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Last Updated on January 6, 2020

10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter Your Age

10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter Your Age

Self-improvement products in the U.S. bring in an estimated 9.9 billion dollars annually according to the latest data,[1] a seemingly massive industry. That is until you compare it to the music and film industries, which come in at a whopping 61 billion dollars combined. Or the beauty industry at an enormous 265 billion.[2] Now that’s a behemoth.

What these impressive numbers tell us is that Americans spend nearly 33 times more of their hard-earned cash on music, movies, and personal appearance than they do on personal growth.

Of course, the numbers aren’t a big surprise — our society is driven by appearances and instant gratification. We all want to look good and enjoy ourselves. But the data may be illustrating just how out of whack our priorities really are.

Assuming we could collectively use a swift kick in the pants to adjust those priorities, let’s review some great reasons to actively pursue personal development, at any age.

Those who actively pursue personal development enjoy the following ten advantages:

1. Healthier Relationships

Relationships — with your family, children, co-workers, lovers and even that primary relationship with yourself – are the foundation of life. You can’t avoid them (even when you may wish to).

When your relationships are low-quality, your life is low quality. Conversely, when your relationships are healthy and vibrant, you will reap the benefits in profound ways.

Learning and building good relationship skills is an essential part of any personal development plan. People who consciously and deliberately build interpersonal skills experience greater satisfaction in relationships of all kinds.

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2. Less Stress

Given the killer that stress has turned out to be,[3] and how quickly it negatively impacts our overall quality of life, anything that reduces stress would be worth pursuing, don’t you think?

By making personal development a habit, particularly with regards to stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness practices, you will be better able to identify, manage and even eliminate key sources of stress in your life.

3. Improved Health

This one follows very nicely from our first two advantages above.

The link between stress and health is undeniable; more stress equals more disease. Happier and healthier relationships equals less stress, and the more equipped we are to manage and reduce stress, the better our overall health becomes.

The tools and teachings of personal development and self-improvement give us a better understanding of ourselves and of the world around us. The more you understand, the more equipped you become to handle whatever life throws at you.

People who have learned to manage the challenges and stressors of life have fewer lifestyle-related diseases, and may enjoy a prolonged lifespan as a result.

4. Increased Productivity

The number one enemy of productivity is procrastination. And procrastination is often driven by deeper emotions.[4] People engaged in personal growth as a lifestyle make a habit of digging deeper into these issues, thereby increasing the likelihood of arriving at meaningful solutions.

The second largest enemy of productivity is, you guessed it, stress. Our increasingly hectic lives are often driven by the expectations of perfection and performance, and when stress enters the mix, our productivity drops. We spend so much of our time worrying and trying to multitask that our ability to focus and accomplish what we set out to do diminishes.

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Self-development techniques improve your ability to focus and manage stress, help you get at hidden emotions and motivators, and allow productivity to sore.

Just imagine what life would be like if nothing stood in the way of your highest productivity. How much more would be possible for you?

5. Enhanced Self-Control

Self-control, that ability to regulate your emotions, thoughts and behavior in order to accomplish specific goals, is a cognitive ability that can be worked out and strengthened just as you would your muscles.

When setting and working towards goals for your life, it’s easy to become derailed by temptations, habits and impulses, particularly those driven by subconscious beliefs and underlying emotions.

By making self-development a regular and important part of your life, you bring to light those underlying beliefs and feelings. You strengthen your self-control ‘muscles’, making it easier to build new habits and achieve short and long term goals.

6. Greater Success

By success, we’re talking about the ability to reach those markers of achievement that each individual sets for him or herself, rather than the standard markers of ‘success’ as presented by media (i.e. wealth, popularity, fame or power). Though, ironically, if that’s what you truly want, you’re more likely to achieve it if self-development is a regular part of your lifestyle.

When we look back over the advantages as listed above, it’s easier to see why this is true; healthy and supportive relationships, reduced stress and the associated improvements in health, increased productivity, and enhanced self-control all create the necessary environment for success to occur.

7. Improved Peace of Mind

Aside from the peace of mind that generally follows as a result of such factors as lower stress levels, experiencing better overall health, and being successful, regular self-awareness and improvement practices can generate their own feelings of greater contentment and tranquility.

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Mindfulness, meditation, and mind-body techniques such as yoga and qi-qong, when practiced regularly can improve focus and self-awareness, which in turn helps generate peace of mind.

Personal development practices also tend to increase your understanding of self and others, which contributes to a greater sense of peace and acceptance overall.

8. Better Parenting

Because young children and babies learn by aping their parents and caregivers, it’s vital that parents first and foremost work on developing and improving themselves.

To be a better parent, one that can serve as a good first role model for babies and young children, you need to be willing to take a long, hard, honest look at yourself.

When you spend the time on personal development and self-awareness, you are less likely to unwittingly pass along negative patterns and behaviors to your children. You’re also far less likely to fall into common parenting pitfalls such as negative reinforcement, anger, bullying, enabling, micromanaging and the like.

9. Greater Resilience

According to the dictionary definition, resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from life’s challenges, tragedies and difficulties. It’s the psychological ability to emerge from these experience and return to a healthy mental and emotional state. It’s essentially a form of emotional flexibility.

Personal development allows you to confront and work through obstacles from the inside and out. Time spent developing your emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and coping strategies will have a direct and positive impact on your level of resilience.

Life will always throw us curve balls in the form of obstacles and challenges when we least expect them. Having resilience means being able to rebound quickly, returning to your natural balance, growing and learning from the experiences instead of snapping or breaking.

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In fact, developing greater resilience may well be the most important thing anyone can do to improve their overall life satisfaction.

10. Greater Happiness

And we finally arrive at the grand finale of advantages — happiness.

If happiness truly is the journey rather than the destination, then spending the time in your daily life to develop yourself will make that journey a heck of a lot more pleasant.

Imagine a life in which you enjoy good health and better relationships; a life in which you feel in control of yourself and your ability to cope well with whatever challenges come your way; a life in which you feel generally confident in your ability to succeed in your endeavors.

By taking the time to work on your personal development, you are decreasing the negative impacts of stress and ill-health, and you are increasing your ability to handle your life and relationships.

Through self-improvement efforts, you learn to identify, heal and transform underlying beliefs, traumas and self-sabotaging behaviors and habits.

All of which contributes to removing the layers of obstacles that smother our ability to experience real joy and happiness.

Final Thoughts

So next time you’re feeling crappy about your life or something in it, and feel tempted to spend money on makeup, clothes or that latest video game, perhaps you’ll think again and browse a while in the self-improvement section.

The former might change your mood for the moment, but the latter may well change your life for good.

More About Self-Improvement

Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mike Bundrant

Co-Founder @inlpcenter, which offers NLP training and life coach certification to students in over 70 countries.

10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter Your Age 9 Ways to Prepare for Change and Live Your Dream Life 12 Most Important Milestones in Life to Grow Through How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs That Hold You Back from Success 10 Leadership Goals That Strong Leaders Set for Themselves

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

Do you forget stuff every now and then? Are you trying to enhance your memory but not sure how?

All you need is the right memorization techniques to make the most of your memory.

The human brain is fascinating. More specifically, the vast interconnections within our mind. Mendel Kaelen compares the human brain to a hill covered in snow,

“Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into preexisting trails, almost like a magnet. In time it becomes more and more difficulty to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction.”

The intent of Kaelen’s discussion is to think of new ways to temporarily flatten the snow. Kaelen remarked,

“The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.”

The idea here is to temporarily rewire your brain, or as Michael Pollan remarked in How to Change Your Mind,

“The power to shake the snow globe, disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and creating a space of flexibility-entropy-in which more salubrious patterns and narratives have an opportunity to coalesce as the snow slowly settles.”

So, how can we rewire our brain allowing deeply worn connections to disappear and new connections to form? The answer is quite simple. We must change the way we store information in our mind.

    Let’s examine 5 specific memorization techniques that will change the way you think and remember information.

    1. Build a Memory Palace

      What is it?

      The method of loci[1] (aka memory palace) is a method of memory enhancement using visualizations with the use of spatial memory. It uses familiar information about your environment to quickly recall information. It is a method that was discussed by Cicero in an ancient dialogue called De Oratore.

      How to use it?

      Ron White discusses in How to Memorize Fast and Easily: Build a Memory Palace, that it’s essentially a room or building that you have memorized and you use locations in the room to store data. Ron informs us,

      “You memorize locations in a room and then you later go back to those locations to retrieve the data that you want to remember.”

      Example

      An easy 5-step example, in the form of a Wiki, can be found at Artofmemory.com. Let’s examine the the steps:

      • Step 1. Choose a place that you know well. For example, your house or office.
      • Step 2. Plan the route and pick specific locations in your route. For example, your front door, bathroom kitchen, etc.
      • Step 3. Decide what you want to memorize. For example, geography, list of items, answers for a test, etc.
      • Step 4. Place one or two items, with a mental image, and place them in your memory palace. Exaggerate your images. For example, use nudity or crazy images forcing it to stick in your mind.
      • Step 5. Make the image into a mnemonic.

      You can learn more about this technique here: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

      2. Mnemonic

        What is it?

        A mnemonic is a memory device that aids in retention and/or retrieval of information. Mnemonic systems are techniques consciously used to improve memory by helping us use information already stored in long-term memory to make memorization easier.[2]

        How to use it?

        Mnemonics make use of retrieval cues to encode information in our brain allowing for efficient storage and retrieval of the information. The trick is to learn how to easily create mnemonics. If you find that you struggle with creating your own, try the following website: Mnemonic Generator.

        Example

        I recently came across a video using mnemonics to memorize countries. Memorizing Countries using Mnemonics is a video created as an introduction to a class for using memory techniques to learn the names of countries on maps.

        I actively search for videos that provide enormous educational value, yet receive very little exposure. At the time of this writing, this video has received less than 4k views. Let’s examine the video.

        Goal: Create a mnemonic to memorize the countries in the Caribbean (just the countries you need to learn).

        Step 1. Looking at a map – write out each country (for which five were chosen).

        Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

        Step 2. Write the first letter of each country vertically.

        C

        J

        H

        D

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        P

        Step 3. Create a sentence or phrase.

        Cubs

        Just

        Hate

        Doing

        Push-ups

        Cubs just hate doing push-ups. (Cuba Jamaica Haiti Dominican Republic Puerto Rico)

        3. Mnemonic Peg System

          What is it?

          According to Artofmemory.com, a mnemonic peg system is a technique for memorizing lists and it works by memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent.[3] These objects are the pegs of the system.

          How to use it?

          The trick is to create a Number Rhyme System with each number having a rhyming mnemonic keyword.

          Example

          Let’s look at an example of a Number Rhyme System:[4]

          0 = hero

          1 = gun

          2 = shoe

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          3 = tree

          4 = door

          5 = hive

          6 = sticks

          7 = heaven

          8 = gate

          9 = line

          Another technique like the Peg system is the Number Shape System.[5] Here you are assigning mnemonic images based on the shape of the number. Watch the following video for an example of this system: Number Shape System for Memorizing Numbers.

          4. Chunking

            What is it?

            Chunking is a way to remember large bits of information by chunking them into smaller pieces of information. We are more likely to then remember the information when we put the small pieces back together to see the entire picture.

            How to use it?

            In the video Chunking – A Learning Technique, we can see that there are several ways to chunk information.

            Example

            Let’s examine a simple example using a nine-digit number.

            Step 1. What is the number you are trying to remember?

            081127882

            Step 2. Cut the number into smaller pieces through chunking.

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            081 – 127 – 882

            Let’s look at one more example from the same video.

            “Piano teachers will first demonstrate an entire song to students. They will then ask their students to practice one measure at a time. Once the part has been learned and the neural connections in the brain have been built, then students go on to the next measure. After all chunks have been played separately, they are combined until the entire piece is connected.”

            5. Transfer of Learning

              What is it?

              Transfer of learning is a way to learn something in one area and apply it in another. Authors of Thinking at Every Desk, Derek and Laura Cabrera inform us about the transfer of learning,

              “If a student has a high transfer skills, she can learn one thing and then teach herself 10, 50, or 100 additional things.”

              How to use it?

              There are two specific ways to use it:

              1. Vertical Transfer (aka Far Transfer). Think of learning something in grade school and applying it another grade or later in life.
              2. Horizontal Transfer (aka Near Transfer). Think of learning a concept in history and applying it in math.

              Example

              I provide a detailed step-by-step example for this technique in this article:

              Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

              The Bottom Line

              The key to using the techniques discussed here is to remember that we must actively think about information.

              We cannot simply drill information into our brain through rote memorization. We must change the way we think about memorization. We must find a way to “shake the snow-globe” in our mind or flatten the snow so that we can create new learning paths.

              Or as Derek and Laura Cabrera point out, we must insert “Thinking” into the equation,

              “Information X Thinking = Knowledge”

              More About Enhancing Memories

              Featured photo credit: Nong Vang via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Remember Everything: Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci
              [2] The Learning Center Exchange: 9 Types of Mnemonics for Better Memory
              [3] Art of Memory: Mnemonic Peg System
              [4] Art of Memory: Number Rhyme System
              [5] Art of Memory: Number Shape System

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