Are you a lifelong learner? Do you make a conscious effort to grow your brain and increase your intelligence? Are you on the path to serious personal development?
I want to ask you these questions, because one of the components to SUCCESS – in anything – is the capacity and willingness to undergo self-development.
There are many paths. Whether you choose to go it alone or with the help of someone else is entirely up to you.
How deep an immersion experience you are looking for; how fast you are willing to change are questions you should answer when choosing your path.
So what are some of the ways that people pursue personal growth? Let’s take a look:
- Self-help books
- Web resources
- Personal Growth Gurus
- Personal Coaches
Self-help books certainly are a place to start. The words of a particular inspiring author are ‘etched’ within the paper, so you can read, re-read and absorb the content until you know it like the back of your hand.
There are certain go-to books that you must have in your library: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Awakening the Giant Within, or anything by Tony Robbins, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. There are of course countless others. The point is this: when you read these books, take notes. Write in the margins. Dog-ear the important pages. Don’t just read them. Internalize them and absorb their wisdom.
Web resources. Google-search the terms “self-development,” “personal development,” “personal growth,” etc. and you will find so many resources that claim to help you on the path to self-fulfillment. Many are in the form of blogs like this one. Articles, online magazines, infographics, etc. Not much needs to be said here, except to be careful about the authenticity and integrity of these resources. Make sure that you are reading good information as opposed to sites that use inspiring quotes to simply spend money on their site, not giving you anything in return except an empty bank account. Not that I want you to be afraid, but that I want you to feel confident in the information that you are given and that the information is truly helpful.
Classes. Taking a class as an adult is a great way to gain confidence in yourself, increase your intelligence, and to possibly make new friends. I once knew a guy who took classes in stained glass art for the sheer pleasure of it and for his own personal development. I was in awe when he showed me his work – windows, lamps, sculptures, museum pieces. When he talked about his art, one could sense that he approached it with a sacredness that elevated it almost to a spirituality. This was a guy who knew that any challenge whether big or small causes the brain to grow and he was completely excited about that.
Personal Growth Gurus. Dale Carnegie, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, Oprah, Zig Ziglar, Maya Angelou, – we could go on and on, naming names here. But these are people in the limelight who have inspired millions by their sheer examples in how they live their own lives. We look to these people and their body of work and are inspired to no end. We look at their lives and their successes and know that their success can happen to us. We even feel sometimes that by being in their presence some of that success might rub onto us. These people are sometimes larger than life, and are followed by millions.
Personal Coaches. Many students of the above-mentioned gurus have graduated from their programs and themselves have gone on to help thousands of others. The resources are truly endless, and when you embrace the concept of investing in yourself, it’s easy to find a coach that is willing to spend time with you, either in person, or online to help you through some of your most difficult decision making. Many will offer services for a price. They may offer freebies before you buy-in to their program. You may be skeptical at first. My advice is this: Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. You are worthy of the investment, especially if your growth brings you to bigger and better things in the future. Your return on investment could be priceless.
Knowing How You Learn is Important to Choosing a Self-Development Path
Consider the following learning styles when choosing which path or paths you will take on your journey to self-development:
- Some of us are auditory learners: We learn by listening – Listening to an audiobook or audio web resource works for us. Talking to a friend or mentor and listening deeply to their words of wisdom can be enough to help us see things in a new light that we hadn’t seen before.
- Some of us are visual learners: We learn by observing – Videos, diagrams, books, infographics. Visual learners like signs and clever icons. We like to gaze at the night sky and wonder at the sheer immensity of the universe. We are struck by visual art and composition and shapes and colors. We see patterns.
- Some of us are kinesthetic learners: We learn by doing – Personal interaction with a coach, mentor, or peer. Trying things out. Overcoming certain obstacles by throwing ourselves “into the fire.” We are the ones who raise our hand in class when presented with a challenge and say, “I can do this!” We are out of our seat first when the speaker says, “I need a volunteer!”
And actually, most of us have all three built in; we just prefer to operate in one mode predominantly.
Where are you in the spectrum? Knowing how you learn is an important step in undergoing self-development
Now the question arises: Which of these paths is best? Which is most successful?
Answer: The one that you decide to ACT upon. Seriously. Whether you go it alone or with someone else, its COMMITMENT that will determine your success. Who’s to say what path you want to take for discovering your best self? Choose your own and stick with it.
I’ll tell you this one thing, though: When you go through the development process with someone else whom you trust, you develop faster. The best company on this journey are those that challenge us, tell us what we don’t want to hear, and hold a “mirror” to us so that we can observe the truth about ourselves. Sometimes it’s someone who can be totally objective. Surprisingly, it might not be a close friend, for close friends can be biased.
One more thing: Sometimes for growth to occur, one must reach a critical mass before their lives change. Sometimes it’s tragically a death in the family, or hitting rock bottom through divorce or bankruptcy. For many lucky ones who don’t need a life changing situation imposed upon us from the outside in order to change their lives, it doesn’t take much motivation to honor their own capacity for growth and embrace personal development as a means to bring existence to their greatest self.
Personal growth is critical to human success. We could not have emerged from our ancient ancestors without our constant learning and striving to be something better than we are. We looked up. We walked upright. We saw the sun and the horizon and felt it was endless.
Yet personal growth is not an end in itself, but rather a means to something greater. And that is collaboration and relationship with other members of this great human race. It is a means to making our societies better and bringing each other up into this global future.