It’s time I shed some light on the bigger picture I’m aiming for here. I’m going to talk about one of my personal guiding principles, the guiding principle of this blog.
As you know, Death To Complacency is a blog about personal development. In fact, specifically, it’s about HOLISTIC personal development.
What Is Holistic Personal Development?
A new visitor coming to this blog might be surprised by the diversity of categories. What does fitness have to do with money? What do either of them have to do with philosophy? And Useful Tips? Is that like life hacks, or what?
Well, despite their apparent disparity, all the topics I write about have one thing in common, and that is that people who apply the ideas to their lives will make themselves and their lives better. And fundamentally, making life better is what personal development is all about.
Now, if your life is better with personal development, it follows that your life is worse without it. So, if you want to become the very best person you can be, you can’t leave any area of life untouched. You’ve got to develop yourself as a whole. In other words, you’ve got to develop holistically.
Develop Your Weak Points
Holistic personal development means that if you’re in shape but you’ve also got debt pouring out of your ears, you’re not done yet. It means that if you pay off the debt but you can’t talk to people for toffee, you’ve still got work to do. Is your life is reasonably good, but somewhere in your heart you’ve got some niggling dissatisfaction that won’t go away? Holistic personal development means you figure out what it is, and you make it better.
Ultimately, holistic personal development means that each time you find you can’t do something you need to be able to do, you don’t give up. You put on your responsibility hat and learn how. It means being a jack of all trades, though it’s still helpful to master a couple here and there.
The 80/20 rule means that if you’re already an expert in a particular skill, honing a particular craft further will take a high amount of effort for just a small increase in ability. But on the other hand, if you’re completely clueless about some area of life, even spending a month learning about it will bring your knowledge of it on in leaps and bounds. Therefore, holistic personal development means recognising that if a part of your essential skillset is particularly weak, developing there will bring high returns for even a small amount of effort.
A Well-Rounded Person
Of course, you don’t need to learn about EVERYTHING in the world. There’s too much information out there to do that. But some areas of life are encountered by everyone, and therefore holistic personal development means learning about them. Particularly important areas of development include physical health and fitness, cultivation of the right mindset for success, money issues, home economics and DIY, and social skills.
In addition, a well-rounded person ought to know at least a little about the sciences, the humanities, and the arts. They ought to keep up with important world events (though you can safely ignore chatter about minor political scandals or individual deaths), and be both literate and numerate.
The idea is that while you may only be an expert on one, two or three areas, you don’t have any major weak spots. Whatever topic comes up, you will know enough to contribute, even if that’s just knowing where to go to find a real expert.
Eventually, in the long term, holistic personal development means that there’s no problem or predicament in which people would be better off without you helping to solve it, though most of us have a long way to go before we reach that point. It’s about making yourself better, not only for your own sake, but for the world’s.
Holistic Personal Development: A Journey, Not A Destination
If this seems ridiculously ambitious to you right now, don’t worry. The most important thing to remember with holistic personal development is that the point is not some final state of knowledge that you manage to reach before you die. Rather, it’s the experiences you have and the lessons that you learn along the way.
As with every journey, you have to deal with the road in front of you. Somebody walking from Alaska to Argentina wouldn’t need to worry about the weather in Mexico while they were still in Canada. Similarly, you don’t have to think about what you’ll improve later until you’ve made a good amount of progress on the area you’re working on now. The important thing is that you keep on growing, every day. Whatever challenge you meet, the key is that you face it, and don’t ignore it. Don’t let yourself become complacent.