Magic of Self-Development

Self-Development is the process of learning how to lead a happy, meaningful and fulfilled life.  This process is different for every single person because we all come with different talents, mission, challenges and opportunities.  On the other hand, this process is exactly the same for every single person, which starts with answering these questions: Who am I? Where I came from? Where am I going?  In other words, self-development enables us to discover a life path that is uniquely tailored to our individual needs, interests and developmental phase.  

Traditional schools don’t teach us this process.  Instead, they teach us knowledge, skills and how to take comments from the top – parents, teachers, bosses and governments.  This worked well in the past because our life path was designed for us: go to school, get a good job, get married, have kids, retire, then wait for death – the same for everyone.  That life path is now outdated and soon to be obsolete, both because AI can learn faster than we do and we are more demanding as human beings.  We seek autonomy, meaning in life and creative outlets.  We crave human connections, emotional satisfaction, and spiritual growth. 

While the benefit of self-development is immense and the result is liberating and magical, the process isn’t a walk in a park.  It is similar to learning how to own, drive and take care of a private car when we are used to ride a bus.  Riding a bus has many benefits. We can read a book, chat with fellow passengers or fall asleep, but we don’t decide where it goes.  In a private car, we have complete control of where we are going but it comes with responsibilities.  We must know how to drive, navigate, fill the gas tank, and change tires.  This means we must learn to think independently, make choices and turn dreams into reality. There will be moments of despair, loneliness, frustration and exhilaration as well, but in the end, we are in control of our lives.

Nowadays, many people leave corporate jobs to start his or her own business.  The majority of these ventures fail, not because the person lacks technical knowledge or business skills, but lack self-awareness, self-mastery and self-leadership. These are qualities cultivated through self-development.  Technical skills and business knowledge are tools that can be learned in schools or through job trainings, but they can become outdated overtime. However, the qualities cultivated through self-development remain with us indefinitely.

Many people start self-development after arriving a cross road or experience a setback where circumstances require us to make major changes.  For instance, after losing a job, health, wealth or loved ones, we begin to ask those deep questions such as Who am I and Why I am here, and wonder if being a mindless passenger on a bus is how we want to spend the rest of our lives.  The truth is, we don’t have to wait until we are pushed to a corner to start this self-development process. Rather than doing it passively, we can start it pro-actively.

We can start the journey with this self-assessment to increase self-awareness.  Identify negative thought or behavioral habits by replacing them with positive ones to increase self-mastery.  This is similar to a dancer who can master her body effortlessly. Practice self-mastery helps us take charge of our thoughts, emotions and behaviors, instead of letting them control us.  If we can have clarity about our calling or goal for the next phase of our lives, and be disciplined enough to achieve it, we have acquired self-leadership.

Self-development is the learning and practicing of these 3 disciplines: self-awareness, self-mastery and self-leadership.  We can practice alone, in a group, or get personal guidance. Practices include meditation, self-observation and self-reflection; A group can be self-organized group or going on a retreat or training course; Guidance can come from a qualified coach, a spiritual teacher or books of wisdom. A qualified coach helps us develop the ability to have conversations with ourselves through targeted and penetrating questions. The goal is to discover what’s hidden beneath the subconscious mind. Spiritual teachers or books of wisdom (here is a list) tell us how this Universe operates beyond what we know through social conditioning.  Such knowledge helps us navigate the transition from riding a bus to driving a car. The most effective approach is combining individual practice, group support and personalized guidance as we do in Teal Village.

Ultimately, the life we create is a photocopy or physical manifestation of who we are – our identities, wisdom, characters, values, beliefs etc. In other words, to enjoy a better life, it is essential to cultivate ourselves on the inside. This is great news because the process is completely within our own control. When we invest effort in self-development, we pave the shortest path to happiness, health, peace and great relationships. It gives us freedom to do what we love, when and how we want to do it and with whom we choose. Once we are on the journey, it feels like having discovered the door to heaven. However, this can be understood only through personal experience.

What are you waiting for? Take the first step.

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