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Last Updated on May 21, 2020

Why Self Development Should Be On Your Life Goals List

Why Self Development Should Be On Your Life Goals List

Self development is an endless journey with no final destination. The results of this journey are important, but the aspect that is most important is the journey itself. But why is this journey so crucial to everyone’s lives?

Every so often, we all have those moments where we strive to do better, to be better. Maybe it’s something as small as becoming more punctual, or something that takes more time and effort, such as changing a troublesome behavior. But that journey often feels like a dead end, like nothing is improving. Sometimes it makes you ask yourself why you’re even trying.

This article aims to explain the purpose of self development and hopefully encourage you to keep pursuing this route to a better version of yourself.

What Is Self Development?

As mentioned above, personal development is a process. In general, it involves identifying skills and qualities, setting goals, and creating a path to improvement through skills you have or those you wish to develop[1].

Personal development is a process we all engage in, whether it’s conscious or unconscious. When you make it conscious by creating specific goals and planning how to reach them, you’re able to keep an eye on how you develop over time, making it more likely you’ll become the person you hope to be.

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Why Self Development Should Be on Your Goals List

Making self development a conscious goal in itself will help point you in a positive direction and get you motivated toward achieving the other goals on your list. Here are 8 reasons why you should start working on it today.

It Will Help You Find a Purpose

Self development forces you to take a look at what you want from life and what your values and beliefs are. From my own journey, it has shaped what I want to do with my life and has made me more passionate about my beliefs.

Many people lack a sense of self-awareness that will allow them to create a mission statement for their life. By focusing on self development, you engage with who are you and who you want to become, laying out exactly what you hope your life will look like. This naturally steers you toward a purpose you can work for.

It Can Stimulate Your Motivation

Once you have figured out your goals and mission statement, you are able to pick and choose how you want to develop yourself to achieve these goals. This will give you motivation, as it will give you a starting point.

For example, if you would like to help people, empathy and patience may be good skills to start working on. It will also give you more motivation to undertake the personal development journey as you will be able to see a clear end-goal. Once you have a path in sight, it’s easier to start walking it.

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You Will Have More Appreciation for Yourself

By understanding yourself, you will be able to appreciate yourself more. You can learn about overcoming your weaknesses and feel proud of your strengths. You will realize that weaknesses aren’t a bad thing; rather, they show you self-awareness. You will learn to find happiness on this journey by looking back at how much you’ve achieved in a short time, and how much you have changed.

It Will Create More Opportunities

When you start to develop yourself, you will be able to see all your potential, and this will open the doors to numerous opportunities. When you strive to be better, you are more likely to push yourself out of your comfort zone and seek out opportunities that would usually scare you.

Furthermore, self development often involves the development of specific skills and talents. By working on these, you will automatically open new doors and find new things to be interested in.

You Will Be More Resilient

Self development will unfortunately not stop obstacles or undesirable things from happening. However, it will allow you to build resilience and deal with whatever life throws at you[2]. It will give you the strength to power through.

By identifying your strengths and weaknesses, you will learn to be mindful of where you are at a given time and understand that you will be able to grow from any challenge. This will make it easier to overcome obstacles in the future.

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Change Won’t Seem So Scary

Similar to the point above, personal development will allow you to build the skills and qualities to overcome hurdles and difficulties. Before I started trying to develop myself, any small change in my life would create an impending sense of doom and dread. Now, I have come to realize that change is inevitable and that I can work through it using self development.

When you know that change is an opportunity for self development, you will feel more optimistic about hard times in general.

It Will Give You Confidence

As you aim to improve your personal limitations you will become more confident in the person you are becoming, along with how much you’ve changed. If you set a goal to improve your ability to listen and you find a year later that you are absorbing more and more details during conversations, you will begin to feel more confident in your ability to improve in other areas. Any time you get better at something, it will stimulate the knowledge that you are capable human being.

You Will Have Better Relationships

Self-improvement can improve how you build relationships with people and will also allow current relationships to thrive. Being more self-aware will allow you to be more open with people. You will feel much more confident in yourself and be able to let people see you for who you are.

During self development,  you can acknowledge your weaknesses and plan to improve them. Instead of letting them hold you back from sharing who you are, you will develop the ability to accept yourself and allow others to accept you in the process. This will naturally create a stronger relationship between you and your friends and family.

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Final Thoughts

Personal development will allow you to learn about yourself and what you want from life. When you’ve invested in personal development, you will want to keep going. Personal development in itself will change the way you live your life – you will always be strving to be better. It will allow you to flourish and live in the moment. It will give you the feeling of wellbeing and happiness and will help you to succeed and reach your full potential.

If you feel like self development is too challenging, try to understand that you’ve already been doing it. Since the day you were born, you’ve been developing and improving skills and talents. Now is simply the time to make the process more conscious and devote energy toward the things you hope you improve.

More Tips on Self Development

Featured photo credit: Fa Barboza via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: What is Personal Development?
[2] David D. Woods: Essential Characteristics of Resilience

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Tema Mamdani

Author and blogger

Why Self Development Should Be On Your Life Goals List

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Last Updated on August 10, 2020

What Is Life About? 9 Ways to Find Your Meaning in Life

What Is Life About? 9 Ways to Find Your Meaning in Life

What is life about? What is the meaning of life? Why do we exist?

Everyone, from ancient Greek Stoics all the way to modern lifestyle gurus, have answered these kinds of questions in an endless variety of ways. And yet, we still search for a satisfying answer.

Neither this article, nor any other one, can deliver a tangible solution to the curious case of life. And that’s okay!

The truth is, part of what makes the meaning of life so alluring is its engrossing diversity, mystery, and intangibility. However, it’s important to point out that the lack of a solid answer doesn’t mean it’s not worth looking for one. The search for what life is about is a journey that each individual person must embark on for themselves. Each person must look for their own, uniquely fulfilling answer to the question.

Fortunately, there are many different behaviors, ideals, and actions that humans have found over the centuries that can be excellent methods to draw us towards that final, inner conclusion of why we exist. Here are a handful of ways to kickstart the adventure of finding out just what life is really about.

1. Love People

Like life, love is one of the most commonly discussed yet, elusive things that humans encounter. Is it a behavior? A lifestyle? A person or object? A relationship with God? It’s used in all of these ways, depending on the context.

However, one thing that always remains is that love is a powerful force for good. Many of the most meaningful things in life are borne out of love — whether we’re loving things, others, or even ourselves.

One of the best ways to find the meaning of life through love is to practice connecting with our families. From parents and siblings to a spouse and children, loving our family is a powerful way to grow in our knowledge and appreciation of what life has to offer.

A spouse, children, friends, life partners, and strong platonic relationships provide a unique and powerful feeling that is difficult to find anywhere else. This is largely because they’re intimately connected to the eye-opening, natural desire to reproduce and leave our mark on the world through posterity.

2. Detox from Technology and Gain Perspective

Next up, we have the extremely important need to detox from time to time. Modern life is fraught with dangerously addicting distractions like social media, that can take up gobs of time without our ever even realizing it. And the effects can go beyond simply frittering away time. In fact, one study suggested that perhaps as much as a staggering 30% of divorces originate with Facebook interactions.[1]

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Life doesn’t simply happen in a vacuum, though. Once you’ve managed to disconnect from those devices and social profiles, it’s important to take that time and energy and redirect it towards a healthier mindset.

Spend time meditating, praying, and even simply dwelling on an attitude of gratefulness. Find things that you’re thankful for and make an effort to express appreciation for what you have on a regular basis (you know, rather than envying others as we scroll through our Facebook feeds).

One of the keystones to life that numerous wise men throughout history always hearken back to is the simple appreciation, gratefulness, and thanks that come with a good perspective.

3. Look for Meaningful Ways to Give Back

Donations and charities aren’t lacking these days. In fact, the phenomenon of charitable giving is at an all-time high. Awareness has skyrocketed in the age of information, and Americans gave a record-breaking $410.02 billion to charity in 2017 alone.[2]

But just because we know how to give doesn’t mean we’re really, truly invested in giving back to others. Real, honest giving doesn’t come out of personal abundance and overflow, nor does it typically take the form of a crisp dollar bill. It comes out of a desire to help others — a desire that can be huge in helping to get a healthy perspective of life.

If you want to find out more about life, consider genuinely giving back to the world around you. Don’t just scrounge up your extra cash and give it to a cause someone else is passionate about.

Find out where your own passions are. What needs and hurts in the world get your heart racing and your mind searching for a solution? Find those, then invest yourself. Give until it hurts. The results are exhilarating. This article can help you: How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life

4. Try a Hobby

While we’ve already talked about what we can do for others, that doesn’t mean a little self-care isn’t needed once in a while too. We’re not talking about indulging those shallow, fleeting desires like a bowl of ice-cream or a trip to the spa, though.

Small treats are perfectly fine, but they don’t go very far in helping us truly appreciate life itself. Instead, try looking for a new challenge.

A challenge can be the perfect formula for helping to open our eyes to the beauty of the world around us. They provide value without the perpetual responsibility and financial concerns that come with our careers and professional lives.

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Find a hobby that indulges your interests and simultaneously challenges your skills. Dive into a pursuit that has always intrigued or fascinated you, but you’ve never had the time to explore on your own. Practice a new instrument, go fly fishing, try painting, learn a language — the world’s your oyster! This list of 50 low-cost hobbies will inspire you.

If you’re thoughtful in your selection, you may even be able to pursue an interest that can inadvertently develop your life skills and possibly even add to your resume.[3]

5. Overcome Insecurities

Let’s circle back around to the personal, inner thoughts and behaviors. One of the critical elements to a life well lived — and thus better understood — is overcoming insecurities.

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Everyone has insecurities.

Sometimes those insecurities are a bit difficult to pin down and see for what they truly are. One of the best ways to rise above the fears and anxieties of life is to work on your insecurities. Try to practice mindfulness, look for thought patterns, analyze your behavior, and identify when you’re being influenced by insecurities.

The more you become aware of your own insecurities, the more you’ll be able to rise above them, prevent selfish behavior, and enable yourself to do things that would have been impossible before.

If you’ve been trapped in a job you don’t like, for instance, due to insecurities about financial failure or peer pressure, overcoming those insecurities at their roots will enable you to move on somewhere else, to ask for that promotion you’ve been eyeing, or even simply move horizontally within the company in order to find better work that better satisfies your personality and talents. [4]

6. Never Stop Learning

Twelve years of structured school (not to mention a mini-career arc through college after that) can leave many of us feeling like we’re done with academics, school, and learning in general.

But the truth is, learning should be a lifelong process. Healthy humans are always in a state of learning. They see what’s around them and want to learn more, understand more, and see why everything is the way it is.

This doesn’t mean you need to manufacture a desire to start reading textbooks on calculus in order to see what life is about. It’s simply an encouragement to start to take an interest in the world around you. Investigate, probe, and learn more about things that catch your interest, and your passion for learning will start to grow on its own before long.

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For instance, even if you pushed yourself all the way through a masters degree already, don’t close the book on your academic career quite yet. Consider going back to school (no matter your age) in order to get a post-master certificate. [5] This won’t just give you an edge in the professional arena; it will also serve as a way to satisfy that inherent desire to learn.

While that’s just one example out of many, the point is, it’s important to find ways to continue learning and growing on a regular basis.

7. Go Minimalist

It’s easy to hear about concepts like “minimalism” and think about extreme lifestyles, like Buddhist monks living in barren temples up in the mountains. But the truth is, minimalism is an easy lifestyle to adapt even in the cluttered, materialistic West.

If you take small steps like avoiding purchasing unnecessary new things, storing seasonal items, and generally decluttering, you can ease into a minimalist mindset without much trouble.[6]

This doesn’t just help with finances and your cleaning schedule, either. A life with less clutter often leads to a clearer, more grateful mindset. And a grateful mindset can be a key part of gaining deeper insight into what this life stuff is really about in the first place.

8. Travel

You saw this one coming, right? Those that seriously travel tend to gain a deeper perspective of life as a whole. The trick is, though, you can’t go into your travels as a fanny pack-touting tourist that’s only interested in “seeing the sights” and hitting up the pristine beaches.

Here’s a good litmus test for you: if you expect everyone to talk to you in your native language as you travel, you’re not in the right headspace.

If you take the time to travel, make sure to do so with the specific purpose of seeing the world outside of your own comfort zone. How are other cultures different from your own? How do other geographic areas affect how people live? What does a developing or war-torn country truly look like?

If you set out with this perspective, you’re much more likely to have your heart and mind opened in ways you never could have expected.

9. Try to Be More Aware

Finally, we have one last, gigantic call to action: be more aware.

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If a person can truly foster the ability to pay attention to everything around them, they develop the ability to break free from the self-centered mindset that all humans naturally slip into when we’re not paying attention.

Just to clarify, this isn’t a call not to pay attention to your own thoughts and needs. They’re important too. In fact, the Dalai Lama said,

“One must be compassionate to one’s self before external compassion.”

Whether it’s ourselves at first or others afterward, truly developing the ability to be aware of and empathize with the life that goes on in and around us is a critical part of understanding just why we’re all alive in the first place.

So, What Exactly Is Life About?

Hopefully, by this point, you don’t really expect an absolute answer to that question. On the other hand, you may not feel it’s a hopeless inquiry, either.

Remember, the reason we don’t have a good answer about what life is about is that it’s too complex to fit into words in the first place!

The complexities and nuances of a “good life” are so profound that they take an entire lifetime of exploration — both of ourselves and the world around us — to even begin to formulate an answer. And even then, we’ve typically only scratched the surface.

When you break it down, the meaning of life is so deep and valuable, it’s worth chasing, even if the end goal is only to catch a glimpse of the glory that keeps us all moving forward day after day.

More About the Meaning of Life

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

Reference

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