As humans, we have been given the enormous capacity and capability to do and achieve the unbelievable. However, the sad truth of the matter is that most people don’t ever reach their true potential in many areas of life. Many people are comfortable just “existing” and living for the moment rather than seeking to grow, improve, and push the boundaries of their mind.
When you look around, you can see that there are people who have achieved their maximum potential. Everyone from superstar athletes to genius scientists, inventors, and many CEOs have found a way to reach the top. What all these people have in common is that they focused on developing themselves so that they can grow and achieve things beyond the ordinary.
Anyone can achieve the extraordinary and do amazing things if they really desire to. The way to reach the top is through personal growth and development.
You Become Who You Surround Yourself With
It has been said many times that people often become who they spend the most time with. If you surround yourself with negative, toxic people, then you have a good chance of becoming one yourself. The same holds true if you surround yourself with successful people. Do you think that it’s a coincidence that I as well as all of my close friends (with whom I’ve been friends with since junior high school) all went on to earn engineering degrees in college? Obviously, in 5th grade not one of us knew for sure what we wanted to do when we finished high school. This is why it is so important to surround yourself with the right kind of people.
Internet marketing master, Tai Lopez, gave a talk one time where he describes the ideal situation as the law of 33%. He suggests that you spend 1/3 of your time with people that are below you, 1/3 of time with people on your same level, and 1/3 of your time with people above you.
For the people below you, this is an opportunity to become a mentor to them and share your knowledge and experience with those that need/want to learn. For the people on your same level, this is most likely your close friends and family members. These people are often your support network. And finally, for the people above you, spend 1/3 of your time learning from them. This will likely be uncomfortable but this is necessary to grow and become a better version of yourself.
Pretty much all avenues of personal development involve learning and growing from reading books. Even in a time where the world’s information is accessible from any device within seconds, books still hold the key to stretching your brain beyond its current limitations. Most colleges and universities still rely on textbooks as the de facto source for new knowledge.
Books are a great source of knowledge because the author can really take any amount of time/space that they need to fully articulate an idea or thought. There are also books available on any topic and you have the ability to learn things in excruciating detail if you so desire to do so. With books, anyone can become an expert on any topic.
Another great thing about books is that you can learn from anyone that you desire to learn from. It’s challenging to find a good mentor, however, you can probably find a book written by people that you admire. And in many cases, the advice and perspectives that they offer are still just as relevant today as they were at the time they were written.
I understand that reading books is difficult and time-consuming and that it requires active brain participation. However, this is what is necessary to force you to grow and eventually become a better version of yourself. If it were easy then everyone would do it.
In order to get better at anything, you need to stretch yourself. If you want a different outcome then you need to do things differently then you have done them before. There are many ways in which you can stretch yourself to achieve more and great things.
For instance, most people that start a new job are both excited to get started and eager to prove themselves. In the beginning, they often have no problem doing whatever is necessary to show that they have what it takes to get the job done. However, over time this motivation subsides and people get comfortable in their jobs. Stagnation takes over and they no longer have a desire to push themselves further. This is the career path of many people.
Don’t ever let yourself get complacent, stagnate, or comfortable in any job. If this happens to you, then you have stopped learning and growing in your career. This is when you need to make a change because if you don’t, you’ll be passed up for promotions and eventually, if it continues long enough, you’ll be out of a job.
To avoid stagnation and to start stretching yourself, develop a desire to take on new assignments. Don’t be afraid to volunteer for things that no one else wants to do. In addition to these things, sign up for every training class or seminar that you can in your specific career path. This will help you to stay abreast of the latest things in your field which can result in both improved skills and an improvement eagerness to get better at your job. Classes and seminars can also break up the monotony of the workweek which can bring some much-needed excitement to a stagnating career.
And finally, perhaps most importantly, you need to set achievable goals for yourself. Without goals, you have nothing to aim for and you will have less motivation to keep moving forward when things get tough. When I first started on my personal development journey, I set a goal to read one book and write 4 articles each month. Now I have surpassed these and have added many other goals as well.
When setting goals it’s also very important to put them in a place where you will see them every day. This simple reminder is sometimes all that is necessary to help keep you going. You stand a much greater chance of meeting your goals if you review them daily. For more reading on the topic of goals, check out my other article on How to Make Progress and Finally Achieve Your Goals.