What is the importance of personal growth and development?
If you google “What is personal growth”, you will get the following search result:
In fact, though, it is unlikely that personal growth has anything to do with reaching your goals by maximizing your potential. This is equivalent to saying, “To make this rose more beautiful, let me find out what I can use it for.”
When we look at somebody and say, “That is a wonderful person,” what we are seeing is a person who has gone through a process of personal growth that makes their personality shine. This person has become a beam of sunlight to the people around them. We are not looking at somebody who has optimized the functional aspect of their existence.
True personal growth does not depend on external circumstances. Getting ahead in your career, making money, succeeding in sports and gaining academic qualifications all depend on external circumstances that are not in your ability to control. The athletic and academic abilities that you were born with and the earning capacity you have access to are external to your inner personality.
How can we grow and become beautiful human beings that other people will look to for cues on setting their own emotional clock?
Here are 10 personal growth strategies that depend simply and purely on your willpower to become a greater person.
It is only possible for you to experience personal growth if you are your own person. Don’t be swept along with other people’s ideas and feelings. Come to our own conclusions about the way things are, and decide how you feel about the people and things about you.
Autonomy is the ability to use your own mind and to determine your thoughts and actions in your own way. It is the ability to be master of your own life and of your own thoughts and actions. It means being able to decide and choose for yourself. You are not the object of other people’s decisions and choices, and you do not accept opinions, standards of behaviour and established ways of life just because someone tells you to accept them. You accept them only because you have convinced yourself to accept them, because you have your own reasons to do so, and because you know that you can always reject them. You shape your own life.
Homo-Democraticus: On the Universal Desirability and the Not So Universal Possibility of Democracy and Human Rights ,page 403
Be aware of your natural surroundings, don’t get caught up in what you are doing to the extent that you forget about the world you live in.
Awareness requires living in the here and now, and not in the elsewhere, the past or the future. A good illustration… is driving to work in the morning in a hurry. The decisive question is: ‘Where is the mind when the body is here? and there are three common cases…
The fourth case is the person who is aware, and who will not hurry because he is living in the present moment with the environment which is here: the sky and the trees as well as the feeling of motion. To hurry is to neglect that environment and to be conscious only of something that is still out of sight down the road…
Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Chapter 16
Maintain balance in your life; When you look for personal growth, you will find opportunities in many areas. Each endeavor you go for will have its own focus, but none of these areas should clash with each other or take over your life.
We cannot become so obsessed by a beneficial habit that we lose sight of other important areas of life.
Zen and the Art of Wholeness, page 216
Change self-defeating patterns of behaviour; Identify your weak points, what are you scared of, what is holding you back? Create a plan for resolving this inner conflict.
To identify your weaknesses, ask yourself these questions: What do you keep doing that you can’t seem to master? What do you least enjoy doing? What are the aspects of your personality that hold you back? What do other people identify as a weakness for you? …don’t feel compelled to list every weakness you can think of. Limit yourself to the ones that can have a negative impact on the achievement of your dream.
Become a giver, not a taker. Get into the habit of giving to something each day which you do not personally benefit from.
How much love can you give? How good a friend can you be? The rewards you will gain by becoming a GIVER will reap for you true peace and a feeling of beautiful wholeness.
Find inner happiness; Your happiness should be spontaneous, you should be able to walk down the street and just be happy for absolutely no reason. Your happiness should not be dependent on any external stimulation.
‘Take a look,’ I said. ‘If you want to find inner happiness, go outside on a nice day with lots of sun and blue sky. Even if you stand at a window and look out over the city at the cloudless sky, like we’re doing now, you’ll eventually find happiness.
Live in harmony; How can you increase the overall balance of good and beauty in the world?
The white man calls us “Wild Indians.” We were never wild, we were just natural. Traditional people, in harmony with the world around us. We do not isolate ourselves from other living things, nor consider one creature superior to another… [The Indians are not a primitive people,] they are a traditional people, that is, a “first” or “original” people… the inheritors of a profound and exquisite wisdom distilled by long ages on this earth. The Indian concept of earth and spirit has been patronizingly dismissed as simplehearted “naturalism” or “animism,” when in fact it derives from a holistic vision known to all mystics and great teachers of the most venerated religions of the world.
Integrate your personality
Different parts of you naturally want to head off in different directions. Become aware of everything that motivates you, and of all the different directions your ambitions drag you in, then find inner unity.
Without [inner unity] we are likely to live fragmented lives, never quite fulfilling the unique gift to human history each of us is privileged to carry.
To find out who you really are, step outside yourself and observe how you live and how you interact with other people.
Step outside yourself. Watch yourself going through your day as if you were the star of your own television show. You can make it a comedy or a drama. Hospitals are suited to both. Try playing a laugh track in your head when something preposterous happens — as it often does. The show also keeps you company as your colleagues go home and you’re left alone in the hospital. It turns the clerks, nurses, residents from other services, and even patients into a colorful supporting cast for your lead.
Tune into other people’s feelings, even if other people hide what bothers them, they will still appreciate if you identify with their concerns.
As we develop our capacity for empathy, we must shift from tuning in to our thinking to tuning in to another person’s perspective. As we begin this shift, many of us will struggle with socialized thinking habits that maintain our self-focused thinking…
When we start to tune in to other people’s perspectives, these old habits may cause us to experience some interference. Often we first struggle with the assumption that everyone thinks and feels as we do. This assumption occurs as we struggle to apply other people’s life experiences to the situation. First we must consider the other person’s life and then extend that consideration to the current situation. If we can extend our perspective in this way, we may discover that the individual’s experience is very different.
You can cycle through some of these ideas, to see which ones work best for your own personal growth.