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Personal development: Self-directed personal growth December 26, 2017

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Personal Development Potential.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Is it possible that in order to think more originally about our own personal development goals and our efforts towards self-actualization, that we should rely less on outside authorities and their recommendations and instead venture out on an individual path of self-discovery?

At one point in his intellectual growth, philosopher and social thinker Eric Hoffer said that he came to the “unpleasant discovery” that he would never be an original thinker, particularly in his writing, as long as he relied too heavily on the pronouncements of others.

“I realized that I would probably avoid hard thinking if I always had someone by my side (1) who knew the answers. I was not, in that case, a natural thinker. It was an unpleasant discovery,” (2)

Hoffer remedied this by using the material written by others more as a source or foundation upon which he would draw, through reflection, his own conclusions, theories, and generalizations.

Perhaps, to realize our potential in our own personal growth efforts, we might try doing the same – continue absorbing what the experts have written, but spend more time reflecting on our own interpretations of the points they make and subsequently making our self-improvement efforts more self-directed.

(1) “…someone by my side…” in this case means the books that Hoffer read throughout his life-long self-education process

(2) From Hoffer’s autobiographical book, Truth Imagined

— Dennis Mellersh


1. Cristian Mihai - December 26, 2017

Great post. And I think that there’s a big difference between being a student and being a follower. In order for one to think for himself, he must first decide for himself. It’s a conscious choice.

Dennis Mellersh - December 26, 2017

I think you make an excellent point on there being a distinction between the two. Thanks for contributing your insight.
— Dennis Mellersh

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