The best motivation for personal development

In theory, personal development sounds good to many people. We all aspire to be some version of great. Why not be the greatest that you can be?

In practice, things can be difficult. Real life challenges get in the way. We have our own interpersonal and intrapersonal challenges. We all have busy lives. We already have our own habits.

Where do we get the motivation to change?

There are extrinsic benefits such as looks, money, power, and respect. There are intrinsic benefits such as mastery, confidence, and control.

You would think that some combination of extrinsic and intrinsic benefits would be good enough for people to change.

For some, it is. If you have great willpower, and want the best for yourself, you will figure out how to make it happen. If you want to make things slightly easier for yourself, Daniel Pink has popularized the notion the intrinsic motivation is often more effective than extrinsic motivation.

Yet, for many, these motivating factors aren’t enough.

You know what is even more powerful?

The prior intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors are focused on the self. What seems to be even more powerful is to focus on those that we care about.

Best friends? Yes, many of us will do things to help our best friends that we wouldn’t do for ourselves.

It gets better with our parents, siblings, and with our spouses. Many would sacrifice large parts of their lives, or die, for their family.

One more step up, and we hit the jackpot: our children. They are our own offspring, are of our own blood, and are made in our image. Many people consider their children their legacy that will live on when they die.

People will will do amazing things to nurture and provide for their children. They will leave their friends and family, to move to a country that is better for their children. They will work multiple jobs for years to help pay for basic necessities, and then help out with the cost of college, if they can.

So where does personal development fit into the picture?

Providing necessities for a child is one thing. Properly nurturing a child is another.

Where does a child learn from in their most formative years? Their parents!

As the old adage says: like father, like son.

When it comes to your personal and psychological problems, you can easily fool yourself. Your friends and family may play it off. Or, they may not feel comfortable enough to seriously confront you with issues that matter.

But, you can’t fool the child. Your words mean nothing. Your actions mean everything. Your actions mirror who you are, and they define the world that your child grows up in.

You can’t help it. Your child can’t help it. It will just happen. You are their example for how to live life, and they are going to learn from you.

If anything, focus on personal development for your children.

Because if you ignore your own shit, you dump it on your children. Then they have double the shit to deal with; they’ve got your shit, as well as their own internal shit.

I know you want the best for your children (for future children). You are already going to raise them and feed them. That is the minimum.

Now make sure to work on yourself so that you’re also a fucking good example for them.

P.S. This is post number #25 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Check out my current project Soulmix, your daily mix of food for the soul. Request an invite now for free access to the public beta!

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