Can we Improve the World Through Personal Development?
What is Personal Development?
If we were to give a definition, although debatable, it could be summed up as the enlargement of our consciousness, to make a better use of our free-will (meaning seeing more things, waking up, and being able to make responsible choices) and to understand the world better. It is important to note that Personal Development is not a philosophy or a religion; it is a mindset, a way of thinking based on actions, not talk or unquestioned beliefs. Action is wisdom – we learn through it – and one can develop no matter where one starts from and what one believes in.
Why Personal Development?
The enlargement of one’s consciousness and the mastery of one’s life bring happiness, and that is why Personal Development is relevant. It is important to understand that true peace and long-lasting joy do not come from the outside, but from the way we think about and see the world.
How to Achieve This?
Without surprise it demands a lot of personal commitment, along with a bit of knowledge and possibly some support. It requires time, work and a strong will. Knowledge can be found in books, some movies, or ideally through the help of a master/mentor/coach, but then it is up to each of us to apply it. The good news is that all the necessary resources can be found within ourselves, thus ensuring that anybody can develop.
What Can the Results Be?
Developed people are “great” people (different from “good” which refers only to technical skills); they have “something more” than regular people, they seem to be “good at being humans”. I’m sure we all know somebody who, for some reason, just needs to be around to make us feel good, peaceful. Somebody who seems strong while friendly and accessible – somebody simple but not simplistic.
How Could Personal Development Impact our Lives and our Surrounding Environment?
First it is important to understand that our world is fractal; the small is the same in nature as the big. A snow flake is made of countless little snowflakes with the same pattern. A leaf is made of a main root dividing itself into small branches, precisely like a tree… And countries are made of people. Thus the emotions and behaviors involved in an argument between two persons are similar to the ones involved in wars between two countries. Therefore a change on the individual scale would lead to a change on the global scale – if people, on an individual basis, work towards abolishing their negative emotions (e.g. fear, doubt) this would apply to a higher level such as countries and to the world.
The second point is that happy people will tend to be ready to Serve, meaning acting toward a goal higher than themselves. Since their happiness comes from their way of thinking, enabling them to fulfill their ego’s needs in a long-lasting way (see Maslow’s Pyramid of the Human Needs to know more about Ego and Self needs), their actions will aim their Self-Actualization, which is best attained through Service. Thus the answers to pollution, wars, famine, disease, financial crisis and so on will come from individuals who follow their dreams and feel compelled to act for the world (serving).
I think Personal Development should be taught in a systematic manner. The knowledge spread by books or through personal coaching should be gathered and ordered, and possibly integrated to the education system (schools and universities). Key concepts such as how to see the world, how to think about oneself and others, and traits such as self-confidence are useful for anyone in any given situation and they should therefore be taught and introduced during dedicated courses & seminars. For none of this is easily available or widely spread.
Let’s now conclude with a sentence worth remembering and understanding, especially for all those who are worried, stressed or unhappy:
“Remember that nothing, absolutely nothing guarantees you will live the second to come.”