Personal development track – everything you need to know about personal development in one place
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Hi and welcome to the AgileLeanLife Personal Development Track. If you don’t know what tracks are, please read more about them here. In short, tracks are the recommended order of blog posts that you should read to really master the topic you have selected. Following a track will help you acquire knowledge step by step in the fastest possible way. Now let’s get started.
Only a handful of people are extremely successful and happy in life without even knowing what personal development is and why it’s important. Those rare individuals were somehow lucky enough to be raised in the right kind of environment or they inherited the right behavioral patterns together with great wealth, talents or other crucial resources for success. But unfortunately, that rarely happens in real life.
Then there are people whose potential is already strictly limited by their fixed mindset and contempt any kind of personal development. You can frequently hear things like “I am as I am, and I don’t believe in personal development and all that psychology stuff” from these people. They usually imagine personal development as looking in the mirror and winking at yourself for how awesome you are. They just roll their eyes when they see someone constantly improving themselves, and then they return to their average lives.
The last group is the great majority of successful people, who at some point decided that they have only one life and they won’t live a boring, bitter and depressing average one. Thus they decided to take complete control of their lives, set goals, constantly improve, and achieve their peak potential together with really living life to the full. These individuals know that personal development is actually the thing that leads to a happy and successful life, a life full of abundance in terms of wealth, health, deep relationships and real self-actualization.
The vast majority of people can achieve the good life, the successful life, only with smart, constant and thorough personal development.
Why is personal development important?
Life can be hard. Actually, life is hard. If you go to any major city, sit down on a bench in the subway and observe people, you can quickly note that the majority of people are unhappy, unhealthy and they wander around without any purpose. Even more shocking and painful are the things you can’t see and most people must face, like a pile of financial debt, shitty relationships and doing jobs they hate.
You only have one life. One life, which is precious and the biggest gift you’ll ever get. Because you have only one life, you have to live it right the first time. Life is not a rehearsal. The first step is to become aware of the other side of the coin stating that life is hard. Because life is also f*cking amazing.
Your body is the most amazing thing you will ever own. Your mind is the most capable computer ever, the product of billions of years of evolution. The world offers so much to experience, so many ways to create. The good life exists, there is a way to live a really extraordinary life, but you must become aware of it and then fight for it.
Fighting for the good life always starts with changing and improving yourself. With finding ways of how you can do things better, how you can do things differently and get better results. Fighting begins with you challenging your beliefs and convictions, exchanging your bad habits with good ones, and developing personality traits like self-confidence, self-discipline and resilience.
If you want the good life, if you want to taste the best that the world has to offer, you must embark on the road to become the best version of yourself. Things happening outside you always mirror what’s happening inside of you. What you think, you become. So if you want to have the best of the world, you must become the best, you must strive to develop all your talents and potentials. It’s that simple.
Now you know the secret: the good life, the rich life in any aspect, be it wealth, health, relationships, happiness or social status, starts with personal development. It’s not an easy path, it’s actually a very hard and demanding path. But also a very rewarding one. Not only does the hard road becomes easy with time and the easy road becomes hard, the personal development road is the only one that makes sure you leave no regrets on the table when facing your final hours of life.
Personal development enables you to make the most of the hours given to you. Committing to personal development leads you to develop and maximize all of your potentials, experience as many things as possible on this beautiful planet and leave a visible legacy for generations to come. When you start improving yourself, you actually wake up and go from only existing to actually living life.
Why is the AgileLeanLife Personal development track the right place to start?
In this track, you will find the best and most popular personal development concepts, highly organized and structured so that you can really start improving yourself and living your dream life one step at a time, while not getting lost in the flood of low-quality information. Like every other branch or industry, personal development is no exemption to charlatans, people who want to make a quick buck and even more people who post shitty content.
Quality personal development content means that articles usually aren’t short. They are not “10 ways how to” types of articles that you only skim and forget about the next second. Here on this blog, you will find articles first explaining theory, then giving you practical advice, implementation ideas and at the end, homework or action items to take. There is no use in knowledge if you don’t apply it. If you only read about personal development, you won’t benefit a lot.
Besides high-quality content and a superior structure and organization of the articles, there is one more unique angle that you will find on this blog. I call it data-driven personal development. That means that next to the theory, practical examples, homework and templates, you will always find as holistic approach as possible as well as suggested metrics to really measure your progress. At the end of the day, you are an individual in a very specific situation and what works for you, may not work for somebody else.
Even if the general principles of personal development are the same, there is always one unique approach that works best for you, and your job is to find it, based on all the resources and ideas you can find in this track. For someone, visualization is a miraculous tool, for somebody else it doesn’t work at all. But it costs you nothing to try, experiment and see for yourself. That is why you also need very actionable metrics in order to see what works for you and what doesn’t. As the saying goes, you can only improve and manage what you measure.
I promise you that if you read all the blog posts included in this personal development track and if you apply at least some of the knowledge in practice, your life will never be the same – you will become so much more positive, ambitious, strong, happy, charismatic and optimistic that everyone, even yourself, will have a hard time recognizing you.
By finding this track, the opportunity for a really successful and rich life has been opened to you. Make sure that you don’t toss it away. If you already put the effort into finding this track, and read all the way to these words, I know you’re willing to do something positive about your life and I have no doubt that you’ll make the right step – the step towards becoming the best version of yourself.
And remember, once you take the first step towards the good life, one important rule exists: no retreat, no surrender. So let’s start with the life updates necessary for you to thrive, flourish and shine! But to know what you want in life, you also must have a clear picture what you don't want; one thing you definitely don't want is a zombie life…
Zombie life – A zombie life is an extreme version of an average life; the life you want to avoid at all costs. A zombie life means working at a job you hate, having superficial relationships with no real love, and stuffing your face with potato chips in front of the TV, watching reality shows just to forget a little bit about life. A zombie life is the life where you don’t really live, but only exist. The problem is that a zombie life usually happens slowly, when life troubles kill a part of you bit by bit. First learn more about what a zombie life means and then in the following articles you will learn how to avoid such a misfortune.
Immediately stop wasting your life – You only have one life. You’re going to die. That should be the greatest motivation ever. One day, you are going to look back and get to the bottom line of what you’ve done with your life. It will be either the final moment of internal regret or the moment of the deepest feelings of gratefulness that you ever experienced. In that moment, there will be no way of going back and changing things.
God mode and the perfect human state (the opposite of zombie life) – The god mode is a type of cheat in video games that makes your character invulnerable and invincible. The god mode is quite popular in the computer world. But what about real life, what would be the god mode in real life? Well, it’s pretty much the same idea. God mode in real life is the feeling that you can achieve everything, going forward straight to your goals without a single millisecond of a doubt. The god mode is the perfect human state, something everyone should strive to achieve in life as many times as possible for as long as possible.
The right mindset and brain updates
Everything starts with the right mindset – that includes personal development. Average thinking leads to an average life. Extraordinary thinking leads to an extraordinary life. Below are presented those thinking patterns that can be found in people who do extraordinary things and are extremely successful in different areas of life. With using the same thinking principles as successful people, you will also become extremely successful.
Growth mindset vs. Fixed mindset – As mentioned the biggest difference between successful and unsuccessful people lies in the mindset. First of all you can either have a fixed mindset or a growth one. If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that your character and potential are unchangeable, have been “written in stone” since birth. On the other hand, the growth mindset means that you believe in personal evolution and that you can improve your character by working on yourself. In business, the growth mindset is called Kaizen and it means constant improvement.
Abundance mindset vs. Scarcity mindset – The abundance mindset consists of three crucial elements: seeing all the possibilities the world has to offer in order to create, connect, grow and enjoy; knowing that you deserve love and prosperity; and realizing that if you’d experience only plentitude in life, it would be boring as hell and you wouldn’t appreciate anything you have at all. The opposite of the abundance mindset is the scarcity mentality. The scarcity mentality doesn’t only lead to an impoverished life, it also makes you take malicious actions towards yourself and others.
Negative thinking vs. Positive thinking – You simply can’t live a positive life with a negative mind. With too many cognitive distortions, you’re trapped in living a zombie life, seeing the world as very dark and full of terror. It’s true that positive thinking is an important part of a happy and successful life, but you can’t just decide to think positively. If it were that simple, everyone would be happy and optimistic and super positive in life. First you must become aware of the 10 typical cognitive distortions and then evict negative thinking with emotional accounting and cognitive reframing.
Problem-solving mindset – You can’t be focused on a problem that’s pissing you off, negatively think about “how hard” your life is, and look for a creative solution at the same time. Thus every time you encounter a problem that pisses you off and you just want to start to bitch, whine and complain, pause for a moment. Instead start managing your emotions and open your mind to creative problem-solving thinking.
Inactive, reactive, proactive and superproactive – Being reactive means that you don’t take any initiative or make strategic decisions in life, you just go where life kicks you; and then you react to what happens to you, sometimes with positive, but more often with negative feelings (or you even freeze and stand still doing nothing). On the other hand, the main idea of being proactive is that you ask yourself what’s likely to happen and you act accordingly in order to get the best possible outcome. You act before a situation becomes a source of frustration or crisis.
Nevertheless, there is one more step further you can take in therms of your mindset. It's called superproactivity. Superproactivity means taking full and complete responsibility for your life, including the areas where you expect nature, love, government, church or whoever to take care of things instead of you. You take full responsibility for your own life in the hardest areas ever.
Optimal thinking vs. Suboptimal thinking –When thinking and using your brain, there are three very basic levels of mindset you operate from: negative thinking and the victim mindset (aka suboptimal negative), suboptimal thinking (mediocre, average thinking, sometimes even positive thinking), and optimal thinking. The more optimally you think in life, the more optimal actions you take, and that leads you to the best possible results. Optimal thinking starts with you asking yourself the right questions.
Regret Minimization Framework – Sometimes you have to make hard decisions in life (should you start your own business, move to another country etc.). Big decisions like that are the ones you have to make completely by yourself. Having support from your environment is a big advantage, but at the end of the day, you’re on your own. You are the one who has to make the move or not. The Regret Minimization Framework can help you make that kind of decisions.
When you need to reprogram yourself and fix brain bugs – Your body is the hardware and your brain is the piece of hardware that runs the code – software. You’ve inherited and acquired your code with genes, primary and secondary socialization, through main authoritative relationships in your youth, different early life experiences, trends in your environment, culture, friends, and so on.
Most of the code (your character) that defines how you operate in your adult life was written in the first 7 years of your life. In a healthy environment, with many healthy relationships and positive behavioral patterns, you take over lines of biological code that are positive, productive, assertive. But if you are raised in a very toxic environment, your code can be seriously malfunctioning and damaged. That kind of a malfunctioning code leads to developing personality traits that are harmful to you and even others. The good news is that you have the power to reprogram yourself.
Personal infostructure – Infostructure is nothing but a system and a process of consuming, managing and sharing information. In the creative society, a quality infostructure has become as important as a quality infrastructure. What you feed your mind with matters a lot. A quality (good) infostructure will help you become more creative, competent and resourceful. A bad infostructure, on the other hand, is the biggest time waster ever, killing your creative potential, making you into an obedient consumer and a zombie.
Updating your mindset with reading – Even if the brain is a remarkably powerful organ, the software it runs among neurons is quite buggy. Extremely buggy, actually. Brain bugs come from many different sources, like suppressed traumatic experiences, cognitive distortions, limiting beliefs, a lack of awareness, false knowledge transmitted from others, and so on. Thus you have to do regular maintenance of the brain and provide meaningful updates. The best way to do that is to read every day, and then process and apply knowledge.
- Here are additional ideas how to read more every day, a lot more.
- If you want to learn more about optimizing your brain and mindset please visit the brainpower track.
Psychology of time
For developing the optimal mindset, it’s very important to know a concept called “psychology of time”. Your past, present and future are very important for your well-being, and there are several different ways how you can see them. The idea of the psychology of time is that for optimal results in your life, you need to:
- develop a positive orientation towards your past, instead of a negative one,
- learn how to live in the present moment as a moderate hedonist, instead of being an extreme hedonist or even a fatalist, and
- have clear goals set for your future, but you must not live too much in the future or even live only for life after death.
Living in the future
Part of setting the goals for your future is also having a big vision for your life and a powerful mission that makes you passionate day by day and helps you face all the obstacles on your way to the goal. Nevertheless, executing any vision starts with the first step and being aware of the power you have now, in the present moment. That also enables you to make every one of your days as close to the ideal day as possible. When that happens, you can start living your life instead of only existing.
Positive orientation towards your past – If you have problems accepting your past, there are four things that can help you have a more positive orientation towards it: accepting your starting point and being honest with yourself about your limitations, having a list of personal strengths, having a list of your past accomplishments and having a list of things you’re grateful for. If you want to achieve big goals in life, you have to make peace with your past, because past is the one giving you roots and strong foundations to reach for the stars.
Short-term past is the best predictor of short-term future – The long-term future is a complete mystery. But with short-term planning and predicting, we can definitely be more confident and optimistic. You can play a fortuneteller at least to some extent when it comes to the near future. Are you wondering how? The best way to predict the short-term future is to look at your (or anyone else’s) short-term history.
Living in the present moment – There are some simple rules in life. If you live in your negative past, you soon become bitter, depressed or overwhelmed by regret. It’s a double knockdown by life (tough past, tough present) and a challenging negative spiral. If you’re afraid of not controlling your future completely or repeating your past mistakes in the upcoming times, you become a very anxious person. And if you aren’t aware of the personal power you always have (only) in the present moment, you can become an extreme hedonist or a fatalist, going only where life kicks you; and life often kicks you where you certainly don’t want to be. In this article, you will learn how to really live in the present moment to maximize your productivity and happiness.
Setting up goals for the future – You can find many different goal-setting techniques out there. The only problem is that most of them don’t work and the reason why is that these times are simply too complex for long-term planning to work. In today’s turbulent and fast-changing times, you can have a detailed plan for about 100 days and a roughly set direction for one year, but everything beyond this horizon is useless. That’s what you need to set your goals in the agile and lean way, and this blog post will teach you how.
Life vision and mission – The most powerful feeling of being alive is when you have a big vision of how you can contribute to the world and an accompanying sense of an important mission that’s going to leave an impact on this world forever. All masterpieces that were created in the world began with a big vision, and so should your life. A life vision is your compass that helps you live life to the full. However, only a vision isn’t enough. If your vision isn’t powered by a mission, strategy, tactics, motivation, execution and dedication, it’s only an illusion. Thus you have to set your life vision in the right kind of way.
Your ideal day – If you realistically ask yourself how your perfect working day would look like, you may find out that your average day is not that far from the ideal one. You just have to put in a little bit more effort and become aware of how much you did throughout the day. The efforts of making a step further every day accumulate and bring you great results in the long term. Even more importantly, you can be happy and proud of yourself every single day and be aware how good life really is.
Process vs. Event – There are two ways to get the things you want in life. One way, the very easy one, is that someone gives it to you (inheritance, good genes etc.). The second one is called hard and smart work or following a carefully orchestrated process. The sad truth is that most people want the big events in their life without investing into the process. But without the process, there is no final event (getting rich, being healthy etc.). The process is the overnight success that comes after years of hard work. It’s the effort you put in that leads to the results you want. The process requires discipline, sacrifice, commitment and delayed gratification. Trust and follow the process, and you will achieve your goals.
- Additional reading: Mind the process phases
30 Day Challenge – One of the best ways to develop new habits – A 30 Day Challenge is a proven strategy for implementing new healthy habits in life. It’s a great way to try new things, keep life variety high and undertake new challenges without putting too much pressure on yourself. People do all kinds of challenges, for taking better care of their health, doing various type of art or pushing themselves through fears that always hindered their life. 30 Day challenge is the best way to start following a process.
A year in review – 50+ questions for annual reflection – Life slows down in Christmas time, relationships and celebrations come before hard work, and usually we are all surprised at how quickly another year has passed us by and start wondering what we’ve really achieved in the past 12 months. Well, if Christmas holidays are ideal for a bigger self-reflection and setting new goals, it makes sense to do it in a very structured and systematic way. That’s why I prepared a framework with a bunch of questions that will help you perform the year-in-review in a very professional way.
Shaping your personal development strategy
After “uploading” your brain with the right mindset, the second step is to set a superior personal development strategy. The superior personal development strategy will help you progress in life as quickly as possible and to always have a compass of whether you’re on the right track or not. Part of a superior personal development strategy is also always defining your current position, what success really means to you and, most importantly, how you’ll get there, of course.
How to become the best version of yourself – You’re here on this world for three main reasons. The first one is to experience as many different things as possible and enjoy life to the full. The second one is to create, contribute, share, and leave a positive legacy behind. And the third reason why you’re here on this planet is to improve, evolve, grow and become the best version of yourself. So the question is: what can you do to make sure you become the best version of yourself? In this article, you will find the formula.
Your life strategy – The key to a more successful life is having a superior strategy for living it. Your life strategy is especially shaped by your beliefs, values, personal management system, and thus by your decisions about spending your time, energy, money, skills and other resources. In this blog post, 24 core elements of your life strategy are listed. All this will help you become aware of the choices you have in life that shape your life strategy and, even more, it will help you shape an extraordinary life strategy for extraordinary results.
Defining success in life – Many people will tell you that it’s hard to define success, that you’re operating with a very subjective category. That’s not true. They probably just don’t like maths. If you want to define success and actually measure it, all you need are metrics. In this blog post, all different metrics are introduced that measure success in different areas of life. Only numbers describe by far the most realistic state, everything else is just beating around the bush and avoiding the bottom line. So get to know real success metrics.
The success matrix – how inspiration and hard work improve your luck – From the macro perspective, there are only two paths to success. Either you get lucky first and then play your cards smart, or you work hard and smart until you get lucky. Then we have two general motives for why people want to become more successful or at least make positive changes in their lives. One possible motive is desperation and the other is inspiration. Some people are inspired to take steps forward by their life visions and goals, while others wait until things get unbearably hard and they are forced to act out of desperation.
Formula for success – The formula for massive success in life is “explosion + control”. One part of the equation (the control one) is extreme self-discipline. Self-discipline based on commitment, focus, persistence, hard work, immediate implementation, pushing yourself, and constantly making the right small decisions, day by day. The second part of the equation (the explosion one) is based on getting a few key big decisions right in life. In this blog post, you will learn all the details for how to really succeed in life.
Here is the Formula for Success:
What? I know it’s not what you expected, so let’s dive straight into the practical examples that will show us what this formula really means.
- Do you want to be rich? The formula for getting rich is (active, passive or portfolio) income explosion and keeping your cost and bad investments under control.
- Do you want to a have six-pack? The formula is very simple. Exercise explosion and appetite control – quantity and quality of the food you eat.
- Do you want to be educated and resourceful? Take care of a learning explosion (reading, observing, experimenting etc.), control the quality of what you consume (learn from the best, forget the rest) and immediately implement the acquired knowledge. Quality learning explosion and implementation control.
- Do you want to have a successful career and be respected by the society? Fight for something you care about (a mission with an emotional explosion), and persist through CRAP – Criticism, Rejections, Assholes, Pressure. So the formula for career success is purpose explosion and persistence through CRAP. Purpose explosion and persistence control in short.
- Do you want to be lucky in love? The formula is, again, very simple. Sexual market value explosion (SMV) and committing to your best fit – investing your best into a relationship every day and expecting the same from your partner. SMV explosion and commitment control.
As you can see, the formula for massive success is very simple to understand. But not to follow.
The Skyscraper Technique to skyrocket your success – You go straight for the best knowledge in a certain life area you want to improve. Then by experimenting, trying, brainstorming, connecting new patterns, thinking outside the box and forgetting best practices, you make it several times better. This is how legacies are built.
Finding your passion (coming soon) – People usually assume that first there is passion and then comes success. Actually, that isn’t true. What you need in the beginning is only a vague idea of what you can be really good at. Then you have to put in the hard work to develop mastery. And after you develop mastery, real passion awakens in you. Passion is then only additional fuel that helps drive you to the top. But the secret is not in finding your passion first, it’s in following your effort.
Hard work and smart work – If you want to be successful in the long run, you have to put long hours into work. You have to start early, before all other people, and you have to stay up late, when everyone else is already enjoying their afternoons and evenings. But only hard work isn’t enough. You also have to outperform others with smart work. In this article, you will learn how to work really smart.
Personality traits of extremely successful people
Now you have the right mindset, a superior life and personal development strategy, so the next step is to develop personality traits of highly successful people. There are many ways to succeed in life, but almost all successful people have certain personality traits in common. Here they are:
Building up your competence level – Your competence level is basically an accumulation of internal resources in your past. The more internal resources that you accumulated in the past, the more competent you are. Today, in the creative society, competence is the biggest safety and advantage you can really have, and the main source of self-actualization, meaning doing work you really enjoy. Also, the higher your competence level, the more you should be capable of converting internal resources into external resources (money, status …)
Self-confidence (coming soon) – If you want to achieve extraordinary things in life, you have to extraordinarily believe in yourself. That means you simply have to be self-confident. You have to trust in your abilities to go after your goals and be aware that you’re going to be fine and able to adjust, even if things don’t go as planned. Only with enough self-confidence are you aware of the value you provide and the potential you have.
Self-discipline (coming soon) – Self-discipline means getting a task done, whether you feel like doing it or not. Superior organization, discipline and innovation were always an important source of progress and success. No matter what you want to achieve in life, you need to be disciplined. And discipline is like a muscle you must train every day. This is how you become stronger and unlock a chance to achieve completely new levels of success in life. Learn how to become really self-disciplined.
Resilience and persistence (coming soon) – Success in life means going from failure to failure without giving up, all the way to the point of achieving your goals. If you want to be successful, you have to persist through C.R.A.P. – criticism, rejections, assholes and pressure. Life will kick you down over and over again, and your job is to stand up again and fight. In this blog post, you will learn how to develop resilience and persistence to go through the toughest challenges that life has to offer.
Creativity and generating ideas – If you want to be really successful in life, you must become a lean mean idea-generating machine. Creativity is one of the most important skills in the knowledge society. It helps you to more easily constantly improve yourself, stay open-minded and provide more value to the markets. The good news is that everyone can be creative. It’s a skill, all you have to do is learn it, and this blog post will teach you how to be really creative in life.
- Additional reading – how to generate ideas everybody will envy you
Curiosity – A very important personality trait of really successful people is curiosity. Every kid is a curious kid but in most people, curiosity is killed through primary and secondary socialization. Schools and parents often kill curiosity as they do creativity. But if you want to be successful in life, you have to find the connection with your own curiosity again. Curiosity is what drives you to really understand things, resonate with them and, in the end, innovate and find a better way to do them.
Focusing yourself – The power of focus is enormous. Without focus, you don’t have the sharpness needed to really achieve the mastery level. But you have to know when and how to focus the right way. Because focus definitely doesn’t mean stifling your curiosity and not experiencing different things in life. It’s also definitely wrong to focus on the wrong things in life. You have to commit with focus only when you know very clearly that you are committing to the right thing.
Pushing yourself – Your body is wired to save as much energy as possible. You’re wired to be afraid of the unknown and resist changes at all costs. You, just as everyone else, like safety and easiness. To survive. But you’re also a curious being. It’s in your nature to strive for progress and personal development. To thrive. Much like staying in your comfort zone is programmed in your genes, so is your desire to achieve your peak performance and experience new things. So you have to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. The moment you stop pushing yourself is the moment you stop growing.
Dealing with your dark personality traits and tough life situations
Developing positive personality traits is one side of the coin, the other is dealing with not-so-productive or even counterproductive personality traits. These are the traits that often block you from really succeeding and being happy in life. Sooner or later, you have to face them on your way to becoming the best version of yourself.
How to cope with unexpected changes in life – Simply said, we like certainty, because it makes us feel safe and secure. We hate change even though it’s the only real constant in life, besides taxes. This hate towards change has been written in our genes for millions of years as a mechanism for survival in a dangerous world. In addition to that, every change demands an effort to adjust. When we don’t feel safe and secure on the existential level, there are three possible responses: fight, flight or freeze. All three responses are extremely stressful for our bodies. But there is the fourth way to cope with changes: to understand and transcend.
Why you will never find happiness in life – People look for happiness in all the wrong places. Other people can’t make you happy, money and shopping can’t make you happy, and accomplishments don’t equal happiness. There are a few things that can help you with being a happier person a little bit, like regular exercise, enough socializing, meaningful work and gratefulness, but they are far from enough to make you really happy in life. In this article, you will learn about the real source of happiness in life.
Developing healthy assertiveness – When you act in an assertive way, you act out of strength, with the right mindset and awareness that you are as valuable as any other person on this planet. But a lack of assertiveness usually leads to one of two extremes: greed and aggression or symbolic self-castration. If you want to function well in life, you have to be an assertive person, a person who likes themselves as they are, has a strong sense of self and their autonomy, has no problems with their needs being met, knows how to express feelings, knows where they’re going in life and what they want, is not afraid of conflict, knows how to set boundaries, takes initiative, and contributes creative ideas.
Dealing with self-sabotage – Reasons for self-sabotage are always deep psychological issues of inadequacy and a feeling that you don’t deserve something. It’s the part of personality that comes from misguided upbringing or past traumatic experiences, and leads to becoming an emotionally volatile person who blocks themselves when something good starts appearing on the horizon. Learn how to deal with self-sabotage once and for all.
- Additional reading: How to overcome failure in life
Why good people do bad things and become dishonest – Dishonesty, the truth about lies is a really well-directed documentary that explores how and why people lie, why we become dishonest and why we start acting immorally. Understanding why people often don’t behave in a rational way and think as long-term as it would make sense, and why people sometimes become narrow-minded, vindictive and dishonest can help explain many situations I bet you found yourself in – with your own behavior and in interaction with others.
Surviving as an introvert – There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert, but I’ve seen many introverts who could achieve much more if they’d develop a few social skills or invest into a competence or two that are usually assigned to extroverts as a natural strength. On the other hand, there are also several strengths arising from being an introvert that even introverts themselves are often not aware of, consequently not exploiting them. In this article, you will learn how to survive and thrive as an introvert.
Core personal development tools
There are many personal development tools and not all tools work for everyone. You have to find the tools that suit you best and give you the best results in the fastest possible way. By far the best way to figure out which tools work for you and which don’t is to stay open-minded and just test and try them one by one and measure your results. Of course you have to persist with every tool for at least a few weeks to really see the first results. But the key is: don’t just read what they are, really try them.
Getting to know yourself – You can unlock your true potential when you get the insights into your true self: not only into what you want, but also into how you function, what your psychological survival mechanisms are, your desires and fears, strengths and weaknesses and other personality traits, how the environment works, what are the upcoming trends and paradigms, and so on. Only then can you unlock your true potential. If you want to transcend, you have to first understand yourself. There are several ways of getting to know yourself and in this blog post, you will find the best ones.
- Additional reading: Personal SWOT analysis
Self-reflection and journaling – Through self-reflection, you can change how you see yourself, how you feel about certain situations and, at the end, how you act. Consequently, you can also change how others see you. We could define self-reflection as careful thought about your own behavior and beliefs. If we develop the definition further, self-reflection is really asking yourself thought-provoking questions so that you can develop a deeper level of self-understanding. One of the best ways to do regular self-reflection is by keeping a journal.
Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to record what’s happening inside you and in your life, and finding hidden patterns that give you new insights. Journaling can be a very useful self-reflection tool, problem-solving tool, you can write down how you experienced things, it’s a lot easier to observe your feelings with a journal, and much more. In addition, you can of course also keep a traditional journal of what’s going on in your life.
Hour of power – The hour of power means taking at least one hour every day to invest into yourself. You are potentially the most viable and profitable investment. Thus you must regularly invest into updating your mindset, your competences, and improving your life. Personal development starts and ends with you taking time every single day to invest in yourself. Personal development starts with putting yourself and your future on the first place.
Visualization – The concept of visualization is pretty simple. You use the power of your imagination to create visions of what you want in life and how you will make them happen. You play a movie (or imagine pictures) in your head of what and how you want something to happen. It can be a goal you want to achieve, a performance you want to execute, behavioral changes you want to make, or you can imagine a run-through of a success process you’re following (getting rich, in shape, etc.). Visualization is one of the most popular tools of personal development.
Developing positive habits (coming soon) – A big part of personal development is introducing new positive habits into your life. But introducing new habits is not an easy task, so you must do it strategically and know a few tricks. You have to know that the easiest way to develop a new habit is to exchange one habit for another. In addition to that, you have to know very well the cue that triggers a habit and the reward you get out of performing that habit. You can approach changing your habits either through thought or behavioral conditioning.
Positive affirmations (coming soon) – You are what you think. Affirmation is a form of positive self-talk. The point of affirmations is to help you think more positively or focus on positive things, and to purify your thoughts. Affirmations can help you make a positive change in your life, but you have to use them in the right way. Using positive affirmations is one of the most popular mind tools in personal development, but also one of the most criticized ones.
Transformational vocabolary (coming soon) – Besides positive affirmations, choosing the right words is also a very popular concept and mind tool in the personal development sphere. Choosing the right words can help you hold your mental frame as well as avoid cognitive distortions or thinking in a suboptimal way. If you want to be successful, you have to learn the language of successful people and then put it to use.
Body posture and body language (coming soon) – There is a great connection between your posture, body language and emotions. Body language always clearly shows what’s happening inside a person. By changing your thoughts and emotions, your body language changes but also vice-versa. By consciously changing your body language, you can positively influence the way you think and the way you feel. Learn how to master your body language to be more successful in life.
Modeling – Modeling other people means that you study how they made it in detail, analyze and research all the data available on them and their success, and try to model the steps they made that led them to the top. Success can’t be exactly replicated, but you can definitely learn a lot and increase your own chances for success. Modeling is a well-known concept in personal development and can help you a lot with succeeding faster in life.
Mentor and mastermind group – Finding an outstanding mentor can save you years of hard work, of trying to figure out how things work, what to focus on and how you can achieve your goals as quickly as possible. This is why always having a mentor is an important part of personal development. Many times, having a mentor makes all the difference between making it in life or not. Some people even build themselves whole mastermind groups, with several mentors to accelerate their success even further. In this blog post, you will learn how to find yourself an outstanding mentor who will accelerate your success.
Gratitude – Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that’s already present. Research in psychology has shown that being thankful makes you happier and healthier, it reduces stress and makes you stronger and more resilient. If you remind yourself what you’re grateful for every morning, it will definitely increase your level of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy in everyday life.
Past accomplishments list – You tend to quickly forget about all your past victories, especially in the long run. In the short term, victories encourage you to achieve even more and boost your self-esteem, but when the first failure comes, you can quickly forget all about the past victories you achieved and see only your past failures. A good solution for making your brain focus on the right things is to have a list of your past accomplishments.
Organizing a supportive environment – You need an environment that supports you in achieving your goals, an environment where you fit in perfectly. To prosper in life, you need to be a part of something that feels like home and natural to you, and enables you to prosper, develop and grow. You need an environment with ideal conditions for you to thrive. There are two ecosystems where you spend most of your time, both consisting of space and relationships: personal environment, with your home, spouse, family and friends; and business environment, with your office, co-workers and stakeholders. Building an environment that supports you on both sides is an important part of your life strategy.
- Additional reading: The most important relationships in your life (spouse, family, friends, boss, coworkers, mentor)
- For more check out the perfect personal environment track
Minimalism – The more stuff you own, the more stuff owns you. Every item in your life takes up place, time and energy. Having less stuff (and what you have should be of high quality) is some of the best advice for living a happy and productive life. Then you also have enough time to really become the best version of yourself. While committing to the minimalistic lifestyle, you don’t want to go into the extreme of living an ascetic life, owning almost nothing. But that doesn’t mean you need to have a cellar full of clutter, hundreds of clothes you don’t even wear, dozens of drawers full of clutter, three cars, two TVs, five tablets and hundreds of souvenirs catching dust on your shelves.
- Half-year cleaning as part of the minimalistic lifestyle
When a big crisis in life comes
Sometimes life can be really hard on you, problems start multiplying and everything starts to feel hopeless. You become desperate and have no idea what to do. Well, no matter how difficult your life situation is, there is always a move you can make towards a better life. There is always a way to go forward. It may not be easy, but a smooth sea never made great sailors. Good times make soft people and tough times make great people. The only smart way is to face the crisis and start fighting.
How to turn a bad starting point into success – The worse your starting point, the more you have to play life in the hard mode. The greater your goals, the smarter and harder you have to work. You somehow also have to make up for starting behind others. The good news is that easy times very much soften people up while on the other hand, tougher situations can build up your character. In this blog post, you will find several ideas on how to turn a bad starting point into success.
How people fuck up their lives – There are generally two ways of how people fuck up their lives. The first way is making one big wrong decision (where to work, who to marry, driving drunk or not etc.). The second way to fuck up your life is regularly making small wrong decisions (healthy diet, investing into a relationship, exercising etc.). On the other hand, you succeed in life because you make some really good big decisions and/or a series of small right decisions.
What to do when everything collapses – Collapses are the most difficult tests of life. It’s when you have to show what you’re made of. A lot of people get visibly exhausted after collapses, and they sometimes even leave their life to fate. Only a handful of people bare their teeth to life. This is why it makes sense to make a more detailed overview of collapses in life and see how to face them and not give up. Because when you give up, life usually kicks you to an even darker place and that isn’t what you want.
If you’re going through hell, keep going – Sometimes when everything collapses, it feels like being in hell. But you’ve probably heard the saying “If you are going through hell, keep going”. This blog post is a motivational one that will help you persist through tough situations in life. Besides my own stories of struggle, you will also learn some very valuable advice on how to persist when you’re going through hell and, even more, how to make sure that you aren’t walking around in circles.
Innovate your way out – From time to time, life will seem totally unfair, hard and burdensome. Sometimes you may even feel like there is no solution to your problems. But in fact, there is always a step you can take towards a better life. Many situations in life demand from you to be creative and find an innovative solution. Proactively looking for new ways is the opposite of feeling sorry for yourself and giving up. Everyone can be creative and innovation is the essence of progress, in your own life as well, especially if you find yourself in tough situations or want massive success. Thus when facing problems, think hard about how you could innovate your way out.
When your ego blocks your progress – You should switch from acting out of your ego, meaning your assumptions, beliefs and convictions, to acting out of feedback that you regularly gather from your environment by performing experiments. It’s the best way to stay flexible in life and regularly adjust. Remember it’s not the strongest individuals who survive, but the most flexible ones. You can often find yourself in tough life situations because you act only out of your ego.
The hard road becomes easy with time – It may be hard to exercise the first few times, but then you get addicted to it. It may be hard to start reading books instead of watching TV, but I guarantee you that after the first few months you would never go back to it. It may be hard to save money, because there’s never enough of it, but when you start and you see that you can survive on 90% income and how good it feels to have money in the bank account, you will definitely love to stick to your new habit. The good news is that hard road becomes easy with time.
There are only two types of problems – There are only two types of problems you can have in life – the real ones and the sweet ones. Wealth accumulates. Fame concentrates. Happiness consolidates. Success brings success. The minority of people at the top get most of the sexual, media or any other kind of attention. And vice-versa applies. Health problems multiply. Financial problems can easily enlarge. A collapse in one area of life usually also collapses other areas. With the right life strategy, hard work and smart work, make sure you will only have to deal with the sweet problems.
It never gets easier. You just get better. – It never gets easier. You only get better. But you even don’t really want things to get easier. Because when things aren’t that easy, you can fight, you can improve, you can celebrate early wins and achieve new heights. But when things get too easy, you soften, you lose focus and sharpness, you start stagnating and soon drown in misery of standing still. Love the challenges of life. Undertake them with all your zeal.
Taking care of different areas of life
Now that you know about the core personal development principles and tools, it’s time to dive deeply into different areas of life. By applying different general personal development principles, you usually already begin improving the overall quality of your life and consequently also many different specific life areas. I call it setting strong foundations first, so that you can then build a high skyscraper of your success.
When the foundations are strong, focusing and building up life area one by one is a sound strategy. If you don’t know where to start, health, wealth and productivity are always great places to start with specialized personal development once you have strong foundations in place. Alternately, you can also choose a life area where you lag behind your potential the most. It’s your choice, the most important thing is that you enjoy improving yourself. Since being ultra-productive can help you a lot, let’s put productivity in the first place for where to go next.
Productivity – The more productive you are in life, the more you can achieve. Of course it’s not only about hard work, you also have to work smart, but in today’s world of constant distractions, too many options and things to do, it’s really hard to set priorities, stay focused and get things done. The AgileLeanLife Productivity framework will help you with all that. Here are only a few selected articles from the productivity track:
- Morning and evening habits and the morning kick-off routine
- The only time management guide you will ever need
- How to deal with procrastination once and for all
- The superior guide to email management
- AgileLeaLife Manifesto – how to live agile and lean life
The AgileLeanLife productivity framework takes a very unique approach to life organization, considering not only productivity, but also flexibility, by implementing agile and lean business practices in personal life.
After implementing general personal development principles, focus yourself to improve one life area every year, and in a few years you will live the dream life.
If you’ve already taken care of your high productivity or when you are done with taking care of it, here are the 10 areas of life to continue with the specialized personal development. You can find many interesting articles regarding the life areas on this blog.
- You (personality, environment, happiness, personal development etc.) – covered in this track
- Health and primary needs (body)
- Relationships and people skills (love and belonging)
- Competences – intelligence, knowledge and skills (your intellectual body)
- Money and wealth
- Career, achievements and respect
- Emotions (your emotional body)
- Fun, creativity and travel
- Spirituality, self-actualization and giving back to the world (your spiritual body)
- Technology as a leverage for being more productive in all areas of life
This is the end of the personal development track. I’m sure you’ve learned enough about how to become the best version of yourself. But learning is never enough, you also have to apply the knowledge. Really apply it. It’s better to know one single concept and apply it than to know ten of them and apply none.
So I encourage you, take action. Every journey, even the journey of personal development, starts with the first step (step = action). Now take that step if you haven’t yet and start living your dream life. And don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter, so you’ll be the first to receive new quality blog posts.