
Creating mind maps on our computer adds the benefits of simplifying corrections, guaranteeing that our map will fit perfectly on the printed page, and making it possible to create attractive maps without the need for drawing skills.
For FREE mind mapping software, visit:
If you would like mind mapping software that is more robust and professional, but has a low price tag ($29), visit:
If you are a software enthusiast and want to know about all the mind mapping programs that are available, visit:
LIFE, SELF, AND GOAL MAPPING
Brian and Sangeeta Mayne have taken mind mapping to a new dimension by creating life transformational systems called Life Mapping, Self Mapping, and Goal Mapping. Rather than ask the user to invent their own map, they offer a template, which the user fills in. Freed from the need to design their own map, users can focus on the important details. They also benefit from a map structure that has been tested and proven to be a powerful tool.
Tony Buzan, who we have to thank for popularizing mind mapping, encourages everyone to add pictures to their mind maps. But most mind map lovers do not include images in their maps. Yet, they still derive many benefits of mind mapping. However, images play an important role in Life, Self, and Goal Mapping.
When drawing a picture or appreciating a photograph, the right hemisphere of the brain is used, so Life, Self, and Goal Maps encourage whole brain thinking. You see, the right and left hemispheres view the world differently, each view offering its own advantages. Most people use more of one hemisphere than another, so they are not making full use of their brain.
For a table of the differences on how the two hemispheres see the world, visit:
Also, rather than use words, the subconscious relies on images (and feelings). This means that when we are drawing or gazing at images, we are communicating with our subconscious. So, drawing pictures of what you want to be, do, or have makes it much more likely to occur because you will be eliciting the support of your subconscious.
Life, Self, and Goal mapping offer powerful benefits: their structure is tested and proven, they encourage whole-brain thinking, they harness the power of the subconscious, and their excellent workbooks gently guide the reader toward planning a better life, discovering their true self, and reaching their goals. A completed Life, Self, or Goal map draws on the power of both hemispheres of the brain, as well as the conscious and subconscious minds, to direct users toward their goals.
To learn more, visit the following links, and be sure to download the free templates, which include summaries of the mapping process.
For Life Mapping:
For Self Mapping:
For Goal Mapping:
Good, better, best. Are you ready to make your good better, and your better best? Why not? For as Ruth Casey said, "It only takes one person to change your life - you." Start to map your future today! I'll give the last word to the poet Robert Browning (1812~1889), "Strike when thou wilt, the hour of rest, but let my last days be my best."