Personal development: Find out how to do it better



  • 2. To do implies an action. Your goal is to achieve something.

The characteristic of this auxiliary verb ‘to do’ implies a set goal, or a destination. Having a destination already gives you guidelines or ‘sets the tracks’. In life, to get anywhere, we need directions. And truthfully, we can only move in one direction at a time. You can change directions at any given moment, but you cannot move in two different directions at the same time, so a choice must be made. But what happens when circumstances arise, so that you can no longer advance towards your goal? For example, you lose your position in a company, your status, you are set off track? If you are no longer ‘in action’, does that mean you are no longer achieving your goal? How do you recover? How do you rebuild? How do you pick yourself back up? What resources are available to you? What tools or tricks can you use?

This leads me to the last auxiliary verb and the one I give the highest importance.

  • 3. to be. Being implies a state. A state, as a ‘state of being’, in itself, is enduring. It is a quality. It is about who you are fundamentally speaking: “I am”. “I am happy”. “I am content”. This also answers the question, when everything is taken away from you, what do you have left? This could also be translated into: what is it that money cannot buy? If you’ve lost everything, are physically incapacitated, or cannot (no longer) advance for any particular reason or given circumstances, this does not take away your identity, who are are. You are still you. For this reason it is important to know your assets and values that define you no matter what life throws at you. Despite loss, you can still be, grow and evolve and ‘become’ again. Realizing one’s dream is not so much what you have or what you achieve, but what remains when everything is taken away from you.

Ultimately, Self-discovery (or personal development) leads to an appreciation of your own worth. Some call this a kind of satisfaction or happiness. In order to be and appreciate your own worth, you have to be able to define your set of values. It is a kind of deep dive into the core of your own being. What are your animating principles? What defines your being, and what are the principles according to which you live? These principles should form the foundation of and provide the means to find meaning in your life. Knowing what they are is empowering. Could it be for example helping others or being a hero for someone? Your principles or set of values are also what I call one’s toolbox (or toolkit) – your sources of power.

When you’re sick, you resort to your pharmacy (first aid kit) in the kitchen. According to the symptoms, you take a certain pill. It’s the same with defining the tools in your toolbox/values. What tools and values do you need at different moments in life? They come in hand in times of difficulty or struggle or when faced with generic challenges such as inertia, bad habits, negativity, laziness, getting discouraged, depression, etc. Examples of one’s values (or tools) are strength, courage, hope, love, family, community, sharing, gratitude, compassion, patience, perseverance, positivity, faith, etc. These tools/values can be as simple as taking time out to enjoy a cup of tea or as valuable as sharing a moment with a friend. These are the tools and tricks that you pull out when you need to. They also aid in assessing yourself on your road to personal development and self-discovery.

As you travel on the pathway of personal development, you must know what you are after, what you are pursuing – what is your dream. Identifying the auxiliary verb that correlates with your dream (‘having’, ‘doing’, or ‘being’) is the first step in ‘realizing’ it. By diving deep into the core of your ‘self’, you identify your set of values which ultimately define who you are. Money, prize possessions, and material objects can contribute to the quality of life but should not be the main motivation. If taken away they can lead to an emotional derailment. If faced with the failure to achieve your dream, what set of values or guiding principles allow you to bounce back? These should ultimately facilitate you to resort to a state of satisfaction or happiness. Personal development should enable you to assess your set of values that define you and your life. What’s in your toolbox? To be, to do or to have, that is the ultimate question.