“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”
I had my time when I tasted despair. It is through that experience I came to an understanding of a life-altering mind-shift. My insight was simple:
It is not so important to be happy as it is important to grow.
The chapter ahead is about self-improvement but before we dive into technicalities, I would like to talk about the philosophy of personal growth.
Although I’ve worked hard on myself, I never claimed to be a self-made man. Calling yourself self-made is nothing but a sign of ignorance, it is disrespectful toward all people who contributed to your growth.
I give full credit to men who formulated three theses of what I think comprise a robust self-development mindset. I am sure they inherited these ways of thinking from their mentors, and their mentors learned it from theirs. That is the way knowledge transfers itself — it is passed through the chain of teachers.
Here are the three quotes that can be rightfully called the 3 pillars of self-development.
The 3 Pillars of the Self-Development.
“The process is the goal.”
~ James Altucher
The goal of reading a book is not getting to its last page. It is in the transformation that subtly happens to you during your journey from the first letter to the last full point.
The goal of mastering a martial art is not attaining the black belt. It is in the process of becoming a person who deserves to be belted.
The goal of meditation is not enlightenment. It is in building up the discipline of the mind to sit through uncomfortable sensations scrutinizing what’s hidden behind the realm of thoughts.
Detach yourself from the result of your endeavor. Be no longer bounded by the expectations of your arrival — enjoy the ride and do your best. The goal of any self-development routine is not in reaching some devised destination point, it is in proceeding through. The process is the goal. Come to this realization and let it liberate you.
“There is no failure.”
~ Nicolas Cole
A child that learns how to walk falls right after his first step. He gets up and falls for thousands of times yet he doesn’t quit trying. You were that child. Would you be able to walk if you gave up after your first attempts? It’s a ridiculous question, but it makes a point:
Failure is an inherent attribute of the process of learning.
Thomas Edison is purported to have said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that will not work.” He wasn’t discouraged by failure, he was enabled by it. Every misstep, in fact, brought him one step closer to the realization of what he had conceived. All his failed experiments were just points in the line of constant progression.
Failure is good.
Through failure we apprehend actions that don’t lead to desired results, we shine a light on our fallacies, we learn how to become resourceful and find means to prevail over the obstacles of life. But most importantly, it is only through failure that we achieve clarity on things we don’t want to identify with. We dispel the fictitious ideas of self.
Failure is a weapon of a great force. You may wield it and harness perseverance or you may fall by it shamed into inaction. Either scenario is defined by your perception.
Don’t try to avoid failure because you won’t. Cultivate a welcoming attitude toward failure, create your own narrative of it and you will never get paralyzed by it, instead, it will propel your growth.
“The journey is the reward.”
~ Steve Jobs
Earning money was never my primary objective when I worked on my startup. Like many other aspiring founders, I wanted to change the world. However, I also had a secondary motivation: I wanted my startup to be a good journey. For me, the business was always about relationships.
I failed to build a successful company and let myself get sucked into the black hole of depression. But when I resurfaced on the other side, I realized what an extremely valuable experience it was. I’ve walked the path and in the end, there was a reward — life experience. My new becoming was my most precious prize.
The process is the goal. There is no failure. The journey is the reward. Let these three simple ideas become your guidance in any action you take to improve yourself.
Focus on the process, redefine failure, and get done what has to be done come hell or high water. Do it and I promise you, one year from now you will be a changed person. That future you will look back and see with clarity why whatever you go through right now was bound to have happened.
In words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Choose yourself. Work hard in silence.
Thank you for reading my book “Meditations of the Millennial”.
If you want to support me on my mission, please, share this book with someone you love. Maybe they will find what they seek on its pages.