What is self-development and why should a man engage in it?
To put it in the simplest words possible – self-development is a commitment to reaching Selfhood, your best self.
The reason for doing so, for me at least, is simple curiosity. People who open the door and step onto the path of self-development are interested in seeing how far they can go down this road, and in seeing how kick ass a life they can build for themselves.
The way is simple in theory – commit to a path of gradual, continual improvement in key areas of your life. Then never stop.
There is no actual end to the path of self-development. You will stop when you die. Until then, you will be growing, learning, developing and creating a better and better version of yourself.
If that doesn’t sound like something you can commit to, self development is probably not the path for you.
My Own Journey To Self Development
I wasn’t always like this.
I didn’t always go to the gym religiously, focus my time and mental efforts on developing my career and side business, or develop my writing skills.
I didn’t always have a dream girl, a six figure income and six months off per year living on a tropical island either, but that came after I decided to develop myself into the kind of man who deserved those things.
The truth is I used to be a bit of a bum! For many years after school I wasn’t particularly committed to anything. I was just sort of drifting through life, blowing in the wind, having a reasonably good time backpacking in various destinations around Australia and Asia, but not achieving much of anything.
I avoided struggle in favour of pleasure, and my life reflected such: I was always broke, skinny and weak, and had trouble with women and relationships.
In short, I had no real roots! I never put up resistance to anything, preferring to go with the flow and just see what happened.
Then a series of events took place which led me onto this path:
First, I got into a job where I had to commit to staying somewhere I didn’t like for 1 year minimum. This taught me the value of persevering. I literally had no way out of the contract so I had to see it through.
Second, I got cheated on by the girl I loved (isn’t this the beginning of much greatness and positive change in men?)
Lastly, my worldview changed as a result of the second event as I learned about game, PUA and ultimately Darwin’s theory of evolution.
These three events changed me for good. I decided I was going to do three things from now on:
First, get paid majorly so I would never get stuck in a shitty situation again.
Second, get into peak condition physically and reach my maximum genetic potential.
Lastly, become a more determined, focused and driven person overall.
In short, I decided to change my life for the better and take actual action to do so since I was fed up of being skinny, broke and powerless!
Choosing The Correct Method – Kaizen
There are many schools of thought within the topic of self-development.
Just like in philosophy or martial arts or any other discipline involving thought, different people subscribe to different theories and schools.
Since I had previously been reading much on Eastern philosophy in the martial arts, Buddhism and Taoism, I found the theory of Kaizen extremely appealing.
So what is Kaizen?
Kaizen is a commitment to the gradual art of daily improvement.
It is a gentle path. It is not extreme and does not involve massive violent movement and bursts of energy, except when sudden opportunity presents itself.
Kaizen is a path which harnesses the power of compounding, believing that over a long enough timeline small, consistent, daily steps will lead to massive positive change.
For example, when I wanted to gain lean muscle I first undertook a bodyweight training program for 6 months then when I felt I had built the foundations of strength I moved onto a compound weightlifting program and gained 25lbs of muscle.
I don’t spend endless hours in the gym and count every calorie and gram of protein. I eat a reasonably clean diet and work out 2-3 times a week only, yet I have been able to make great gains. This is the power of compounding through consistent every day action!
Harness The Power of Momentum & Habit
After deciding Kaizen would be the way I decided to engage in three disciplines in order to improve.
First I would begin weightlifting and eating properly in order to build lean muscle.
Second I would make a definite commitment to making more money via changing my career and utilizing my entrepreneurial tendencies. Coincidentally, when I made this firm, definite decision a massive opportunity presented itself and I pounced on it.
Lastly, I would aim to read every single day, begin blogging and try to master the language Bahasa Indonesia.
I felt these were enough changes to implement all at once. It’s always important not to spread your focus too thin. You should probably implement one change at a time, develop it into a sustainable habit, then introduce the next and so on.
So I began lifting weights consistently. I began to notice serious positive attention from women which only reinforced the habit. I began to make the gains I was hoping for. I began to stop feeling skinny/insecure and noticed I was becoming properly built.
As I inched forward one pound of lean muscle at a time, it developed into an addictive habit which I was powerless to stop! I now cannot not train or I get moody, depressed and deeply agitated. I need to exercise the way I need to eat and breathe. It is a physical craving -an inner hunger.
I also committed to making more money. A strange coincidence happened hereby I flew all the way from Turkey (where I was working a temporary gig) back to Indonesia to get involved in a startup which failed before it got started leaving me without a visa, penniless and deep in debt.
Yet despite this seeming disaster I felt a calm I have never felt in my life before and said out loud “I am not leaving. I am staying. I will find a way”. I’m not exaggerating when I say this. I was literally sitting on my balcony watching the sun go down and I said those very words out loud.
Within a month I was working in oil and gas making double what I would have at the startup. A year after that, I was making ten times more. That opportunity largely came to me.
I am not a superstitious man by any means and do not believe in horse shit like the Law of Attraction, but I landed right on my feet when I decided fully to get things together and take drastic action. Perhaps it was just dumb luck, or perhaps I had been subconsciously working toward it for a long time, building the right connections and pushing forward until the right moment came. Either way, here I am.
Lastly I began reading and actively studying Bahasa Indonesia and decided to finally hire a teacher. I changed my focus from crap fiction and travel stories to books by Tony Robbins and other self-development authors. This was the mental nourishment I needed to keep going on this path. What goes in must come out, after all.
The Journey Never Ends
So here I am today.
I am 25 lbs of muscle heavier and much stronger, but nowhere near finished.
I am a lot better off, own my first piece of land and am building my own home debt free, but the journey to wealth has just begun.
I am now much better at Bahasa Indonesia, but I plan to take on Ilonggo and Tagalog when I move to The Philippines this June.
The journey of self-development never ends. If you truly love this way of life and are committed to it, you can never stop! Once you open the door there is no way back to the life of a mediocre you. Once you begin to taste what you are capable of, things will change forever.
You stop this path when you stop breathing.
Even when I am an old man of 80 you will find me at the gym, reading a book, exploring ways to make even more money to leave as a legacy to my descendants, and still focused on improving my mind, body and character.
Whatever else happens that I can’t control, that is my commitment.
Will you make it, too?
Desire. Decide. Persist.