WHAT DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE?
I really enjoy playing guitar. I guess you could say that I am semi-professional. While I don’t play for a living, when I do play I usually get paid. It’s what’s called a ‘side hustle’. Technique, music theory, even electronics are things I have to learn apply to play well. I practice daily as time permits. Yet I am fully aware that I could be a lot better. There is plenty of room for self development. My guitar mentor is someone who has toured professionally for over 40 years. He has played and recorded with so many stars I have no doubt you have heard him on the radio. Yet even he says the day will come when someone walks in and blows him away. You see, at the highest level there is still room for improvement.
So what do you want to do better? Is it in something in your career? In your relationships or community? Is it a hobby or side hustle you want to explore? We all have something we can improve. Self development is not limited to just your career. Hopefully your definition of success and significance is much broader than what you do for a living (although that can be a big part of it). What is stopping you from improving?
Below are the main reasons I see people getting stuck at the same level. Everyone wishes they could do some things better, but not everyone does something to change. Being in a rut is not fun and it is not productive. Think about some part of your life you want to improve. It should be something that has real impact, that makes a big difference in your life. Identify which of the barriers below are keeping you from self development.
THE BARRIERS TO SELF DEVELOPMENT
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. You have a choice in how your spend each of those hours. If you’ve fallen victim to the myth of multi-tasking you are getting less done per hour invested. That will cause frustration and frustration can sap focus and motivation. When that happens you’ll never get around to Quadrant II activities like self development. I have many interests and I can get distracted from the important by the interesting. Self development is an important, essential, activity but it is not always urgent.
I describe your ‘Comfort Zone’ as the rut that becomes your conditional existence. In other words, you’ve gotten comfortable with the way it is and ‘the way it is’ has become a condition by which you manage to live your life. Symptoms of being stuck in a Comfort Zone are things like finding it difficult to stretch and explore opportunities or possibilities that are different. Imagination becomes too limited and this stops you from seeing more, doing more and being more. This is a very insidious condition and it creeps into life like molten lava flowing down the side of a volcano. I even offer a short course, ‘Kiss Your Comfort Zone Goodbye‘, to help people break free.
Past mistakes and failures can have emotional impact. This is especially true for people who can’t leave them behind. I firmly believe that if you are breathing today you have already overcome your mistakes. The degree to which you may have conquered the consequences of those mistakes might vary. However, if you can get up this morning you can take another step down the road from those mistakes. When past failures linger over you, they will continue to haunt and disable your momentum toward a better self.
Lack of support systems
All of us have a natural support system. It consists of the friends and family around us. Some are more helpful and more capable than others, but they are there. If you are isolated and have no one to turn to, the path to self development becomes more challenging. The bigger, perhaps more radical, the development challenge then a correspondingly stronger support system is needed.
OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS
These are just the most prevalent barriers. You may have other, more unique situations. Take some comfort in knowing that every problem has a solution — and every person has barriers. When you identify the barriers in the path of your self development goals, it becomes easier to find the solution.
Maybe you are having problems with focus and distractions. Identify and remove them so you can focus better. You could have a need to step out of your Comfort Zone (find some ideas HERE). Realize that we all make mistakes, but we all don’t let them rule us. Perhaps there is a mistake or failure that has been guiding your actions and thoughts for many years. Recognize it and take a hard look at what you’ve accomplished or become since that time. There is a good chance you are much stronger, wiser, and talented today.
Finally, enlist your support system for help. They may be able to identify these or other barriers to your self development. Tell them what you want to work on in your life. Ask them for advice and help. If you don’t have a support system then perhaps that is your first goal! Who could be a part of your system? Talk to them today.
Only when you get serious about self development will it happen. Wishing you were better at this and that, reading a self-help book, or taking a class is only the beginning. Identify your barriers and remove them. Then put together a real plan to grow and you will be excited with what happens in your life.
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