How To Start A Personal Development Journey
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How to Start A Personal Development Journey

There comes a time in every life - so I like to hope - when we come to realise that the most valuable "thing" any of us can "own" is ourselves.

And when we come to this realisation, we begin to take care of ourselves. We pay attention to what we want instead of what strangers and "the system" want. We start to value ourselves. And as a result, we want the best for ourselves. We want to make something of ourselves, not as careerists or rock stars, necessarily, but as people. Individual human beings.

There comes a time when we realise, "Hey, I'm all I've got. Not my lover, not my career, not my expensive things, but me. This person. Me." Then we want to make the best of "me".

Children instinctively know this.

Children know that they come first. They're the most important person in their world, because without them, their world wouldn't exist. This is true. If I ceased to exist, the entire world as I know it - heck, all of the universe - would cease to exist. For me. Hence, from my perspective, I'm the most important person in the universe.

Children can't handle this immense information. Not at first. They demand their way. They insist that their needs be met. They throw tantrums.

We as adults try to teach them that they cannot behave this way. That other people are important, too. But sometimes, in addition to the message that "you cannot behave like a self-centred jerk", we accidentally teach them that they don't really matter, that what matters is really the people around them, not they themselves, the centre of their world.

As adults, conversely, we're experts at bowing to the demands of the world at large. First we surrender our will and identity to our parents, then our teachers, then our bosses, then our customers, our clients, our government, our football team, our phone manufacturer...

We need to reawaken to the centrality of our own being.

As adults, the reawakening comes when we realise that you've got to put your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else put theirs on.

The temptation to skip the first step and go right on to helping others is great. Especially if the other person is really dependent on us. Like if you're travelling with your kid and the oxygen masks drop. Your instinct is to save your kid first.

But if you can't breathe, you can't save your kid. Put your own mask on first!

Take care of yourself first - it's really the foundation for selfless acts of heroism. Nothing of true value can happen until you've taken care of yourself first.

Make time for yourself first. Make time to create. Paint. Make music. Cook. Sculpt. Build. Knit. Shoot photos. Shoot videos. Create. Create. Create. You are first and foremost a creator after the image of God, not a consumer after the consumption of goods.

The most practical way is to keep a journal.

Get a Moleskine, write in it every day and keep it locked in a drawer.

Create a Microsoft Word document and type in it every day and protect it with a password.

Or, write a blog to yourself and let the world eavesdrop.

Whatever you do, carve out sacred time and space to be with yourself and create something tangible. A journal is a practical start, a baseline personal development practice that everyone can do. Because everyone can talk.

If you can talk, you can write. You're not doing this for a high school teacher. You're not doing this for a literary critic. You're not doing this for a great American novel. You're talking to your closest friend, through the medium of writing. You're talking to yourself, and you know what you're talking about, so be yourself. Be honest and authentic. That's how to start a personal development journey. By speaking truth to yourself.

How do you keep a journal? Is it a premium notebook, a legal pad, a password-protected digital document or something else altogether? I'd love to learn how you do it.

Street Talk

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