Everything You Need to Know to Improve Your Life

Everything You Need to Know to Improve Your Life. One day my mentor, Mr. Earl Shoaff, said to me, “Jim, if you want to be wealthy and happy, learn this lesson well: Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” I must admit that this was the most challenging assignment of all. This business of personal development lasts a lifetime.

You see, what you become is far more important than what you get. The important question to ask on the job is not, “What am I getting?” Instead, you should ask, “What am I becoming?” What you become directly influences what you get. Think of it this way: Most of what you have today, you have attracted by becoming the person you are today.

I’ve also found that income rarely exceeds personal development. Sometimes income takes a lucky jump, but unless you learn to handle the responsibilities that come with it, it will usually shrink back to the amount you can handle.

It is hard to keep that which has not been obtained through personal development. So here’s the great axiom of life: To have more than you’ve got, become more than you are.

Personal Development Is a Challenge

Everything You Need to Know to Improve Your Life. Personal development is a push. It’s a struggle. It’s a challenge. There wouldn’t be any winning without a challenge. That’s what life is all about. It’s the struggle and the challenge to develop ourselves and our skills to see what we can create in the way of value in the marketplace. It’s taking those skills and value to the marketplace and seeing what it will return for us.

New habits don’t come easy, but they can be developed. Sometimes when you develop a lot of momentum in one direction, it’s not that easy to change, but it is possible. It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Somebody once said, “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” You’ve just got to read the books, learn the skills, put yourself through the paces, do the mental push-ups and get yourself ready.

Inspiration is fine, but inspiration must lead to discipline. It’s one thing to be motivated, but it’s another thing to be motivated sufficiently to take the classes, do the reading, do the repetition, go through it over and over, until it becomes part of you. And those are challenges. They’re not easy, but they’re challenges that if you win and develop and grow, that’s what determines your place, your return, your equity, the worth you get from the marketplace.

3 Parts of Personal Development

I’ve divided personal development into three parts.

1. Spiritual

Everything You Need to Know to Improve Your Life. Some people believe we’re just an extension and an advanced form of the animal species, but I believe humans are unique. I believe our spiritual qualities make us different from all other creations. Now I consider myself an amateur in this area, but regardless of your background, I think you should evaluate what growth and change you want to make in this vital area. Spiritual and ethical values will help build a strong foundation underneath your quest for wealth and happiness.

I would recommend you be a student of the spiritual side of your nature. Make sure you study, practice and teach. Don’t be careless about this because it’s what makes us who we are, different from dogs, cats, birds and mice. Whatever you have to read and assimilate to develop in this area, I would strongly suggest you do.

2. Physical

Everything You Need to Know to Improve Your Life. The body and mind work together. And for your mind to have the stamina to strive, your body should be in as good shape as possible.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Treat your body like a temple.” A temple—not a bad word. Something you would take extremely good care of. Treat your body like a temple, not a woodshed, right? A temple. Take good care of it.

The only house we have to live in is the physical body, and that’s part of success in the marketplace. That’s physical well-being. It’s feeling good about yourself physically so that you stride into the marketplace with a sense of self-worth and self-confidence, and it covers several parts.

Do you have a regular exercise program? If not, find one you can follow and get started. In addition, make sure you pay attention to the food you eat. Read all the books about nutrition to make up your own mind and decide for yourself a good health plan for you.

Then there’s physical appearance. Be skillful enough to take care of your appearance in the marketplace. It has a lot to do with your acceptance. A big share of it is how you appear to other people—on the job, in the community. There’s a saying that goes, “God looks on the inside, and people look on the outside.” That’s not a bad suggestion, meaning: Take care of the inside for God, and take care of the outside for people. Maybe you think people shouldn’t judge you by your appearance. Well, let me tell you, they do! Don’t base your life on should and shouldn’t. Only base your life on realities. Sure, when people get to know you, they’ll judge you by more than what they see, but at first, they’re going to take a look.

Now, I’ve got another good phrase for you. It says, “Be conscious of self, but not self-conscious.” There’s a certain point that we need to be conscious of ourselves, take care of it, then let it go. Some people worry about their appearance all day, and it detracts rather than adds. So take care of it and then let it go. Do the best you can and let that get the job done. Be conscious of ourselves, but not to the point of being self-conscious.

3. Mental

The third part to personal development is the mind—stretching your mind, developing good thinking habits, good study habits, pursuing ideas, and trying to find ways to apply them to human behavior and the marketplace. All of that takes exercising the mind, which is what I call mind-stretch.

Your willingness to tackle subjects that are difficult and that most people have decided to let slide gives you an extraordinary edge in the marketplace. How can you master the high skills, the extraordinary skills that make you an unusual performer in the marketplace? It takes mind-stretch. Some people skip poetry and literature, the Bible, history and a lot of things that seem a little difficult to attack. But if you always back away from something that seems a little difficult at first, you leave yourself weak. You leave yourself unprepared in the marketplace. So don’t be afraid to tackle the heavyweight stuff. It may be a lot easier than you think once you get into it and learn skill after skill.

Another part of mind-stretch is to learn the other side of the argument. Whether you’re debating in the spiritual, political, physical or behavioral arena, don’t be afraid of the other side of the argument. If you’re strong mentally, you can handle it, and you’ve got to give people credit for their side of the argument. Even though you might not agree with them, you must agree that they came up with a good point.



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