Why Personal Development Time is NOT a Selfish Act.
…I get it.
Personal development time can feel selfish.
There are a lot of people who could use your help – both in the world and in your immediate circle of influence.
We’re talking about spouses, children, siblings, friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and all of the less fortunate people in the world who aren’t getting their basic needs met.
And here you are thinking about spending some of that precious time… on yourself?
I mean, your time is limited and there is only so much help that you can provide in an ordinary day so you might as well devote as much of it as possible to others… right?
Sound like the selfless thing to do?
Well… Not so fast.
I feel like this is a thinking trap that a lot of people fall into.
Not a lot of time + a ton of people who could use your time and energy = devote as much of it as possible to the people who request it.
I think there’s a better way, one that Abraham Lincoln alluded to beautifully when he said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”
A sharpened ax will always chop down a tree quicker and more efficiently than a dull one – it’s common sense.
Well the same is true for all of the challenges you face in your life – they will be handled better with a sharpened mind.
How do you sharpen your mind? Personal development time.
This will not only recharge you and keep you feeling good about yourself, but it will allow you to help others better too.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
First I’ll list a situation. Then below, I’ll list a typical thought a person might have ‘before’ they have dedicated themselves to personal development time followed by a thought a person might have ‘after’ they have dedicated themselves to it. Finally, I’ll list the personal development lesson that could lead a person to handle the situation in that better way.
- A family member’s health is at risk and they turn to you for help.
- Before: I’m not even in control of my own health, how can I help them…
- After: I could share with them what I have been doing that has been working well for me!
- Lesson: The best way to lead is to lead by example. Spend time focusing on improving your own health and fitness first and use the methods that work for you to model the way for others.
- There is one person at your work who is chronically upset and is always spreading negative vibes.
- Before: I hate them! They make me so mad! They suck the energy right out of me! Ugh!
- After: Let me try and be compassionate and understanding of this person and help them if I can.
- Lesson: Sometimes it’s the nastiest people who need the most help and love. Staying calm and responding clearly is always a better course of action than reacting in a sudden and harsh way.
- Somebody that looks up to you is seeking out motivation so that they may continue pushing their limits and training their hardest.
- Before: I’m running out of ideas… They’re about as good as I am already!
- After: Too many ideas…! All of the books I have read… All of the motivational videos I have watched… All of the analyzing and reflection I have done… I don’t even know where to start!
- Lesson: Never stop learning. Growth is inexhaustible. There is always something to learn and always an area to be improved upon. Keep yourself sharp and you will never run out of things to teach.
Spend some extra time on yourself… for us.
The lessons I have learned through my personal development time prove time and time again just how invaluable they are.
When you spend time on yourself, you feel good. When you feel good, your mood is good. When your mood is good, you can handle all challenges and situations better.
…Not to mention you’ve grown and become better as a result!
Sometimes I have even given advice that surprised me because of how good it was for the particular situation.
Where does that surprise advice come from?
You guessed it – personal development time.
Make personal development time a priority and get in the habit of sharpening your axe on a regular basis.
…Not just for you, but for the betterment of us all.