This is the 7th and the last post of the series of posts I wrote on Self Development. I have started with simple and easy steps for Self Development in my first post and proceeded with various facets of it in the next few posts. If you intend to start working on it, I request you to begin with the 1st post.
When I began the series, I began with 7 Baby Steps to Self Development. Many of the readers told me how simple and time-saving they were. You need to warm up before you begin the actual work out. But if you do warm up alone, it will get you nowhere. It is time to take the plunge.
All the posts thereafter were about preparing ourselves mentally. If you really try following each post, you will find yourself preparing for today’s post and that, my friends, is the leap. These are big steps and you might have to drag yourself into doing it initially. If you get through the beginning stage, it gets easier. It begins with:
1. The Big Announcement
We know that social media is a time killer. Why don’t we put it to good use? For Self Development! Once you know what you want to work on, make an announcement on Facebook or Instagram about it, the date and your reasons to take it up. For instance, announce that you will start working on your fitness from the next day. You will start by going for a walk every morning.The benefits are twofold:
You put it out to the Universe and with that, you have already started it because there is 99% chance that you will begin it. Once begun, half done!
People might be willing to join you and nothing makes it more enjoyable than a company, be it to keep track of each other or to compete
2. Take the Plunge
Get into action. Do not wait at the end of the bank and dip your toe in the waters. You might rethink. Just take the plunge. If you were a 10 AM person and you have decided to wake up at 6 AM, do not try the, ‘Let me wake up at 9 AM this week, 8AM next week, 7 AM after that…’ technique. We know how that turns out to be. Keep the alarm for 6 AM.
If you have decided to exercise, start it tomorrow. Not sometime next week. Do it asap before you change your mind.
3. Quit a Bad Habit
Ah… it is getting tougher, isn’t it? I am no one to point out your bad habits. You know them and you want to stop. As long as we are discussing self-development, this is the best time. Google ways to quit your bad habit and if it involves buying something, go buy it now. You googled it last time and put it off since you were lazy to buy it.
Amidst your quitting resolve, if you have an urge to restart it, what will you do? Have that area covered too. Start a beneficial habit that will replace your bad habit if it involves time. If it is an involuntary bad habit like biting your nails, you get bitter solutions to dip your nails in that will definitely help you stop sticking them in your mouth. 😉
4. Enroll For a Class
Dance, Yoga, Gym, Zumba, Learning instruments, Languages, Cooking, Painting, Craftwork, Workshops, Calligraphy, name it and you have it. You might have wanted to excel in something similar. Instead of binge watching youtube tutorials one day and forgetting all about it, act on it and join a class.
The thing about enrolling for classes is that you would have spent money on it and that would give you a push. Once you reach there, your tutor will give a push. When there are many people involved, you will enjoy it too.
5. Reach Out to People who Despise you/You Despise
Think of the last person you want to meet and have a conversation with. Start with someone on the peer level. Imagine sitting with them over a cup of coffee?
Hard is it?
In most of the cases, this is a drill we could avoid. Not being in the good books of a single person isn’t a big deal. But what if you have to deal with them on a frequent basis? You could either try going out for a cup of coffee together. But if that would be weird, you could strike occasional conversation – about his/her home, the weather, ask for recommendations. If that would be weird, then go to point 2 and take the plunge. Tell them how you have noticed the friction and that you want to make things better. Trying doesn’t hurt. Does it?
6. Start a 30-day challenge (Or any such)
A person who failed in 4-5 challenges is telling you this. Yes. I found it immensely difficult. And so, take it up and challenge yourself. Being a writer, mine were all writing challenges. You could take up something that would help you grow. Fitness Challenge, Healthy Diet Challenge, Happiness Challenge, Photography challenge, Journal writing challenge, Self Development challenge and there are more such. Ensure that you keep a note of it somewhere so you keep track of it. Let me tell you how my challenges went:
My 30 days letter challenge ended in 4 days I think.
The 100 Happy Days Challenge was not only prolonged for two-three years it is incomplete even now.
The 10 Days, 4 Things challenge? Barely completed 4 days.
And then I took up #BarAThon. And here I am! Writing my last post. I am finally successful and this has given me the confidence to take up more challenges. The feeling is out of this world! 😀 Go for it guys! Go! Go!
7. Start your Life Handbook/Journal
Our life from birth has been a blur. Do you have a record of those little moments in life? Life is made of little things. Those tiny but important details you thought you’ll never forget yet you find them slipping away from your memory. In another 10 years will you remember them? In your old age will your life seem to have been an empty slate?
Don’t just fill it up with lovely moments, keep a record of them. I can’t emphasize enough on its importance which is why I wrote an entire post on it.
You don’t have to start with all these at once. You can work on them one or two at a time but make up your mind to reach to the bottom of it. We don’t have much time. The earlier we master one thing, the earlier we can move on to the next. With this ends my Self Development Series. So did you like them? Do you think you can take up one of these? Is there anything else you would like to add to this list?
It was my Mom’s decision to send me to a School in Puttaparthi. She, being an ardent devotee of Bhagwan Sri Satya Sai Baba, always dreamt of sending me there. Whenever we visited Puttaparthi, she used to look at those children longingly. She was awed by the discipline and the atmosphere in which the children grew. It was absolute divinity and their faces glowed in that divinity. She wanted to see that glow in me.
I wasn’t as devoted as she was. But I wasn’t against going to that school. The only problem was that I would have to stay away from home. I knew that we weren’t financially well off and that Mom was struggling to make ends meet. My schooling was very costly and if I went to Puttaparthi, since the education was free, it would lift off a huge weight from her hands. And so, I agreed to go.
I needed some last minute things and my parents went to buy them. They came back, we spoke for a while and in the veranda of our school, my new school, we parted. I still remember turning and just walking away. I didn’t turn back, not once. It would hurt her more than me. I walked up those stairs until they couldn’t see me anymore. I don’t know if she expected me to turn around. I never asked. I knew that she would cry. But it was a while before I knew that she cried all the way back home.
I remember how scared and sad I was. Each hour seemed like years to me. I remember thinking;
A day is not over. How am I going to live here for 2 years?
After a week, I remember saying;
It has been only a week. I have many more weeks like this to spend here.
Somehow, 2 years passed. All my friends had decided to join the sister institution for their degree. I wasn’t sure of what to do. This time, my Mom did not say anything. They said it was my call. I could go back home, do degree elsewhere or I could continue there. And I made my decision.
That was the bold step I took. I decided to continue my studies there. It was the best 3 years of my life. It wasn’t a co-ed, it wasn’t a college with occasional strikes, fights or ragging. It wasn’t a college were we bunked classes and went for movies. It was different. Many wouldn’t understand, but you can enjoy a college without any of those cliched elements.
This place truly changed me. I was basically a fun loving and jovial person. But I had suppressed that part out of fear of being teased. It wasn’t necessary anymore. Here, I was accepted as I was. I changed from that shy, timid and scared little girl to a strong opinionated person. I wouldn’t say that it was extremes of a change, but it was quite visible.
We were purely driven by the Love for God. Our days were packed with studies, prayers and activities that we did not have time for any worries or fears. We were allotted to rooms on random basis. When I went to my room on the first day, there were 2 Telugites, 2 Nepalis, 2 Keralites (including me) and 1 from Jamshedpur. Every room had a mixture of 1st, 2nd and 3rd years. We were cared for like little kids. There was so much of warmth and love, and soon our room was known to be the noisiest, funniest and happiest. 🙂
There was no reason for fights or ego. Region and language did not matter. Time just flew by and within a year I had made some good friends. By the time I was in my final year, I had so many responsibilities, in-charge-ships, too much to study, too many things to organize, I had begun to voice my thoughts. I had become more open, frank and was willing to face situations with my head held high. The best part was, my friends were agreeing with the tiny rebellions that I was involved in.
I realized that I was barely accepted in my school when I was a child. It might be because of the complexion or the weirdness. I tried a lot to fit in and finally gave up. It was different here. I was myself and they liked me that way. They thought that I was humorous and fun to hang out with. They taught me that I did not have to ‘try’ to fit in and that I could voice my opinion.
At the end of my college life, I finally had some friendship memories that I cherished. With the newly found confidence I stepped into the ‘real world’ and sure enough my outlook had changed. After this experience, the graph has only gone upward. I discovered more about myself. Most importantly, I realized that being accepted isn’t important. What was important was being yourself.
Now, when I look back, I realize that it was the first bold step I took. The one that changed me from the person I thought I was to the person I am today. 🙂