Improving personal development²
Updated: Feb 16, 2021
What's the one habit that will dramatically transform your life?
The beauty of personal development is that it is unique to each and every individual.
While I often argue that we are all intrinsically motivated by very similar things (safety, purpose, family, relationships etc.), how we each go about improving ourselves is a very personal journey fuelled by one important element. There's one habit, out of the many habits that exist which can dramatically transform our lives.
In a world where information is travelling faster than ever before, it takes a lot of composure in terms of how we process it all. It's very easy to get overwhelmed and inundated by 'get rich quick' tips, products and services that claim to change lives and by the overall hype around how glamorous success is. It has therefore become increasingly important to continually reflect on our own motivations, ambitions, intentions and raison d'être.
For starters, take everything with a pinch of salt; not because I encourage anybody to be cynical (quite the opposite actually), but because it's important for each one of us to get into the habit of doing our own due diligence. Having said this, and alluding to my previous point, I strongly suggest that we get into the habit of being very open minded. What we think we know can negatively impact how fast we improve.
From my experience, being cynical and thinking we know everything (or thinking that what we know is the absolute truth/reality), often gets in the way of our own personal development and progress. I speak to a lot of people on a daily basis and it's easy to notice the people who are open, receptive to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new perspectives and new approaches to life, and those who are so ingrained in what they think they know. Transforming ourselves requires a combination of willingness, discipline, intentionality, effort and consistency, but to do all this you have to be willing to experiment.
Yes, that's the one habit that will enable you to achieve everything you want to achieve. Wait, what? Were you expecting something groundbreaking? Well, here's the thing: rewiring our mindsets, thought processes and decisions in a way that allows us to make experimentation a daily habit, is as groundbreaking as it gets. You don't need anything else.
When you've a) reflected on what you want to improve, b) know why you want to go about improving those areas and when you've c) come up with a few ideas on how you're going to go about making those changes, experimentation is what will drive you towards achieving the improvements you seek.
When you see, hear or read something, don't just disregard it because of your biases, impulsiveness and/or your need to be right. Listen attentively to everything around you. Seek information everywhere you go. This first part is about not being cynical.
Once you accumulate information, the next step is to do your own due diligence and to experiment. Some things will work and some won't (and that's fine too). You don't need everything to work. All you need is a couple of habits, perspectives, and outlooks which will allow you to truly redefine your mindset and transform your results. This is the bit about being open minded.
I've been experimenting with a wide range of habits, frameworks and daily routines over the last two years. Some have worked phenomenally well, and some things have not. The things that haven't worked were still worth experimenting, and it's most likely that my implementation was not accurate/consistent enough. You lose nothing with experimentation, but what you stand to gain is enormous.
Start by assessing every part of your day. How are your mornings? How productive do you feel? How much momentum are you able to gain during the day? Can you maintain your motivation and can you be consistent in your efforts? How are your evenings? Do you set yourself up to succeed the next day? How about your weekends? Are you absorbing the right content? Are you surrounding yourself with the right people? Is your diet in check? Do you practice mindfulness? Are you experimenting enough with your routines? Are you making sure to step out of your comfort zones in a safe and effective manner?
These questions will allow you to figure out the what, the why and the how, and experimentation will help you figure out your optimal way of living.
Be open minded, do your due diligence and do not stop experimenting.