Recently I entered a contest hosted by a man who is a household name in the world of personal development enthusiasts and a self-made multimillionaire: Brian Tracy. The challenge was to write and submit a blog article on the importance of personal development. Out of over 500 essays, mine placed me as one of the 60 finalists. While I did not ultimately win the grand finale, the dozens of comments and emails I received from people who read my essay was an enormous blessing and prize in itself. Thank you again and again!
Becoming Who We Are
It is almost mind-blowing to realize that the very thing that makes us feel safe and secure actually has the power to cause our mind, our dreams, and our spirit great harm. I am talking about our comfort zones - that internal wall of fear and uncertainty that keeps so many people living lives of quiet desperation and in the dark as to why and how.
Until we obtain a healthy and progressive understanding of our comfort zones through the process of personal development, we are like nervous, timid creatures peeping over ominous walls of our own making. At times, we may venture a few steps on the other side, but as soon as we start making mistakes, experiencing setbacks and disappointments, we retreat back into our comfort zone for that seductively numbing feeling of familiarity and even add a couple more stones to that wall for “protection.”
Remarkably, the riddle is that when we stay in our comfort zone, we are actually denying ourselves the amazing experience of fulfilling our potential to be stronger, better, and wiser and to live more abundant, significant, and happy lives. With every stone we add to our inner wall for the purpose of increasing our sense of security, we are growing more and more insecure. We are sacrificing our God-given power to create the life we want to live.
So why does this seemingly twisted human condition exist? Success has quite a knack for disguising itself as failure. When met with failure, we unconsciously follow the train of thinking that since we are not experiencing the results we want right away, then we are not on the path to success. So we run in the other direction: to our comfort zone. The challenge of personal development is to realize and internalize that success is on the other side of failure, not the opposite side. It is a continuous journey of three steps forward and one step back.
What a dramatic turning point it is to come to the realization that obstacles and disappointments are not something to be avoided as oppositions to what we want. You see, the fact that the path to success is obstructed with hardships has a deep-seated significance. For it is in rising above the disappointments, solving the challenges, and getting up again and again after every failure that makes us who we need to be in order to attract the success we desire. The great personal development coach, Jim Rohn, put this truth into words perfectly when he said, “Success is not to be pursued. Success is to be attracted by the person you become."
If the path to success were smooth and free of any element of resistance, we would never feel the pressure to rise to greater levels of self-discipline, gratitude, and self-awareness. A great truth to take to heart is that it is in overcoming that we become - become who we are meant to be, who we truly are. The discomfort we feel is that of self-transformation as it chisels our character into something more noble, authentic, and strong.
It is a beautiful thing, when you have matured in the world of personal development to the point where you can picture yourself with all of the physical manifestations of success and feel that what you really and truly look forward to is the person you will have become in order to achieve such a lifestyle. This is precisely the wonderfully balanced attitude toward success that personal development creates in us.
Your most authentic self, your best life, your deepest desires are all on the other side of your comfort zone. Don’t you think it is high time to embark on the process of getting to know that person? Embrace the incredible journey that is personal development and you will.