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Personal growth: Achieving broad goals via specifics June 25, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal growth, Goal Setting and Realization.
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One of the traps we can fall into in self-improvement is in setting too many vague and overly broad goals without also establishing specific goals (within our general goals) that can be broken down into smaller tasks or projects.

Examples of vague goals:

Improve my knowledge of current affairs
Increase my understanding of personal development principles
Doing a better job of organizing my time
Establishing more quality time with my family

These are admirable objectives, but if not augmented with specific goals and sub-tasks, they can be a frustrating exercise and remain merely good intentions.

Wide/broad goals need to be (1) subdivided into specifics, (2) then quantified and (3) then be incorporated into a timetable.

For improving our knowledge of current affairs, for example, the sub-goal could be to read (on- or off-line) authoritative, quality newspapers, blogs, and magazines.

Then quantify by choosing a specific number you will read, and which ones.

Finally timetable this by establishing the time of day, week, or month that we will do this plus the amount of time we will devote to this activity.

We need to periodically remind ourselves that taking a systematic and specific-actions approach to our broad goals will result in less frustration and more actual achievement in our self-improvement efforts.

Our overarching goal is to better ourselves; but this can’t happen without an action plan.

Personal growth: When our generosity can be misguided June 19, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal growth.
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As part of our personal self-development programs, many of us include making an effort to improve the level of qualities such as generosity in our intellectual and emotional make-up.

And clearly, this is worth doing and is win-win – as long as we temper this impulse with moderation and good judgement.

When we make the effort to praise someone’s efforts or achievements, for example, we are in fact being generous; somewhat different than giving money to someone who is in need, but it is generosity nevertheless.

In some circumstances, however, it can be problematic when the generosity of our praise is given so as to not hurt a person’s feelings or to flatter them. It then becomes false praise and false generosity.

In some cases, if someone is asking our opinion about a project they have accomplished, they are seeking analytical input from us rather than wanting “feel-good” praise from us.

They are looking for a learning and growth experience from our judgement. They want our generosity of “praise” to be well considered and meaningful.

The ancient and revered Chinese sage and teacher Confucius often looked to others, such as his students and disciples to add critical (analytical) input to his thinking.  He did not consider himself to be all-knowing, and he did not want uncritical admiration and blind acceptance of his principles.

The following comment by Confucius about one of his disciples, Yen Hui, illustrates this concept:

“The Master said: ‘Yen Hui’s never helped me much: no matter what I say, he’s delighted.’” (1)

(1)  Confucius, The Analects, as translated by David Hinton in his book The Four Chinese Classics