How I approach personal growth will have a major impact on the quality of my life. I am always becoming something. The key question is, "What am I becoming?" and "Is that where I want to go?" Every week I am either growing better or worse.
The process of personal transformation is holistic. It touches every area of life. I need to be constantly learning and adapting. I must be reviewing my believes and be brutally honest about how I am embracing reality. And my emotional and spiritual development will dictate to quality of my life.
For years I have struggled to make sense of life. In fact, the search for meaning has been the central characteristic of my life so far.
As I enter the end-game, there are new insights that have alluded me most of my life. Things are finally beginning to make sense to me. Events that seemed somewhat random at the time now are fitting into a pattern.
I am ready to relate the insights that I have learned along the way, in the hopes that these may be beneficial to you. It is more than a little presumptive to assume that what works for me will be true for you. One of the truths that I have grown to appreciate is how unique my life has been.
My life experiences, personality, education, opportunities, sorrows, and even my genetics have created a set of beliefs about the world that are totally unique. At the same time, I share the experience of being human. There are things that are totally common to the all of us.
This writing is not intended to represent universal truths of humanity. Rather it will be a deep dive into my reality. Some of what I have experienced may apply to you and other parts will not. This work is in no way scientific. It is an accounting of one man's journey to grapple with life and find meaning.
I offer it to you as a honest assessment of beliefs and values from my perspective. Undoubtedly, you will find things in my experience that you disagree with, and perhaps even find disagreeable altogether. I admit right up front that I am a broken individual and still struggle with important issues of belief and values.
I hope that you find some insights here. We are all on a search for meaning; may my experience be a guide to you on your journey.
Our journey of personal development can be greatly enhanced by identifying a set of principles that you wish to live by. These principles allow you recognize common occurrences and a standardized way to handle them.
Because the same situations arise over and over it is good to think about how they should be handled in the best way. As new situations arise new thinking must be done, but the old situations can be handled without much thought at all.
This idea of developing principles for daily life was first put forth by Ray Dalio in his book Principles. I highly recommend reading this book, since it has had such a large impact on my thinking.
Someday you may wish to develop a written set of principles that are highly personalized to fit your life. But this is a daunting task. I recommend that you start simple. Develop a few key principles that guide your decision making.
Here is the top level principles that I use.
These principles are expanded to greater detail as Principles of Happiness. You can do something similar to get you started. For so many of us happiness can be elusive. It is worth spending time thinking about the things that lead to a fulfilling life of peace.
If our physical health fails it will affect every other area of life. Therefore, it is important to create a lifestyle that helps us to live long and healthy lives.
Being human means that we all have limitations that constrain us. These may be physical, financial, social, or intellectual. Living a healthy life requires us to do an honest inventory and admit to ourselves the limitations we face.
Embracing limitations lets us manage our physical health by paying the proper amount of attention to doctors, diet, and exercise. For me I try to respect these areas, but want to minimize the energy that I invest. There is a maintenance level that is required to remain healthy and I try to pay attention to this.
Bad bad things happen to all of us eventually. When they happen it is important to increase the amount of time and care that is put into the health situation. In times of crises your complete attention should be focused on restoring health.
Learning how the brain works can be useful to understand the process of intellectual growth. All humans share many traits because they are built directly into our physiology.
Biologists and neurologists can teach us quite a bit about how the brain works
and what we can do to develop and protect it. Neuroplasticity is the ability
for the brain to grow and accommodate development of new capabilities.
Science can also give us guidance on memory and perception. This is part of building a greater understanding about what all humans have in common.
But humans are also unique so to understand how we think we also need to delve into what makes us different from each other. Over the past 80 years a tremendous amount of progress has been made in the study of personality.
Understanding Personality starts with being able to classify people into groups that each share common characteristics. This is only possible because many behavioral characteristics group into clusters. These personality grouping get labels and large numbers of people can be studied to identify the common experiences within a group.
The best know personality model is the Meyers Briggs Type Inventory. It is built around 4 specific characteristics (producing 16 unique grouping). Millions of people have been studied and have studied this framework. It is very widely accepted and used.
Another popular personal model is the Enneagram. This model attempts to describe how a person relates the world around them. It divides people into nine unique types which describe how the person interacts with others. There is a dominate type and two secondary types that describe each person. I found the Enneagram to be very helpful to explain many of my personal interactions.
The modern world requires that we continue learning throughout our lives. The world circumstances are constantly changes. It is essential that we change along with it. The only alternative is disengage with modern society and attempt to live in increasing isolation. This is a one way path toward disengagement and irrelevance.
Every year you need to be learning new skills and updating your capabilities as a person. The typical person should spend about an hour per day learning and growing. But the details of this study will be unique to each individual.
Another area of personal growth involves managing our time investment. Learning how to set goals that will lead us to the life that we wish to live is itself a very important life skill. Our goals allow us to make and fulfill the commitments that are essential to reach our personal dreams.
Every one of us is on a journey of spiritual growth that lasts throughout our lifetime. Not everyone continues to grow. Some stop growing early in their lives and settle into the life they are currently living.
Each of us have a single primary struggle. This is a lifelong challenge that touches our reason for life. We never win this battle permanently. It is something that determines the very integrity of how we live.
Performance orientation has been the key challenge that I have faced each day. When I perform well I am happy and content. This also makes me proud and arrogant and critical of others. On a good day performance orientation destroys my relationships. Learn more by reading My Primary Struggle.
A rule of life is a strategic plan for a lifestyle of personal transformation. It seeks to outline how time will be invested to engage in all of the areas that are important for spiritual growth and development. Learn more by reading My Rule of Life.
Over ten years ago I started work on a website to help me in my devotional life. I wanted to produce a tool that could provide random snippets of content to serve as prompts for prayer and meditation. The result is the Spiritual Things website.
The site defines several main areas for
For each area the site can produce a single selection allowing you to concentrate your attention during time alone with God. Most of the content is short so that it is ideal for prayer and meditation. New selections can be made to help you find something that you can relate to.