This article is not a direct address to a problem statement, but a journey with me to certain philosophies that I have entertained in my quest for personal growth. There is a short and effective way to look at personal growth which I will come to in this article, one that I believe will help you to be more closer to peace with the practice of personal development.
I am thankful to many people in my life, for instilling in me a desire for personal growth in my life.
Both my parents have always been open to learning and cared to share some of their struggles with difficult choices and dilemmas associated with scenarios.
A few school teachers stood out in vocalising their own personal learnings and set an example by embracing the incompleteness in spite of not being required to do so.
I was fortunate to have attended a school that celebrated learning and instilled pride, largely thanks to the unconventional principal that held office there.
The themes you can notice in these experiences are 1) an acceptance that there is more to learn, 2) embracing the position of vulnerability and committing to the uneasy feeling of going through that phase of growth and 3) celebrating various forms of learning.
The next key discovery for me was the pedagogy behind personal growth. My first ever encounter was a program called Total Achievement Program run by our school in grade 11 or 12. I was fascinated that I can train my brain to improve myself through applied techniques.
The importance of this was further cemented when I joined my first employer and they provided weeks of pure training on interpersonal, communication and general soft skills.
Over the past 14 years of my career, I have taken a deep interest in peer feedback and self-introspection in all walks of my life and that has made me a better colleague, a better family member, better husband and a better parent.
Some of these lessons were learnt from kind advice, scorching criticism or tense situations with loved ones, but always followed by introspection.
During recent times, I have had the pleasure to work with more people than I ever have before, and this gave me a chance to collect feedback on a scale I haven't done before.
In almost all of my previous encounters with feedback, I was very aligned with the feedback I used to get, as in not many surprises - I will be aware of my growth areas that needed to work on.
This time, the questions for my feedback had asked about the desirable skills and traits for the role, and then later what I was displaying in the role. I saw many of those characteristics as what I have, many that I want to be and some that are not in line with my nature or contradictory.
So I reflected on these for a couple of weeks and like every great idea, while in the shower, I thought about the situation as described below :
There is a version of me that another person or group that interacts with me expect me to be. This is based on their interactions with me, The role they believe that I am supposed to play and their own background and way of thinking.
There is a version of me that I feel myself to be at present and am aspiring to be in the future. This is where I generally direct my attention to the most, to be a better version of myself.
The Other Me
The Other Me is the Me that is known and unknown to me, what I am today.
Here is a diagram that explains this crazy text.
Summing up, 1) a systematic approach to improving oneself, 2) knowing that it requires vulnerability and acceptance of the uneasy situations that we need to overcome and 3) observing to celebrate a change in the right direction gives me the peace, drive and motivation, to better connect with people around me and become a better person in the process.
I hope you feel the same positivity once you think about your interactions this way.