Sunday, August 17, 2008

Personal Development

Every time I read Steve Pavlina's blog (Personal Development for Smart People) I get inspired to become better, to grow. I stumbled onto the blog by accident when I was googling around to help me become an early riser. Actually my goal was even simpler - how do I make myself get up when my alarm rings? From the everyday, to the metaphysical - I found so much content on the site that really struck a cord.

I've been trying to better myself, consciously, over the past year or so. I can't say I have made much progress, but I also can't say that I have applied myself fully. It's the first time in my life that I'm making a conscious effort to grow myself. Of course throughout high school and college I was bettering myself too - I learned a lot, I got some exercise, I did pretty damn well overall. I did some meditating back in high school, did some yoga. Now that I think about it, I guess I haven't been all that unconscious about my growth. So let me rephrase that - during the past year I have been seeking outside sources to help in my growth and have re-awakened my desire to grow.

Previously I did things on my own. I wanted to develop myself, I wanted to help others so I volunteered, I challenged myself. I was shy and quiet but I held a volunteer position where I had to speak to visitors daily telling them about animals in the Aquarium when I was 14. When I was in college I spent a summer standing on the streets of Manhattan asking people for money... for what I thought was a good cause. I volunteered doing trail work when I was 16 and planned a trip to Thailand to study Buddhism as a junior in college. Unfortunately the trip to Thailand didn't happen, but I did travel to South Africa the next year to work with baboons for 6 weeks. These were all conscious growth efforts on my part. Of course I wanted to help, but I also wanted to become better and to know myself through these experiences.

I guess I can say that now is just the continuation of my personal growth. It's become more dire and important to me to do this now, and not let it go. Possibly because now I'm out of school, and personal growth takes more effort. It's easy to slip into a daily routine, just going to work everyday. I don't want that to happen. I don't want my curiosity for life and self-awareness that I've developed over the last 8 years to just disappear and be forgotten.

So, where am I going? What have I been doing?
I've been trying to learn about time management and procrastination. I read "The Now Habit" (Fiore) while I was in South Africa, and I'm now reading "Getting Things Done" (Allen). I'm doing yoga once I week. I still do taekwondo. I trekked through Peru last month for a couple of weeks. These are just things I'm doing, tasks. But what's my goal? Why am I doing THESE things and not other things?

My goal is personal development. I want to re-connect to myself the way I used to be connected back in high school. I used to feel a connectedness with the world back then. Something happened, I got to caught up. I think I can become re-connected, and in a more meaningful way. I'm more mature now, I'm more aware of the things happening around the world. The things I've seen in my travels shouldn't make it harder to connect to the energy I've felt before. It shouldn't make me skeptical and dark. It should help me reach a higher understanding.

I feel that I am ready. I'm ready to expand my mind.