Tag Archive | good books

Why I Pursue Personal Development

Why do I pursue Personal Development courses, books, seminars?  Why invest the time and money? How do they help me fulfill my mission here on earth?

Image

I, like Nephi, “was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father” (1 Nephi 1:1), and then learned in high school and at college while acquiring my bachelor’s degree. In fact, while attending Brigham Young University I learned the AIMS of a BYU Education: “(1) spiritually strengthening, (2) intellectually enlarging, and (3) character building, leading to (4) lifelong learning and service.” Brigham Young said, “Education is the power to think clearly, the power to act well in the world’s work, and the power to appreciate life.” Personal development helps me to be of greater service to my family, friends, community, church, and professionally.

What is Personal Development, anyway? Wikipedia says it is, “activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations.” A long Wikipedia list follows of ways personal development can assist a person’s well-being, effectiveness, and contributions.

There are many sources for Personal Development. I enjoy reading good books, going to seminars, and listening to audio recordings of books or talks by, those who practice what I want to learn. Recently I listened to Sonya Lyubomirsky’s THE HOW OF HAPPINESS: A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO GETTING THE LIFE YOU WANT.

The 12 recommendations for improving happiness are:         Image

  1. Expressing gratitude

  2. Cultivating optimism

  3. Avoiding overthinking and social comparison

  4. Practicing acts of kindness

  5. Nurturing relationships

  6. Developing strategies for coping

  7. Learning to forgive

  8. Doing more activities that truly engage you

  9. Savoring life’s joys

  10. Committing to your goals

  11. Practicing religion and spirituality

  12. Taking care of your body

Just listening helped me feel happier, as I realized that I control my happiness! I already did so many of these things! I realized these ways to be happier simply put religious teachings into practice, giving me more confidence in the religious views that helped me overcome so much.

One reason I pursue Personal Development is to overcome effects of past abuse and trauma. I find it much more cost- and time-effective than traditional psychotherapy (I’ve used that too, and it has its place). Seminars with activities such as ropes courses, walking barefoot over hot burning coals, and sky diving all helped me to overcome fears and learn that my body can go forward even when the mind is fearful. Getting through the fear, going forward anyway, is powerful in extending my comfort zone. I find a lot of healing in this, and empowerment to know that I am not my past experiences! I have intrinsic and profound worth as a daughter of God.

                                                                                                    Image

I am grateful for the Personal Development gained so far, and intend to continue learning, growing, and stretching throughout my life, to become all I can be in fulfilling my mortal mission.

CONTINUALLY LEARN AND DEVELOP

(Continued from THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUAL LEARNING)

Image

God tells us to study things in addition to the scriptures. In Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) Section 90:15, He states: “And…study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.” Notice He says to “become acquainted with ALL good books” (emphasis added).  In Section 93, He says (verse 53), “it is my will that you should…obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.”

We see from these that God wants us to learn as much as possible, to help build up His kingdom here on earth (i.e., “for the salvation of Zion”). In the parable of the ten talents (see Matthew 25:14-40), the Lord gives out talents (verse 15) “to every man according to his several ability.” He then expects each of His servants to gain more talents, to be a “good and faithful servant” (verses 21, 23). But the “unprofitable servant” (verse 30) is “cast…into outer darkness” (ibid.). Not only does God expect us to magnify our gifts, but He warns that those who do not that their talents shall be taken away and they will be punished (see D&C 82:3; Ether 12:35; D&C 60:2,13). God wants us to use our talents to bless others (see D&C 82:18). He wants us to improve upon what He has given us, to gain other talents.

Image

In May 1829, Hyrum Smith was told, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men” (D&C 11:21). Preparation to magnify our callings is sometimes necessary before we are ready to “go forth” (verse 26, ibid.).

Image

For example, when I was called to be a ward organist, I was a pianist, not an organist! I stumbled through learning a new instrument, and applied myself to study, taking lessons and attending the BYU Organ Workshop. I passed off Level 1, then Level 2. I took responsibility and learned what I needed to learn. This greatly increased my confidence and self-reliance in magnifying my calling.

Julie B. Beck, Fifteenth Relief Society General President, said, “We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being.”

Anything we do to improve in education, financial wisdom and skill, spiritual strength, and physical, social, and emotional health, prepares us to magnify our mortal mission. It adds to the talents with which  the Lord already blessed us. The key is to consecrate all we learn and do to the Lord, to build up His kingdom on the earth.