Albert Einstein once said; “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them”. This is not just a nice little quote, it may well be the answer this world needs right now. It will certainly be the answer you need in dealing with the endless problems life brings. From the minute we are born till the day we die we all face problem after problem. As a baby we are totally dependent on our parents and we can only hope that they have a high level of awareness or we will have unneeded suffering. As we grow physically, mentally and emotionally we become unique individuals plotting our way in this world to make life significant for ourselves and hopefully for others until we become old and return back to a state of totally dependent but now on our children and again hope that they have a high level of awareness so we don’t have more unneeded suffering as we pass on to the unknown. Through out this entire process it is our level of awareness that makes life significant for us and mostly for future generations. Our awareness is a direct result from our personal development. Our personal development will make all the difference in our world regarding the quality of life you enjoy, the level of success you achieve, the love you experience, the purpose and meaning you find and probably your salvation.
The need for personal development has never been greater for our success no matter how you define it. Everything in life is being so fine tuned, developed to a unique science that brings out the best of skill and talent in people. Personally or professionally personal development is the issue. It should be clear and self evident in the work place that one must grow and tap into their ultimate abilities. Tom Peters research has found that in the US economy corporate middle managers are still being axed in record numbers, in fact the thinning out of middle managers is increasing while the business performance of the corporation doing the thinning is improving. Their doing better with smaller professional staff. How Come? Professional staffers have been personally developing. “People have a built in sense to develop and grow and it is the leaders and bosses to identify this dormant desire and tap into it”. Things have become so fine tuned in the work place that if you are not professionally and more so personally developing then your going to be surpassed by dozens that are, and your undeveloped potential will no longer be required. In the chapter on success you will see a greater understanding of how it relates to your business and becoming the most that you can be in your job, career or business. Businesses are reinventing themselves everyday and paradigm shifts have been going on for decades.
We once used slaves for a work force that shifted to employee’s. It shifted again with Unions that forced employers to treat employees fair. It shifted again when we realized we not only had to treat people fair but pay them well and supply benefits and care for their well being. Now businesses need to provide purpose and meaning, recognize an employee’s value and treat them like a big team and in many cases family. How companies deliver products have changed dramatically. From the supply of new products through the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s to the quality movement of making quality products to the experience economy clearly described in books like Tom Peters, “The Pursuit of Wow” and “The Experience Economy” by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore. Companies and company leaders are trying everything imaginable to win your loyalty as an employee and a customer. What’s in store for the future of business God only knows but as leaders and bosses grow their people, tap into their capabilities and potentials, exciting and amazing things will happen. Scott Peck asks the question; does a business have an obligation to nurture its employees? To which I respond with a very definite yes. Because of this need for organizations, managers and leaders to develop people they must take the responsibility to nurture them as well.
And personally, the need for further growth and development is paramount for your health physically, mentally and emotionally through to all your relationships. Relationships have become very complex because we are becoming more aware, more conscious beings. Because of our increasing awareness of each others weaknesses or problems the dynamics of relationships have changed and become more demanding just as our professions. Growing awareness is a natural, normal part of human evolution that needs to be embraced and not shied away from. Its about change, its about you changing. Get to know your self better, ponder why we act or react they way we do, to be able to face our weaknesses and accept one another for who we are as we grow and become better human beings. The better we understand ourselves the better we understand others and the more our relationships will flourish.
The need for personal development has never been greater for our future. This world has become very complex. Knowledge is expanding and what we used to think and believe in may not be truth. We are rethinking everything we know. We eat and exercise different than we use to. Psychologists agree that what they used to tell us in the 70’s and 80’s is not as healthy as they once thought. Dr. Mirkin says that if he were to apply the things he learned in medical school he would have a malpractice suit with nearly every patient. Science continually sheds new light on our planet and ourselves and reveals how little we really know. We have become highly developed on the outside, now its time to become highly developed on the inside. If we do not become more whole, more conscious human beings then we will destroy ourselves from the inside out. Our destruction will not come from the outside by the deterioration of our air, our waters or our land for we will always be able to find solutions to those problems. Our destruction will come from the inside, from our inability to deal with our greed, our lack of understanding for each other and our most of all our arrogance. We human beings are extremely biased and arrogant. We think we are right and others our wrong. We read some book, hear some sermon or hear some news report and because it stirs some emotions or maybe even relates to a life experience we think it is the truth and begin to act and judge accordingly. We then judge others and try to convince them toward our point of view and if we are not careful we become a fundamentalist or activist with an agenda that limits growth and understanding. We must learn to be more objective for there is always at least two sides to every story.
“Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
I am an optimist. I believe that we human beings have tremendous capabilities that we have not fully tapped into yet. We have the ability to destroy ourselves or bring about incredible discoveries that will transform human life into beautiful things we can not even imagine yet. Despite the negative news that has bombarded our minds for the last 150 years, we as humans are making progress and things are getting better on many fronts and I hope you agree as I conclude every chapter and this book with the other side of the story. The positive side to bring some balance and encouragement as you talk to your children about this future and set goals for your life. Even though I think “balance” is a misused and misunderstood buzz word of the 2000’s this is an area we need some serious balance. We hear way to much of the down side and not enough of the upside and if you don’t think that has a negative impact on our minds and attitudes your wrong. You will soon see that if you continually feed yourself all the negative stuff that surfaces from the media, religions, books and TV, you will develop an unhealthy perspective that is most often based on untruths and become a negative, critical and very difficult to live with or around. Remember what you believe determines your attitudes and actions.
Let us create a helpful definition of personal development that will mean something to you and be useful for the remainder of this book. With out much thought I recall summarizing for a friend what personal development meant to me after reading hundreds and hundreds of books on the subject and thousands of dollars spent on seminars and work shops. I concluded that personal development was the study of ones self, becoming aware of my weaknesses, insecurities, short comings what ever you call them and ultimately growing beyond my present awareness and understanding. I remember saying “Life rewards you for the problems you solve”. A quote I typed out and pasted on my fridge to remind me of its truth. At that time it meant solving the issues in my life would reward me with the health, happiness and income I desired. It means much more than that though, it is similar to the quote I started this chapter with. “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them”. This quote is truly profound, if we grasp its deepest meaning it provides the answer to most of our problems and it is the premise for this book. I have never heard a definition of personal development so I would like to create one that will be useful to you. Because the words together “personal development” don’t have a formal definition lets start with combining some definitions to see what we come up with. I will use Webster’s New Illustrated Dictionary for the following. Lets look “personal”, “development” and some definitions of related words.
Develop: 1. to expand or bring out the potentialities or capabilities; 2. to cause to come to completeness or perfection.
Development: 1. gradual evolution or completion; 2. also the result of gradual evolution or completion.
Personal: 1. pertaining to or characteristic of a particular person.
Person: 1. a human being including body and mind.
Conscious: 1. immediately aware of; mentally recognizing, to some degree and extend, ones own inner feeling or thought, or their objective reference.
Aware: 1. possessing knowledge of some fact or action; conscious; cognizant.
Combining some of the key parts of these definitions we may get something like this;
Personal Development: The gradual evolution or growth of a particular person to bring out their potentialities or capabilities making one more aware of ones own inner feelings or thought. Personal development is definitely the gradual process of expanding ones potential and capabilities, yes it is also the process of becoming a more fully aware and conscious human being. This is certainly a good definition but personal development is much more than that. Personal development is about being sensitive, attentive, aware of your own feelings, attitudes, behaviors and working on them, working through them growing to new awareness’s and understandings. Its about becoming a more conscious being able to relate more to yourself and others. Its about being proactive and overcoming faults, weaknesses and insecurities which is the second point in the definition of Develop: 1. To expand or bring out the potentialities or capabilities; 2. to cause to come to completeness or perfection. Personal development is noticing the subtleties that make life work well and them that don’t, its about fulfilling our human potential, creating from the infinite potential of out mind and experiencing new experiences with all our senses. Personal development is not something that you gain from formal education though the process of gathering knowledge is fundamental to growth. Personal development is about the maturing and development of our mind. As the Dalai Lama clearly expresses in the book The Art of Happiness the state, training and development of the mind is crucial to happiness. Saying all that I would like to refine the definition of personal development a little more.
Personal Development is the deliberate growth or development of a particular individual to bring out their potential and capabilities making them more aware of their inner feelings, belief systems to become a more conscious, whole or healthy human being.
Material from (21 Apr 2011): http://www.danieljanssen.com/ArchiveArticles/personaldevelopmentdefined.shtml