If you read any blog long enough (including this one), you’ll see many of the same themes and ideas pop up again and again.
“You are enough”.
Taking risks and learning from them.
Facing your fears.
Make yourself into the person you want to be.
You can see where this is going – many of the ideas we use here in the personal development community are actually just different takes on the various fundamental ideas that form the core of self improvement. This is with good reason – the more we concentrate on the fundamentals, the more improvement we’ll see. The fundamentals are called “fundamentals” for a good reason – they form the base upon all other ideas are formed. If you don’t have the fundamentals down, more “advanced” things, like worrying about your possessions or your job, will be worthless.
Conversely, if you really get the fundamentals down, you’ll be golden. In fact, you probably won’t need to read this site anymore – and I say this honestly. You can come back and read when I cover things beyond the fundamentals (for example, my post on productivity a few weeks ago), but you won’t need to go over every single post.
What are the fundamental ideas of personal development, you ask?
You are enough: This is, by far, the most important idea. It teaches you that you can be totally happy with yourself as you are, because you are whole as a human being, right here, right now. You aren’t better or worse than any other person, you have your own incredible gifts to share – how could you not be whole? Your flaws do not take away from your wholeness. Your lack of money or a job or a girlfriend/boyfriend or a nice car or a nice house or amazing friends does not take away from the fact that you, alone, are enough for you to feel happy. You have nothing to prove to anyone. You do not need validation because you feel good about who you are. And, if you don’t feel great about who you are – accept it, and make some strides to change yourself for the better. This and self-trust go hand-in-hand. This is the fundamental of all the fundamentals. If you get this down – meaning you genuinely like and accept yourself for all you are – you’re golden.
Take risks and face your fears: This one is also huge. In order to grow, you’re going to have to step up to the plate and take some action to shatter your fears. You’re going to have to do things that you normally wouldn’t do – learn new skills, be more social, be willing to be ambitious and start crazy projects and challenges for yourself. By setting a new standard high for yourself, you’ll be forcing yourself to grow in a myriad of ways. Forcing yourself to get social and talk to everyone (including strangers) will make you become a better conversationalist. Forcing yourself to eat well and exercise often will make you get in much better shape physically, which will improve all parts of your life. You will also have to realize that 99% of all your fears are just illusions crafted by your mind. They don’t exist. If you get in the habit of calculated risk-taking and standing up to your fears, you will grow tremendously. My friend Tyler Tervooren runs an awesome site on risk-taking alone called Advanced Riskology. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re interested in pushing your limits.
Being authentic: This follows directly from the above two. Being authentic means that you’ll never compromise yourself with the world and will always follow your heart above all else – because, again, you are enough. This essentially means that you are expressing, not impressing – you are always doing what you want without concern of what others will think of you. This also means that you’ll be honest, all the time, and will take a job that you love over a job that pays well, for example. Authenticity makes the light you have inside from realizing that you are enough shine.
Living in the moment: Living in the moment – not thinking, taking things as they are, not worrying about the past or the future – is immensely enriching. One still has to keep track of time and handle things responsibly, like deadlines and appointments, but, for normal living, staying in the moment is nothing short of amazing. All of your power to live your life resides right here, right now. If you want to start living an awesome life, you have to decide now. If you want to get something done, you should do it now. If you want to relax and enjoy life, why wait? Do it now. There are so many applications to living in the present that it’s mindboggling. The best effects about living in the moment are these, though: it makes everything you do better and it makes life incredibly peaceful, since you’re not worrying about the past or present.
Understanding Is Just The Beginning
If you focus on these 4 fundamentals every day, you will notice a tremendous change in your life. Make them a priority – because, honestly, in personal development, no other concepts and ideas hold as much weight and power. They are the concepts that changed my life.
Should you watch the posts carefully, you’ll see that they are almost always different ways to approach, discuss, and implement these fundamental ideas. I’m not saying I’m out of original ideas – it’s just that everything else that we write about is based from the fundamentals, and my original ideas are how I can apply these fundamentals in a new, creative way.
While you may be nodding your head and are saying to yourself, “Well I get all of these ideas, so does that mean I’m all set in personal development?”
Just because you understand these ideas on a conceptual level doesn’t mean you’ve actually ingrained them into your personality or plugged them into your identity. You have to actively apply these ideas into your daily life if you’re going to expect any sort of progress.
Start challenging yourself. Start changing your internal dialogue to think better thoughts about yourself and realize that you’re enough. Start taking risks that make your palms sweat and your heart beat faster – then execute. Start practicing meditation and living in the moment more, letting the past and present melt away. Start being yourself more and more, while shedding the parts of you that ache for the validation of others.
And once you start, keep going, keep practicing every day.
Because, like anything else, you can’t get “good” at this unless you do.