Recently I was humbled to be invited to write a post on personal development for Merrin and George from Absolute Wealth and as always I have received feedback that has not always been positive…just how I like it.
SO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, ITS A NO BRAINER….. YES?
Well no actually, in fact I am not sure personal development actually exists. Well not in a way that we are bombarded with in Magazines on TV or the internet etc. You see it all starts with the word PERSONAL and this may well be the start of the problem as although we may display similar characteristics to other people, we are in fact all unique. And the only person qualified to understand who you are, where you have come from is you, and with no course taught at school in understanding yourself its probably not a surprise we all generally misdiagnose ourselves.
This is due in part to the fact that we prefer to see ourselves in a positive light and generally don’t enjoy people pointing out our faults. And rightly so…or is it. As with our reputation, who we are is judged by those who interact with us and being human they are subject to their own prejudices which is the reason why people will say “oh he’s a really nice person” and you might think “we can’t be talking about the same person.”
This discussion often happens when people are talking about the new person you are getting into a relationship with, and your friends trying to warn you but to no avail. And it is this chemical flooding of the brain that leads people to marrying totally the wrong person, as current divorce rates show. So if we are able to so easily suspend our tastes, behaviors and even sometimes our core values isn’t that a backward step in our personal development?. Some of you might argue no, in that people make irrational decisions all the time especially when it comes to purchasing things and that in no way has anything to do with personal development…..
Maybe the first thing to clear up is the definition of Personal Development. Most of my life I had people telling me to “Grow Up” as though my view of the world and how I behaved in it was some how immature or childish, you know like not really wanting to have a “proper job”
Point one….. the society we live in sets some of the standards for our personal development by putting time lines against behaviors and expecting people to conform with them, the only time the western society puts a twelve year old into an adult status is when you are booking a seat on a plane. Yet in other cultures twelve years old is the time to get married, an act we consider and act of maturity, so are we actually talking about social norms when relating that to personal development.
We hear people describing (men mostly) ‘they are just a big kid’ as if you have to let go of a behavior or something you love simply because you got older. It is this societal thinking that has brought about some of the western societies greatest atrocities , an educational system that fails to teach children how to interact with each other, coupled with a advertising culture that forces children to act out ideas beyond their emotional development. Add to this a narcissistic culture obsessed on being young through radical surgery, and then throw in a pharmaceutical based response to this uncertainty administered by a group of people as sick if not sicker than the people they are paid to help, and who should be surprised by the result.
If you mange to live through this manufactured process we call life is it any wonder we wake up from this nightmare with an aching to know who we are and where we belong. And it is at this point of self realisation when were are seeking answers that we stumble upon the personal development path. This is not to say it is always voluntary quite the contrary some times it is our employers or even the courts that force us to that position of having to look at our actions and the consequences……
SO WHAT”S MY POINT
Personal development is not something to be measured by someone else’s standards it is something to be measured against ourselves, which brings me to the theories of adult development and the obvious differences advanced by the so called experts. It has been my experience people working in this are are keen to say they are at a certain level but the very fact they offer that opinion shows they aren’t, this should be a warning when seeking wisdom from others.
So what is this all about and how does it help you, truth is I am not sure but one thing I have experienced is that change usually is the result of a powerful event that shakes us out of our comfortably numb state enough to say there must be a different way. And it is at that point the next cog slips into place and we can move forward.
So actually people can’t help us until we are ready to hear the message and as you can’t make people hear the message then this is a totally inward journey. And I guess my point is that this is not so much about emotional (feeling) rather than intellectual (thinking) that moves us forward, realisation isn’t emotional it is intellectual. So if this is the case then who we are and where we are going is totally in our heads. If this is true then shouldn’t intelligent people be more likely to progress than the unintelligent….maybe.
So what is this common goal we are all striving to become and is it really the same place for everyone…of course not. There is a very fine line that separates our behaviors from our emotions, and which one has dominance leeds to how we act in certain situations. For me one of my behaviors that dominated my actions was my anger problem, which stemmed from my need to be heard….not that I wasn’t loud enough, but born from a life of not being able to get my mother to listen to me. This lead to frustration which in turn leads to anger (no brainer) still I digress.
I wasn’t physically violent to people but I reacted to not being heard in a very angry way, this drove within me the need to always be right and to constantly argue with anyone who disagreed. Not that agression didn’t have its good points, I was quick to support the underdog and reasonably fearless in taking on authority…..it was at the point of my life that I became depressed that the next major change in my personal development occurred. In the depth of my depression I didn’t actually have the energy to be angry and that in turn lowered my defenses enough to hear what other people were saying, and start to get an understanding of their views and why they behaved in certain ways…..BY UNDERSTANDING OTHERS I began to realise that I could understand myself and at that point I made two seismic changes to my behavior.
LEARNING TO SAY NO
Was the hardest thing for me to do, as my need to be admired was put in serious jeopardy. Nobody likes to be told NO and as a business strategy it seemed to go against all the rules ( they will go somewhere else, they will never give me another chance, they wont like me )..and this maybe true but the people who behave like this will always be bad customers anyway. It is the fear of saying NO (society tells us it is not polite, parents and the education system beat it out of us ) that by the time we get away and become our own people we have been robbed of the single most important tool for our personal development. It is actually by saying NO that we free ourselves from the users and hangers on in our lives, and the ones that stay respect your TRUTH.
And that was the other change I made, I learned to tell the TRUTH…no little white lies to stop from hurting other peoples feelings, no false reasons for not doing things ( I’d love to pour your drive this weekend but my mothers sick and I have to do her washing)……add your own here. The TRUTH does indeed set you free but it also comes at a cost and…. most of us fear that cost. Once you learn to say NO the TRUTH follows and you can move forward in your personal development.
THIS IS WHERE I CAME IN
Do I think we need people to help us with our personal development…. absolutely, we all need people to bounce things off and support us in the tough times.
Can they help us…..no this is personal which means only you can do it.
How do you start…. you already have, just by reading this means you are aware.
Do you ever get to end….no you just get better at being a human being.
How do you do it….one step at a time, this is not a course, there is no quick solution, you need self belief ( not confidence) personal development is like stopping smoking not all of us can go cold turkey.
And be prepared to fail…its by constantly challenging ourselves that we learn to change ( I looked in the bathroom mirror every morning and said to myself ” I always tell the TRUTH and can say NO” ) and one day I realised I was actually doing it……now for some of my other failings.
WARNING…once you have started down this path you will upset people you know , loose friends you have and open your life to endless possibilities.
Feel free to leave me a comment.