Continuous personal growth involves a lifelong of reflecting, connecting, and learning which enhance our understanding of who we are, the world around us, and provide us with more and better opportunities to improve our quality of life.
To be able to improve we have to accept that something about us needs to be changed, and when we are ready to unlock the perceptions that we have created over the years, then we can start living a joyous life of change and growth.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~Marcel Proust
As we go through life, our main attention is usually on external world and the material possessions, but the reality is that the most important thing that we have to focus our energy on, is the development of self into the person we want to become. And when we achieve a real connection to our authentic self and realize our true purpose, all the external achievements and successes will pursue anyway.
“Personal development is your springboard to personal excellence. On-going, continuous, nonstop personal development literally assures you that there is no limit to what you can accomplish.” ~ Brian Tracy
Over the years, I have learned to practice and focus my energy on the proven track of actions and beliefs that had helped me to improve the quality of my life and the state of my mind.
Here are the strategies that have worked well for me . . .
- Be present: The method for being present is really simple, but it needs practice. When we practice something regularly, we become good at it. It becomes like a mode of being rather than a task on our to-do list. Whatever you’re doing, at any time, learn to focus completely on doing that one thing. Pay attention to every aspect of what you’re doing, to your body, to the sensations, to your thoughts. It might become tiring at the beginning, if you’re not used to it. Let yourself rest if you grow tired and come back and practice it again. After a while you realize how your worries fade away and you enjoy your present task much more. When we learn to be joyful in whatever we’re doing, grateful that we’re able to do that task, and appreciate every movement and sensation of the task, then we become aware that anything can be an amazing experience, anything can be a miracle. ‘Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.’ ~ Thich Nhat Hahn
- Stop seeking approval from others: When we have a need for approval we value the beliefs and opinions of others above our own, it becomes addictive and we can quickly develop a need for more. Once we stop worrying about how other people would think of us, how our decisions might disappoint others, or how they might judge us, we become free to be fully authentic selves. The biggest irony with approval-seeking behaviour is that it usually causes the opposite results to those which are intended. If you take a moment to observe those people whom you respect most, you will find that one of their strongest traits is their ability to be true to who they are. There is usually so much pressure from society, peers and media to conform to certain standards and ideals. But if we are led through life always and only really doing and being what we’ve come to believe is ‘expected of us’, then, in a way, we cease to exist, to live, and be real. When you cease being worried about people’s disapprovement of you, a whole new world of personal possibility opens before you.
- Reflect on Transformational Moments: We all have critical and determining moments in our lives. We come to a fork in our life, and we make a choice that will affect everything since. Once the choice is made, we can never withdraw and start over again because circumstances and people involved change. Words have been said, lives affected and these can never return to the original form. Looking back on those focal points in our past is a great way to look at how far we’ve come, and to discover where we want to be in the future. Always evaluate your options, and consider how they will affect your principles and values. Each one of us has a set of values that define who we are. If one option has you compromise your values, no matter how profitable it may be, it will not be worth the risk. There are a number of people who have reflected, after picking a fork in their road, “There was just something that didn’t feel right, but I did it anyway.” If it doesn’t feel right, you can’t force it to be right. “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest” ~ Confucius
- Move past failure: “The major difference between achieving people and average people is their perception of and response to failure” ~John C. Failure is a part of testing the limits of what we know, and it’s an opportunity to learn how to take that next step forward. The truth is that when we experience failure, we’re growing, stretching, and expanding. Each setback, whether small or large is an opportunity for growth. When we change our perception toward failure, then we will be able to use it as stepping-stone to success instead of a stumbling block. But first we have to acknowledge it. Our initial tendency is often to blame others or some uncontrollable, external factors. But rarely are the failures in our lives entirely the responsibility of someone else. And until we take personal responsibility in some capacity, we can never move on to the next step. After we accepted our failure, then we can look back at them as simply feedback that can take us to another level of awareness. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ~ Napoleon Hill’
- Teach, and learn by teaching: “The beautiful thing about teaching is that our legacy is defined in what we give and empower others to do, not only in what we do ourselves”. Wisdom is understanding where we have been, and how we got to where we are now. All of us have experiences and wisdom worth sharing with others. One of the best way of personal growth and change is to listen to other people’s experiences and sharing ours. Have you ever helped a friend through a difficult time and then you became aware that you feel better and happier? Our most lasting and fulfilling achievements in life are often earned by helping others fulfil theirs. As if when we help, encourage, and enable others to reach their dreams, we can also achieve our dreams along the way. Giving and helping others is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. And it may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful. “Making the conscious commitment to empower yourself by directing your thoughts, energy and focus toward what you most want and the goals you need to achieve is the first step towards creating an extraordinary life.” ~ Tony Robbins