Thursday, 27 May 2010

The best strategy for personal growth - Story of Alexander Cruden (Part 1 of 5)

Everybody has talents waiting to be developed. Education may give you the opportunity to move into your chosen direction provided that you take the right courses.

Similarly, the labour market offers many different positions; if you obtain suitable employment, you will learn and thrive; on the other hand, if your job is unchallenging, you will not have much fun.

This principle, which seems so obvious and forceful, is extraordinarily difficult to implement. Most people are aware of the desirability of personal growth, but few individuals manage to exploit their talents to the maximum. Is this phenomenon due to lack of ambition? Would the problem be solved if those persons possessed greater determination?

If acquiring a stronger psychology was the answer, obstacles to personal growth would be easier to overcome. Those who wish to further their career would just need to attend a course on motivation or listen to an audio-book on the subject.

Even if there is no shortage of such courses and audio-books, the results speak for themselves. People's lives are affected for a short period of time, a few days or weeks, before they return to previous patterns.

An intense desire for personal growth does not guarantee a positive result. People fail in such endeavours because they lack any of the three indispensable elements: either they have not identified their specific talents, or they fail to develop them, or they cannot figure out how to exploit them commercially.

Those three factors, if applied consistently, can result in phenomenal accomplishments. In contrast, when any of those three ingredients is missing, little will be achieved. If you do not focus on your best qualities, education will hardly increase your effectiveness. If you labour in the wrong field, you will experience boredom.

Readers who live in the United Kingdom have probably heard of Alexander Cruden (1699-1770). His life provides us a compelling example of the results of adopting brilliant and mistaken strategies for personal development.

Like many talented people, Cruden attempted to improve his station in life through personal initiative. However, his well-intended actions did not always produce positive results.

To be continued in Part 2


[Image by Antonio Fiol under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]