In pursuit of personal and professional growth we seek out the tools work best, apps, hacks, procedures to use to get stuff done and avoid procrastination.
We try many of them, but in that search for the perfect tool, we forget the most essential and complex app we have …. our mind.
Indeed this search for the best tool, the best system, can distract us from understanding and working with the one we are born with.
Our attempts to understand this app go back to antiquity before we even know ourselves. It’s is on the oracle at Delphi, Know Thyself (γνῶθι σεαυτόν or gnōthi seauton).
The self-help literature is full of stories and advice on working better, but the best advice I’ve ever come across is based on a sound understanding of how the mind works.
There are times when I get too obsessed with technology and tools. Learning SEO, marketing hacks, note-taking apps and so on. During these times, I’m not focusing on nurturing my thoughts into valuable and compelling ideas. That’s what sells valuable ideas and methods.
It didn’t work for me because, in some way, I knew I didn’t have an idea to sell. I hadn’t enough work on myself and my life to have something worthy to say, or I hadn’t worked out how to say it.
I hadn’t learned enough about myself, my unique app of the mind. Because of this, I fell into problems like procrastination, shame, worry, and stress.
I had to spend time on myself (and with a therapist) finding out what I was doing wrong and correcting it. Not just my behaviours but my wrongheaded attitudes and beliefs about me, the world, writing, art, and work.
To be successful, happy, prosperous is important enough to look inwards to examine the mind we use. The massive size of the self-help genre shows just how much we take it seriously.
To understand ourselves and our place in the cosmos is the most prolonged endeavour of humanity and is what mindfulness and Buddhist practice is for. To become more aware of the workings of the mind.
The great thing about this app of the mind is that it’s adaptable. We can rewrite it to suit our needs.
It’s not easy doing this, habit change is hard work, but it also makes good habits break.
Such adaptations allow us to find and employ the strategies that work for us. Such a topic include science, religion, philosophy and more.
What’s important is it gets worked on and shows the values of study and contemplation.
One of my favourite quotes covers this. ‘Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become.‘ ~Jim Rohn
I think of it as the need to grow up
You have to grow down, like a tree. To grow out, you have to grow in.
The mind that is your app needs updating throughout your life; as the world changes, so must you. This is what personal growth is about. It’s how you stay no only relevant but healthy and a little happier.