Achieving Personal Development

When I was 8 years old my parents took me to live with my Aunt Clara and Uncle Ben on the farm.

It was there that I had my first encounter with the violin. On Friday evening, after chores were done, we took our weekly baths, and then Uncle Ben would take his fiddle from its home on top of the upright piano and play.

I was in love. Oh, how I wanted to hold that instrument and make it sing.

But it was forbidden fruit. Only Uncle Ben was permitted to touch.

Up to this time, the musical part of my personal development had experienced only my mother singing. I had probably heard other music during my 8 years of life. But nothing struck into my developing brain to cause me to thrill – until the violin.

I could whistle, and I am sure I could carry a tune. My sister and I sang a duet for a closing school program, and no one ran screaming for the door with their hands over their ears.

Personal Development: Working on the parts of my self that enable me to participate well in the human experience.

Even the restriction to not touch the violin was part of my Personal Development. It involved a pattern of obedience and respecting the property of others.

Personal Development engages you in many parts of your life. Some examples are –

Feelings
Anxiety – Peace
Acceptance – Tolerance – Dislike

Enjoyment of
taste
goal-setting
recreational activities
art – culture
literature (reading)
music
fashion

Personal image – view of others

Skills – a work ethic – a play ethic

Your Goal in each area and stage is to be Balance – Avoid Extremes.

I think of the four stages in the work of developing a person in this sequence:

1. Knowledge – Exposure to things and experiences for the purpose of knowing

2. Acceptance – Allowing and considering new experiences

3. Preferences – Deciding what you like and what you don’t like

4. Performance – Mastering skills to the levels of Accomplished and/or Expert

Parents control the beginning stages of Personal Development, as infants and children are subjected to the parents’ preferences and choices. Touch, taste, attitude toward ‘new’, sounds, music, activity, style, dress.

Parents pass on their own attitudes toward Knowledge and Acceptance, which controls the child’s Development in these stages. This embeds a pattern that will likely be followed by the child as the child becomes an adult.

The Preferences stage begins in the infant/child and continues into adult-middle-age.

The Performance stages of Personal Development have the best outcomes when Care-takers begin the work during the childhood years.

Before we reach our adult lives most of the foundations for Personal Development are already in place.

Parents control early exposure to the ingredients of Personal Development.

Parents provide a pattern for dealing with new experiences.

The child begins to accept or reject the parent’s patterns for dealing with ‘new’.

Adults determine their own response and actions toward development. It is often more difficult to acquire the Performance Stage when beginning a new skill as an adult.

HINT: Many old people tend to be stuck in their ways, with little acceptance of change. Don’t be an old person.

My daughter, at a young age, decided she did not like peas and beans. Unfortunately, a vegetarian diet makes liberal use of those dietary items.

She had the balanced diet of baby food items. Later, we placed some beans or peas on her plate, expecting her to develop an acceptance of them over time.

She would carefully work her way around the plate, avoiding the detested items.

We would make her sit at the table until she cleaned her plate.

She would sit there for hours, with her arms folded and her bottom lip pouting.

To this day she does not like them. Not everything works out the way the parenting books say it should. And some children have a clear understanding of their preferences early in life.

Adults need to have an openness to change in order to take themselves through all four stages listed above.

Personal Development needs to take into account our Personality Type.

Depending on which school of thought you choose, there are 4 basic personality types, or there are 12, or there are 16, or even more.

Human Personality has been studied quite thoroughly. Take an on-line test if you are unsure of your label.

Check out this link with several tests you can take.

https://www.allthetests.com/personality-tests-character-quizzes-psycho.php

Personality tests will provide you with some knowledge to help you in your interactions with life. But nothing in the results should make you give up with a dismissive “Oh, Well! That’s how I am.” Certain tendencies are identified, but you can change, you can learn how to adapt, you can move toward the center.

Your Personality (Temperament Type) will reveal strengths and weaknesses that you may have. Use the strengths to move the weaknesses to have lesser control over your choices.

Focus on cultivating habits/patterns that are “Good-for-me” and “Good-for-those-important-to-me”, in work and recreation, – in other words – in your Personal Development.

Share

I was in my 30s before I acquired a violin of my own. I can’t play any recognizable melody on it. Never had the resources to take lessons.

But my grandson is taking lessons and plays for me.

I hope this article will encourage you to work on your self – and your children and grandchildren.

What have you done with/for your children to promote their personal development? With what results?

What have you done for yourself?

I’d love to hear from you.

Email me or Comment on this post.

Seven Spheres of Life: Relationships

At the restaurant yesterday, I asked for a Mango drink. Mango nectar and water. It was delicious.

As I sipped it, I began thinking about some of my favorite people. They qualify as delicious also. Without them my life would be less.

Naturally, I also thought briefly of some other relationships I have had. Bitter. Distasteful. Spit-it-out bad.

Relationships.

We have many kinds of realtionships.
Co-workers
Family
Recreation team members
Church friends
Drinking buddies
Club members

And there are acquaintances – people you know casually, but don’t spend social time with.

How can I look at a relationship to determine if it is Mango delicious, or Spit-it-out harmful?

Do you remember anyone teaching you how to make friends? I don’t. Mr Rogers may have for lots of people. I grew up without TV.

I did learn the Biblical injunction: if you want friends you must be friendly.

In my mid-twenties I got divorced. Suddenly the social group that I had considered ‘friends’ were unfriendly. I don’t remember getting unfriendly. But, I was no longer included in the invites.

I worked for the church, I socialized with church members. It would be pretty accurate to say that I had no close friends outside of work and church.

No, don’t feel sad for me.

I learned a lot. I matured a lot.

Looking back at the experiences surrounding the divorce, I began to recognize some clues that should have warned me about the unhealthy relationships that wove around in my life.

Let’s focus on the positive qualities of a healthy relationship. By understanding healthy relationships, unhealthy ones will become obvious.

Maslow wrote about human needs and developed what is known as “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” an ordered list of five things that humans must have. Click here to study this topic.

Relationships occupy the middle position, right after Physical needs and Safety needs.

Good Relationships are the anchor points that enable us to feel good about ourselves and achieve our full potential.

Friends help us move into the Fifth Level of Maslow’s Hierarchy, where we are empowered to reach our full potential.

But it’s an obvious point that some relationships make us have negative feelings about ourselves and drag us away from “self-actualization” or, reaching for the stars.

How do I go about measuring a relationship to see if it is diminishing me or elevating me?

A real evaluation will involve writing.

Just thinking about it probably won’t accomplish the goal.

Start by making a list of your friends and acquaintances – a written list.

Then look at and think about each individual and your relationship with him or her. Take notes.

There are some simple, straight-forward ways to get a true picture of a relationship.

How do I feel about myself and my goals for myself after spending time with _____? (Fill in the blank with a name.) Be honest with yourself. Just get the feeling.

Feelings can be more accurate than logic.

A person may be connected to many parts of your work or personal life. But the relationship may be bad for you.

Don’t look at family connections right now. If you are in a committed relationship, and you are questioning whether it is healthy, evaluate your contribution to the relationship and determine what You can do to make it better.

Some times an unhealthy friendship can be turned around when you work on being the friend the other person needs.

It’s okay to change.

It’s okay to inspire others to change.

Friendships involve Giving and Taking. Both parties need to do both – Give and Take.

A person who only takes from you will drain you, and leave little for you to give yourself.

Evaluate your role. Are you balanced? Giver and Taker?

There are quizzes online that you can take to evaluate relationships. Most of them have to do with romantic relationships.

A good relationship has certain qualities:
Respect – mutual, both directions
Trust
Honesty
Acceptance – of individuality, of differences
Communication – open, as equals
Self-control – emotional and physical
Value places value on your personal goals

Think about a friend. Take one of the ingredients from the list of qualities and assign a value between Negative 5 and Positive 5 for how that person demonstrates Respect for you.

Then take the next quality and evaluate. (I have a form in the Worksheet to help with this.)

Relationship Sphere Worksheet

The hard part might be what you need to do when you realize that a relationship is damaging you.

You can try to communicate with the person and ask him or her to change. But my experiences have caused me to believe that there are people who are takers, and they don’t see a need to change.

Sometimes there really is only one choice: end the relationship. Move that person to the Acquaintance List.

I’d love to hear your comments on this post. Positive or negative. How could I make the post better?

Thank you for reading.

Questioning

For the first time in 18 months I find myself on Tuesday with no finished article written for my blog. I will recover.

I’m questioning my message. My passion stated early in the process was “to share my Elder Wisdom”. I became convinced that the niche was too broad to really be a niche and attract followers/readers.

I changed my focus to Reaching One’s Goals in Life.

I began working on the idea of Goals within the Seven Spheres of Life.

This week was for the Relationships Sphere.

The message and worksheet are not ready for publication.


There was still no rush to join my group of readers.

In addition, I’ve had a number of technical problems recently that have perplexed me and sapped my energies:

my RSS feed disappeared;
my Mailchimp account quit working with the Sign-Up pop-up/link;
several hundred readers visited my site with no new subscribers enrolled;
my attempts to engage an expert in WordPress and podcast have so far been unproductive.

Made me question my message.

Covered me in discouragement.

I shall return.

Seven Spheres of Life: Health

You can have all the riches and success in the world, but if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.” – Steven Adler

When was the last time you thought seriously about your health?

The last time you were sick, right?

We tend to take our health for granted, until there’s a problem.

Too often working for a healthy self isn’t a top priority, until illness whacks us and we can’t live our normal lives.

We need a plan for living that keeps us from getting whacked. Sound good?

Let’s work out a plan for ‘Healthy You’ that increases your enjoyment of life now and that reduces risks of health issues for the rest of your life.

My Story

My father volunteered me to be the 24-hour-per-day care-giver/nurse for a quadraplegic who wanted to go to college. The only care-giver.

I had never learned to say no to my father. So Jim moved into the dorm. And I with him.

The room was normally a guest room with a half-bath – sink and toilet, hospital bed and my cot, a chair and desk.

My life stopped. Everything I did was centered around and for Jim.

By the 4th quarter of the term, I was emotionally drained. Physically exhausted.

I didn’t realize at the time that I had slipped into an unhealthy funk.

My grades suffered, my social life was a disaster, and time for spiritual considerations was nonexistent.

But I didn’t realize it at the time.

That’s common when emotional health is at the root of being unhealthy.

After college I somehow secured a job at a Christian camp working to build a walkway through a swamp. The instructions given me were – here are the supplies and equipement – build it.

It was hard, physical work and that turned out to be just what I needed. The exercise and sweat were medicine for my body, my thinking, and my emotions.

I learned that ‘Health’ is a blanket that covers the physical, the mental, and the emotional self.

The good news is that focus and effort in one part of your self, benefits your other selves also.

Reasons to Get Healthy

How does improving your health improve your life?

Regular, consistent exercise rewards you in many ways.

  • Prevents chronic illnesses (cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart diseases)
  • Improves attention, concentration, and other functions of the brain
  • Maintains healthy thinking
  • Improves sleep
  • Lowers stress
  • Reduces dependence on unhealthy habits
  • Reduces physical illnesses

It’s Your Move That Counts

Take that first step into creating a healthier You – #BestYou

Increase the amount of daily physical activity you do.

You don’t have to buy a Gym Membership. You don’t have to buy Home Gym Equipment.

If you believe that you are too busy to start ‘going to the gym’ for exercise, here’s a short list of practical modify-what-you’re-already-doing ways to get it done.

If it’s raining, snowing, or too hot, head to the local mall for a walk as you windowshop.

Exercise at home. Push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, lunges, and stretching are good for you and are free of expensive equipment.

Take the stairs as often as possible. You might start by taking the elevator from a different floor than the one on which you work.

Drink plenty of water.

Sip water throughout the day. Drink enough and you have a guilt-free excuse to go for a walk to the washroom and back!

Staying well hydrated may also reduce feelings of hunger, and can often reduce chronic back pain.

Go for a family walk after dinner.

Guard Your Emotional Self with Intent

Nurturing your mind is as important as nurturing your body, and it will make you better able to deal with the stresses of your life routines. Be brave and consult with a mental health professional if your friends or spouse tell you that you need to.

Start Here

Work on Positive Thinking about Yourself.

Remind yourself of your personal value.

Read Zig Ziglar, Norman Vincent Peale, Og Mandino, James Allen. What these authors wrote are in ‘old books’ but they contain timeless wisdom.

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” -Henry Ford

Your thinking will either give you permission and power or hold you trapped and timid.

Everything you put into your mind shapes your life. The books you read, the music you listen to, the movies and TV shows you watch. Your reality and expectations from life grow from how you spend your time.

Changing your input, changes your output. The old computer programming comment was: GIGO (Garbage In : Garbage Out)

What you feed your mind will be reflected in your thoughts and choices.

Just as what you feed your stomach is reflected in your body.

Create a healthier mind and it will show up in your physical health.

Download a Health Sphere Worksheet to help you create plans for a Healthier You.

I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts and ideas with me.

Use the online Comment option, or email me : eldon@eldonroberts.com

Seven Spheres of Life: Spiritual

In case last week’s Make-Your-Fuzzy-Goals-Clear tasks have not clarified your Life Goals, this week we will take your search a few more steps in the direction of “I Can Do This.”

The starting point for every Achievement is a Goal.

I had a good job in a California public school. The pay was good and the retirement package was amazing. It seemed to me that I was set.

While visiting my parents in Maine I received a phone call. This was before cell phones. I still don’t know how the caller found my parent’s home phone number – or knew that I was there.

A school superintendent in Georgia was on the line asking if I would consider taking a job in a small school in Tennessee. A church school.

I hung up without giving an answer to the superintendent, and told my parents what the call was about.

My dad could ask powerful questions. “Do you believe that God helped the call get through?” he asked me.

I thought for a couple hours before I answered.
It wasn’t that it took me that long to find the answer.
It took me that long to own the answer.

“Yes,” I finally conceded. “I don’t see how it could be anything else.”

“When God calls, how should you answer?” he continued.

Our most important goal had always been “Be where God wants us to work.

We spent nine years at that school. Some of the best years of our lives.

What were we able to achieve by responding to God’s call?

Every person lives in Seven Spheres of Life.

So Goals naturally arise within one of these Spheres and often cross over into others..

Focusing on a specific Sphere helps to Identify what you want within that community.

These Seven exist together in a hierarchy – an order of importance and command.

Over the next 6 weeks we will look carefully at each one.

Spiritual Life sits at the top of my Seven Spheres of Life Goals.

I am convinced that God is God and that He wants to guide me in this earthly life so that I am qualified to live with Him for Eternity. Since He can see the end from the beginning,

He is more qualified to guide me than I am to guide myself.

As I said in the opening story, I want to be where God wants me to work. That is my Goal in my Spiritual Sphere.

I stated ‘work’ above in my goal. According to the Bible, every person is given a work to do.

The story that Jesus told of the Talents emphasizes that every servant was given at least one talent and was instructed to work with it.

When I am working where God places me, He will also be leading me in other spheres of my life. I will make better Life Goals than if I trust in my hopes and plans for the future.

You may not have made the same choice. But you have a Spiritual Life anyway, because God made you that way.

What personal goals do you have on your list that fit into your Spiritual Life?

Every achievement starts out as a goal.

God’s goal for us in this sphere is that we “become like Him.”
What is He like?

He describes Himself and His followers in these terms:
Loving
Joyful
Peaceful
Patient
Gentle
Good
Kind
Faithful
Self controlled

If you are struggling to identify a Spiritual Goal for yourself, adopt one from that list and work on it.

It is a Law of the Universe: You will become like the god that you worship.
History reveals this to be true.

To become more like Heavenly Father God, you must learn more about Him and spend time talking with and listening to Him.

Read the Bible. Begin with the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Find a Christian Church Fellowship that focuses on the Love of God. Get in a Study Group and participate.

Begin to look for evidences of His working in your life.

Get out into Nature and look at the flowers, birds, butterflies – actually everything in Nature testifies of a Loving Creator God.

Create your list of goals for your Spiritual Life Sphere.

Download a Worksheet here. Spiritual Sphere Worksheet

Look carefully at the Fuzzy picture and then the Clear picture. They are the same photo.

The clear one makes sense. That’s true of goals also.

The clear ones make sense.

If you are unclear about the label on the clear photo, look up “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah” He wants to be the Lion of your life too.

Next week we will continue with Goals in the Seven Spheres of Life.

Let me know what you think of this post. What have you experienced in your Spiritual Life? What questions do you still have?

Use the Comments box below or email me: eldon@eldonroberts.com