Personal development – what does it all mean?

Many, many things I suspect but, whatever your perspective on life, one thing is absolutely certain: we all have a finite time available.

As John Adair remarked in his seminal book, Effective Time Management, Pan Books, 1982 (pg. 5):

“Time spent in purposeful activity can fly past. That may be why, as we grown older, time seems to be speeding up – years go by faster, days are like hours, and hours minutes. That is, providing we are busy.”

The continuing theme around personal development, that I hope does not involve a leap of faith or paradigm shift, is how you use your gifts, innate abilities and motivation to achieve your absolute best in the time available and as I like to say: “Squeeze the lemon dry … every day”.

I have a good friend who is of similar age to me and his philosophy might seem extreme but when he gets carried off, he wants to know that his body has been used to its fullest and practically worn out every single piece of it! Mad bugger. That said I think he envisages possibly adopting some $6M-Man technology to keep it going, so that he becomes some sort of bionic 90-year-old that is competing in Iron Man triathlons with a bevy of envious women around him.

Now there is a real risk that in looking to maximise the time available we end up being very busy but not terribly efficient (check out the Efficiency Coach for help with this). To put this another way, we seem to achieve almost nothing out of something.

My goal with this blog and my writings is not to offer some blueprint or mantra that you can roll out but to make you think carefully about time and enhancing and building on your capabilities so that your effort sees you achieve all your dreams, aspirations and goals or enough of them of them so you have a truly wonderful life.

I have garnered enough material over my lifetime to recognise that no one gospel of teaching is going to appeal to or work with everyone – different strokes for different folks – but there are a multitude of common themes that you need to adopt and apply to your style of living: time optimisation, vision planning, becoming a farmer of ideas (by this I mean planting your ideas and feeding and then harvesting them e.g. starting your own business) and that rather irritating subject of goal setting (or as I like to think using a cycling analogy, seeing myself getting over the line). There are many, many other themes and ideas but remember that our lives are work in progress. The crucial thing is that wherever you get your inspiration from it is going to involve other people – behind ever blog, website, article and off line material lies (eventually) a real person. As the later Sir John Harvey-Jones said in his book Making it Happen, William Collins, 1988:

“… it is only when you work with people rather than against people that achievement and lasting success is possible.”

Now I know that was written in a management or leadership sense but it is also a very good philosophy for life.

Key Point:

Try to squeeze the lemon each and every day. That doesn’t mean being frantic and feeling knackered but rather being resolute that incremental and small wins will produce staggering results but you have to exercise will-power and discipline to achieve this.

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