How often do we not hear or read congratulations on our birthday such as “Stay the way you are”?
If we look at this sentence more closely and not just as a mere phrase, we should not comply with this request under any circumstances!
Because this excludes personal development quasi.
In the first years of our life we are immensely curious and absorb everything we see, hear and feel like a sponge as knowledge. At first very unconsciously, because of our feelings and reflexes we communicate to the outside that we have left the optimal state. We scream.
Sometimes it is because of hunger and thirst, sometimes because of pain, in case of diseases and their symptoms or simply when our diaper is full. With the help of our senses, we perceive our environment and engage in mimicry. Our closest environment serves as a template for our copying. To the many things we learn in the first months, the functions of speaking and walking are added at some point. At the latest a few years after puberty, one could claim that our natural physical development is complete. That of personality, however, has only just begun, given our life expectancy.
As adults, we still mirror the behavior of others, but no longer predominantly that of our family environment, such as our parents. As adolescents, we dress like our friends, copy the habitus of apparently more popular people, and emulate our idols. Even if some behaviors are considered foolish or even dangerous by outsiders or, in retrospect, by ourselves, they are still an important part of the development from child to adult. We are usually helped by all of this and it helps us to develop our personality into a true character.
Many of us do not succeed in self-reflectively analyzing our character until we reach a certain age, and some never do. The reasons for this can be manifold. For example, some people lack the willingness to explore themselves and instead distract themselves from themselves with media consumption, have little empathy for the reactions of others, or lack the objectivity to look at their own actions.
The advantages of conscious as opposed to unconscious personal development are clear: You can achieve results faster and with more focus, so that weaknesses can be identified and strengthened and good skills can be continuing developed. Therefore, the earlier we start with conscious personality development, the better.
Nowadays we have so many possibilities for our conscious personality development: Besides personal conversations with our friends and acquaintances, we can look for a mentor, read an unmanageable amount of books, listen to podcasts, watch videos, attend seminars, face extreme situations with intention, like skydiving, and much more.
Not only content per se is crucial for our personal development, but also whether the content entertains us and whether we have sympathy for the person from whom we want to learn. On the one hand, we learn better when we enjoy it, and on the other, we are more inclined to imitate likeable people and thus copy their successful behaviors.
In medicine, it is discussed whether the so-called mirror neurons are connected with this. Even if this has not yet been clarified, we undoubtedly learn more easily and prefer to learn from personalities we find pleasant.
Only if you are willing to keep learning from others, you will reach your goals in the long run.
Therefore, we should never stay as we are, but have the will to become a better version of ourselves.
Finally, I have a few books, podcasts and videos for you that have also helped me tremendously on my journey.
Bodo Schäfer: The Winners Laws
Ray Dalio: Principles
Hermann Scherer: Fokus! (German)
I hope that you too are actively becoming more and more the better version of yourself.
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