One of the critical aspects that I have to deal with on a daily basis is to help my students, teachers and the support staff embrace the path of self-development. There is so much desire in people to grow and to grow at the speed of lightning. I spend a lot of time talking to students as well as employees on this topic and sometimes I get the feeling that I am more concerned about their development than they themselves. One thing that has always come out clear in the discussions in the classroom or on the University campus is that most people do not want to be where they are in life but they don’t want to do anything to change it either. Everyone seems to be looking at a shortcut to success which is very unlikely to come.
I have tried to reflect on this topic and have given some thought as to what determines the road to success and self-development. I thus, thought of sharing with everyone on the subject in the hope you will think about this at some point in your life. I have classified these into the different heads so as to help you be focused on these points and they can be filed in our memory system for good.
- Purpose: The first important element of self-development is to be able to define a purpose for living or being here. Someone may say that their purpose to make a lot of money. This is the wrong way of thinking as making a lot of money cannot be the purpose, it can be the outcome of a purpose that you have defined for yourself. Purpose defines the reason for you to live and to act. It is a search for something that makes you complete with money or without it. It is something that gives you the balance of life that leads to happiness. It is something that you work to achieve, something that does not let you sleep. If you do not have clarity on the purpose for your life, it will be difficult to proceed on the path of self-development. So, think about it and evaluate your purpose in life before anything else.
- Passion: You may be able to define a great purpose for yourself to be achieved in your lifetime but you do not have the passion for it, in such a situation there will hardly be any self-development that will take place in your life. What it means is that you are just creating a mirage for yourself and trying to deceive yourself. This is like saying that I want to be good at what I do but I do not work to make it happen. Passion towards your purpose is like the pilot of a jumbo 747 who makes sure that the destination is reached on time even through rough weather. He cannot give up just because the weather suddenly turns bad. Passion is something that holds us to what we want to achieve in life. It is the blood that gives life to the purpose that we define. If you have a passion for the purpose then you never have to work, you just enjoy doing what you are doing. Nothing can be achieved without passion for your purpose.
- Perseverance: Never give up because you doubt yourself in times of difficulty. Such doubts are a normal way for God to test your ability to achieve. The higher your purpose in life the greater the level of difficulty that you will face in achieving it. It is one thing to climb a mountain but it is another thing to climb Mount Everest. Perseverance comes from our ability to accept the challenges as they come and not take them as problems. To me problems are those that I may not have many solutions such as the death of a loved one, everything else in life is a challenge only, a hurdle that needs to be crossed. You have to have a never give up attitude in life to increase the level of passion for the purpose that you define for yourself.
- Patience: Anything we want to achieve in life is not going to be possible in a day; it will take time and effort to achieve it. You need to focus on the purpose with passion and don’t start counting the chickens before the eggs begin to hatch. Sometimes it is going to be a long-drawn process based on the purpose that you have defined for yourself. Give yourself sufficient time you will begin to see the results of your efforts sooner or later. Work towards your purpose in a consistent manner and evaluate every step. You will have setbacks from time to time and it is part of the game. You will slowly develop the ability to cross over such hurdles. Have a lot of patience towards your achievements in life.
I look at these four “Ps” as the definite answer to understanding the road to self-development. The problem is that most people will say that it is right but so difficult to do. To them my answer is if you are looking for something that everyone can do, don’t have such a high purpose in life. Be happy with what you have, but if you want to stand out in the crowd then you have to extraordinary things.