by Nicolas Cole
People know who they have the potential to be.
The challenge is seeing that process through.
Self-development is an art.
It takes time. It requires patience. It asks you to step outside your comfort zone. It is challenging — and that’s the point.
However, the biggest challenge when it comes to self-development is the process itself. People really struggle with the path and all its twists and turns, much more than they do any single obstacle.
But should you learn how to walk that path of self-development, you will learn some tried truths to live by:
1. Any failure can be reframed as a lesson.
Self-development is a mindset.
To one person, a project going poorly or a relationship ending means they failed. To someone else, it is nothing more than another lesson on the path.
By reframing to see the lesson instead of the mistake, you will ultimately learn more and move on to what’s next faster.
2. Consistency is more important than infrequent home runs.
Too often, people try to build Rome in a single day.
A clear example of this is the person who doesn’t go to the gym all week, and then spends three hours at there on Saturday. That’s not going to do anything for you in the long run.
Ten minutes a day on something is going to do more than several hours spent infrequently.
3. Community significantly speeds up the growth process.
If you really want to change something about yourself or your life, you need to surround yourself with people who either already embody what it is you’re looking for or are pursuing the same things as you.
Together, you will all grow and thrive much faster — since you can learn and gain feedback from one another.
4. Every answer reveals itself at the right time.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed about what might happen down the road, realize that whatever it is you’re looking for will unfold exactly the way it should.
Now, don’t mistake this for, “Well, then I’ll just sit on the couch and hope everything I want will come barreling toward me.”
It’s not that. It is being patient as you continue to move in the direction of your goals.
5. You cannot compare yourself with anyone else.
Every person walks his or her own path.
While others can be a good barometer for where you currently are or where you’re headed, you cannot directly compare yourself with someone else. There are too many variables to consider.
Instead, just focus on bettering yourself (and help others do the same).
6. How you do what you do is more important than what you do.
It doesn’t matter if you are a professional athlete or a dedicated chef or a hobbyist sweater knitter — many of life’s most fundamental lessons can be learned from any undertaking.
What matters more is how you approach your craft. Humility, dedication, discipline, and creative freedom are traits more widely accepted than false confidence, narcissism, gloating, and unnecessary drama.
7. You have to be in love with the process.
To truly succeed, you have to love practicing more than you love any end goal or reward.
How you know if you are destined for something is if the daily act of doing what you love is the real reason you do what you do. If it’s instead driven by an end, you will never reach the same level of potential. That said, if you can pinpoint the things in your life you love to do just for the sake of doing them, then you’ve found what are possibly callings.
These are the things that you have the potential to be the best at, because you willingly immerse yourself in the process of learning.
Self-development is a journey.
It is not a test you take, or a title you acquire and point to as validation that you’re done.
It is ongoing, forever and ever.
Shift your mindset to being in tune with the process, and the rest will take care of itself.