I know I said there would be no more self development articles on Entrepreneur’s Journey, but what I meant to say there would be no more by me! Matt kindly contributed this great article on self development and I wanted to publish it here since my personal development blog won’t be launching for a while. Enjoy! – Yaro
By Matt Lindsay from A Car Too Far
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you can’t believe in yourself then who else is going to believe in you?Ã¢â‚¬Â – I heard this mantra a while ago and although it’s not a pillar of my everyday living, it serves to illustrate at least one of the key issues that often send people on a path of self development. There are other reasons of course, ranging from those who are picking themselves up after a fall (maybe you lost your job or broke up with a partner) to those who are only hitting the 7 out of 10 mark and feel they could do better. Whatever your reason for starting a program of self development, once you dip your toe, you could well find yourself in for a splash.
Self Development is, by nature, an open loop structure; as you develop and improve your personal characteristics, the more you will desire to achieve and strive for better things. In order to get that bit extra from life, you will need to develop more and so on and so forth and if this cycle is left unchecked, this can rapidly lead to a serious burnout. Fortunately every day constraints or Ã¢â‚¬Å“frictional lossesÃ¢â‚¬Â will erode the speed at which this cycle accelerates but ultimately you will need to be careful about what aspects of your character you wish to improve and more importantly how many you try to improve at once.
I recently decided to quit my job in order to chase my dream. I realised that if I was working from 5AM to 12PM everyday already, then I had the commitment it would take to go it alone. I have a few months in which to work up enough money to give me a few months breathing space, but at some point I will have to decide what business of mine I’m going to run with. How did I make this decision? Well Steve Pavlina’s excellent approach to the relative risk strategies of being in a job to working for yourself were instrumental in the decision and this all started because of my journey of self development, so, well I know these risks.
If you are reading this article it is likely that you have an inkling as to what self development involves and you may even have a few good resources for advice. This is not the domain for this article but I am happy to put you in the direction of my favourite reads. If, for example, you pop over to Steve’s site, you will find a plethora of articles and blog entries on self development. The easy mistake to make is to harvest them all (or a large number), read them and try to implement them. Take this strategy and it is next stop: Burnout City .
For instance, we would all like to get a little more out of our day. How about trying Polyphasic sleeping, having better time management or just getting up when your alarm goes off (this worked wonders for me). We could benefit from giving up coffee, sanctifying our workspace, making money from our blogs, overcome fear and there aren’t many of us out there that would turn down the opportunity to make $10,000 in an hour. There are, however, some things that cannot be rushed and self development is one of them. Not only will you burn out if you binge on self improvement but in actual fact some of the best advice and methods are mutually exclusive. Just as Steve often says, to get from a 7 to a 10 you sometimes have to go back to a 5 first.
I do not know the ultimate answer to applying self development, only the way it works best for me and the way that I would advise. I have split the two routes and addressed them separately:
Progressive Self Development
The way I like to look at applying self development is like a tan. If you try and get a great tan all in one, it will burn and peel off quickly. If you build it up, layer by layer, waiting for each application to settle and really sink in before laying the next, you will have a firm understanding of the things you have done, why they work and why you should continue to do them. It is also easier to do it this way as you only really need address one issue at a time.
Structured Self Development
If you are in more of a rush to be the million dollar man you might opt for a program of structured self development. This is where you consider certain aspects of your persona and group them into comparable and mutually inclusive groups. You might for example have a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Time management and optimizationÃ¢â‚¬Â aspect that you want to improve and similarly a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Finance and occupationÃ¢â‚¬Â aspect. These groups will depend on you, but be sure to keep them fairly specific. For example if you tired to bundle Ã¢â‚¬Å“Time ManagementÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“Healthy LivingÃ¢â‚¬Â into a single group you may well come unstuck when you try and optimize both as the interrelationships between the two (extra time required for workouts or meal preparation compared to Ã¢â‚¬Å“time and motion studiesÃ¢â‚¬Â) will cause unpredictable or unrepeatable results at best or collide entirely at worst. Once you have these groups defined (on paper preferably) then set about reading up on one group at a time, or if you are impatient, one mechanism for each group. Try to deal with one group completely before moving to the next if you have time, or again if you are rushing this then one mechanism from each group only!
Ultimately, the process of Self Development is a difficult one, not least because of one of its own inherent anomalies. When dealing with self progression, it is commonly accepted that goals are required. A goal is a dream with a deadline, that is to say that as we, as humans, work best to deadlines, by attaching a Ã¢â‚¬Å“due byÃ¢â‚¬Â date to our dreams we transmute them into actions. Self development however is an on going process and only a program of continual improvement will make for take you the whole distance. If you cannot put a time frame on it as an overall process and you can never complete it then doesn’t it break its own rules? Well, yes and no, but with no timeframe on it, at least it will work nicely with your new Ã¢â‚¬Å“Stress managementÃ¢â‚¬Â mechanism…
Provided for your own protection by Matt Lindsay.
Matt is giving up his job in October to further follow his dream (see his blog) and to find a way to make mortgage each month – pretty scary really.