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To Reach Your Potential, Think in Terms of Improvement

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

Here are 10 Principles to becoming a committed self-developer. Based on John Maxwell’s The Success Journey. I will be reflecting on this as I take a break this week.

1. Choose a Life of Growth — You keep moving forward when you sincerely dedicate yourself to continual growth. You start sliding backward as soon as you think you can coast, rest, or keep what you have already achieved.

2. Growing Today — Procrastination is the death of ambition and dreams. Someday is not a day of the week. Growth is not automatic. Growth today will supply a better tomorrow. Growth is your responsibility – if you do not take that responsibility, growth will never happen.

3. Be Teachable — “It’s what you learn after knowing it all counts.” John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach, said this. He recognized that the greatest obstacle to growth is not ignorance. It is knowledge. We become unreachable when we think we know everything and can no longer grow or improve.

4. Focus on Self-Development, Not Self-Fulfillment — Self-fulfillment is about feeling good. With self-development, feeling good is a byproduct, not a goal. Self-development is a higher calling; it is the development of your potential to reach the purpose for which you were created.

5. Never Stay Satisfied with Current Accomplishments — Thinking that you have arrived when you conduct a goal has the same effect as believing you know it all. It takes away your desire to learn. Successful people know that wins and losses are both temporary. So, no matter how successful you are today, do not get complacent. Stay hungry. Do not settle into the Comfort Zone. From success, move on to more significant growth.

6. Be a Continual Learner — Become a perpetual learner to keep moving. You will have to carve out time for it. Learning something every day is the essence of being a continual learner. As Henry Ford said, “It’s been my observation that most successful people get ahead when other people waste.”

7. Concentrate on a Few Major Themes — Give your time and energy only to the themes at the heart of your life. Keep your focus narrow. Where you focus your attention will depend on your purpose, how you wish to help others and what it means for you to reach your potential.

8. Develop a Plan for Growth — The key to this life is developing a plan: Plan your work and work your plan. How you go about it does not matter but do it daily. Earl Nightingale says, “If a person spends one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert.”

9. Pay the Price — Growth needs discipline. It takes time away from leisure pursuits. It costs money for materials. There are constant changes and risks. And it can be lonely. But growth is always worth your price because the alternative is a life of unfulfilled potential. President Theodore Roosevelt said: “There has not yet been a person in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering.”

10. Find a Way to Apply What You Learn — In some way, apply what you learn daily to turn it into a habit instead of a wish. Do this for 21 days, and the pattern is yours. As you accumulate growth this way, you never stagnate or backslide.

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