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Self Development is a very important aspect of the human being.
In today’s life the modern man finds himself trapped in a concrete jungle, living a rat race. This is a life full of stress, tensions and anxieties to be the star performer at the workplace, and to be perceived as an ideal son, husband and father at home.
In this continuing run, one tends to loose one’s sense of self. He finds himself loosing control over his live, powerless as he is to take corrective and remedial action. Such inability to do what is right and bring things back on track is largely caused by the lack of realization of what is wrong and what needs to be done.
The answer to this problem is Self Development.
But what is self development? As the term suggested it is bringing about all round improvement in one’s own self. A plain dictionary meaning of the term by itself would bring cold comfort to someone who really needs self development.
We therefore need to understand what self-development is by understanding what it implies. Self development can be best understood by examining its components. These are enumerated one by one:
- Self awareness
- Self knowledge
- Self potential
- Health – physical and psychological
- Social status
- Social relations
- Self belief
1. Self awareness: What is self awareness?
Self awareness is the understanding of where one finds himself. What does he considers as his duty every moment of the day? How is he supposed to utilize each waking moment of his time? What should he say? How and to whom? A high sense of self awareness is seen in person who is proactive in thought, alert in mind and body and energetic in action. Such is person stays ahead in every situation.
2. Self knowledge:
Self knowledge flows from self awareness. Self knowledge enables a person to truly understand himself – his role and contribution to society. Self knowledge is also a self appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the personality and character on an ongoing basis. Self knowledge is also the knowledge of the inner universe of an individual – the knowledge of which is vital to successfully navigate the outer universe.
Communication is the vehicle for building social relations. This was true in the days when technology and internet did not exist; but is has become even more true today when we are living in a deeply interconnected world. Communication has various aspects these are:
a). Thoughts and Ideas:Communication originates in the mind in the form of a thought which is translated into an idea to be expressed. A creative mind is fertile ground for positive expression, whereas a negative mind is minefield of hate filled negative communication.
b). Voice & Speech:The voice represents the emotion and the level of self confidence of the individual. The speech represents the spoken words manifested by the eloquence or lack of it in expressing the ideas of the mind.
4. Morale, Self-confidence & Self Esteem:
What is morale? A high morale refers to a very positive state of mind of a person which is ever challenged into seeking increasing difficult tasks to achieve. Low morale represents the opposite where all round pessimism pervades; and where procrastination and dreariness are the norm.
An individual’s morale depends upon his self-confidence. The self-confidence in turn depends upon the self-esteem of the individual. A person with low sense of self esteem has little self-confidence to do the simplest of tasks, while claiming both ownership and responsibility for the same. On the other hand a person with a high sense of self esteem always lunges forward, taking bold and calculated risks. Such a person always stretches himself in a quest to continuously improve his productivity, and sense of self fulfillment in his life and in his work.
Gone are the days when a person could take up a secure career in a government job and work until his retirement doing pretty much the same work. Today, career development has become very important in today’s very fast changing and dynamic world. This implies staying relevant with the changing times by adapting one’s skills and abilities to meet the changing requirements of society and the work place.
Each one of us has a latent, immense and untapped potential which sadly few of us achieve. The main reason for remaining underachievers is equally to lack of self belief in our potential as also the knowledge that such a potential even exists. Self development really starts where we become aware of our immense potential and start taking positive steps to tap it and creatively utilize it.
Health has two aspects – physical and psychological. Good health commonly is commonly understood only as a state where the body remain free from ailments. There is general ignorance about the impact of an healthy mind (free of negative thoughts and emotions) on the physical health of an individual. It is often said a fit mind in a fit body. However, the reverse is equally true – a fit mind ensures that the body remains fit and free from many ‘lifestyle’ diseases.
8. Social Status:
Development of the social status refers to the upward move of individual on the social ladder. The craving for a high social status is considered the highest of the famous Manslow’s personal self actualization hierarchy. A high social status represents his desire for self actualization. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be.
9. Social Relations:
Social relations determine the social status of a person. At the same time the person’s social status also determines his social relations. Development of the ability to develop social relations gives an individual the power to increase his ever widening circle of social contacts. This in turn enhances his power, his prestige, sense of self worth and most importantly his social status.
Personality Development seems to be the buzz word these days. While everyone likes to talk about it, few seem to truly understand. Development of one’s personality is more than adherence to a mere set of guidelines to be followed in terms of dos and don’ts. Personality has several important components that need to be understood and developed. These include:Posture: An erect posture signifies confidence, a positive forthright attitude, and a fit body that consciously receives large amount s of life giving oxygen into the lungs.
a). Body Language: This represents the non verbal communication that translates and conveys more than 80% of the message and is often more important than the spoken words.
b). Thoughts and self belief: Each individual creates his own universe through self-belief about himself and thoughts about others. Such thoughts and self beliefs either fashion a mind full of prejudice, hate and envy at the negative level or love, empathy and positivity on the other.
c). Attitude: It is said our attitude determines our altitude. Development of the attitude involves moving away from being negative about persons, and events and seeing some good in everything perceived as bad.
The above stated aspects of self development are by no means an exhaustive list of what one must do for oneself. At the same, these are not water tight compartments that need to be looked in isolation. Often development of a single area can have greater than proportionate effect in other areas. So what one essentially needs to do it to focus and try to better understand each and consciously inculcate the habit to bring about self improvements howsoever small for the overall objective of self development.
Implementing your goals
- Why do you set your goals? Let’s consider this basic question. The simple answer is that you are not happy with your present status and you want to improve. Now let’s consider who is responsible for your present status? Your circumstances, influence of your parents, teachers, friends, relatives, neighbor and all those who have been interacting with you. They have influenced you mind which in turn has influenced your actions and behavior. Over the years you have formed some habits. Triggered by your habits, you continue to do the same things over and over again. Your relationships with others remain the same. Nothing changes. Therefore you don’t own what you want; you don’t garner respect from others. Life is drudgery. Nothing to look forward to. You accept that this reality and you have to live with it. And then, you write down your goals. These could be about health, career, finance, family, hobby and even spirituality.
- Once we understand that you background and habits have brought you to a situation which you are not happy with, you need to do whatever it takes to change these influences and most importantly change your habits. You may not be able to change company of everyone around you, but you can choose to divide your time according to your choice.
To be connected with earlier chapter.
In life it is necessary to have some beliefs. That does not mean that you need to follow any dogma or belief forced on you. You can pick your own beliefs with discretion. First, let us understand what is self-belief. What are the qualities that it inherits? Self belief is an invaluable virtue which brings great possibilities in your life. Its indications are that you:
- Stop making any excuses for any reason what-so-ever.
- Do not indulge in any negative thought.
- Stop thinking that difficulties surround you alone. You do not jump to conclusion and take hasty actions. You express your fears to others without any hesitation, because you keep in mind that everyone has some fears.
- You stop procrastinating because that is indicative of your lack of confidence.
- Stop pursing perfection. Perfection is never achieved. It only stops you from moving ahead.
Once you develop self belief and you observe that you confirm to all what has been said above, you will find the following eight advantages coming to you smoothly and seamlessly.
a). Self-belief enables you to hold strong conviction. All things do not happen the way you have planned or the way you expect. But strong conviction will help you to move ahead without fear of failure.
b). Self belief also helps you develop optimistic attitude which is necessary today in the wake of fast changing world. Life is becoming extremely competitive. Any opportunity missed once may never come back again. But if you have a negative attitude you will not be able to catch the fleeting possibilities.
c). Your self-belief also makes you more reliable to others.Thus you tend to build up better relations with others. Your credibility is not question. Since people can trust you they vie for good relations with you. Needless to say that for any significant project you need help from others.
d). Self-belief also helps you to be focused and self motivated. You no longer take life as it comes. You don’t depend on unknown sources to bring you luck. You carve your own destiny. Self motivation helps you to maintain enthusiasm and interest in life.
e). Your risk taking ability improves if you start relying on yourself. It is said that there are no gains if there are no risks. Your conviction helps you to take calculated risks in meeting the challenges of life. The tendency to avoid and escape facing challenging situation reduces substantially. You start realizing that difficulties form a necessary part of life.
f). Further, self-belief enables you to give and receive constructive criticism with an open mind. In the current scenario exchange of ideas and views are extremely important. The autocratic leader is not acceptable any more. So if you want to progress you have to collaborate with others from your own organization or outside outfits.
g). Self-belief helps you to be more assertive. You start caring for yourself more than pleasing others. Someone said that he doesn’t know any formula of how to succeed. The sure short formula for success has never been discovered. But there is a firm unbeatable formula for failure and that is trying to please everyone. Your self-belief will not allow you to embark on the journey of securing approvals where these are not mandatory.
h). Last but not the least, you start working on improving your self respect.You realize that if you do not respect yourself, others will follow suit. When you’re in need to raise self esteem, you become more effective and you become more productive. Now, you start managing your time very effectively as any improper or inadequate use of your time will hurt your self-esteem.
Personal Productivity and its review constitute are essential ingriedients in the implementation and achievement of personal goals. But what is personal productivity? Does it mean how we manage our time? The answer is yes and no. Yes, time is an important aspect of personal productivity. Rather, it could be so provided your activities are aligned with your goals. And yet it is a lot more. Does it mean one’s achievement towards realization of personal goals? Not just that! Personal goals may change. Personal vision may change. And if one may say so personal mission statement if one ever cares to establish that – that also may change.
When we talk of mission statement or vision or an organization, that hardly ever changes. But when we are talking of an individual, the factors that affect a person’s likes and dislikes, desires, drastically change with changing circumstances, or even without these.
The most important factor for a person’s success is his/her personal productivity. As we growwe realize that it is not just money, not just health, not just family, or your social status, hobbies etc., that bring you happiness, but it is a combination of all these in varying proportions. So what we need to do is to align all our activities to achieve whatever we want in the aforesaid different fields.
Therefore a daily review of what you do becomes very important. In the highly competitive world we have today, the targets that the organizations set for you are hard ones. These sap your energy and rob you of the power and ability to think what you must do. You only start following sometimes even unachievable targets. In the process, you totally destroy you concept of personal productivity.
Hence, what is really needed is to have the right balance and proper perspective towards life. It is only such a healthy attitude that strikes a right balance between family and friends, home and work, health and money that will lead to a truly happy and successful life.
Thanks for reading.