Ever wondered what personality development is?
Personality development (also known as personal development) is a word people use as per their convenience.
The (so-called) life skills training companies want you to believe that personal development is about different skills and how to sharpen them.
Communication skills, and so on.
Such training and placement companies want you to believe that it’s also about:
Resolving conflicts between two parties
Facing interviews (what type of underwear gels with what kind of trousers)
Getting a job, and that’s it!
That’s personal development for them.
Personality Development Training Companies (The Truth)
Something interesting happened when I was starting into personal development coaching in 2011.
You see, a life skills training company based out of Noida, Uttar Pradesh had selected me as a freelance trainer for conducting life skills training in colleges of Western Uttar Pradesh on their behalf.
They informed me that I had to attend a one-day training and orientation program in their office, so I went.
I had a lot of curiosity and optimism because the name of that company was one of the most sacred words from Hindu philosophy. And I had pretty much high expectation from them.
But as soon as the session began, I found out something shocking – they were not only disgracing that beautiful word but were also making students believe that the nonsense they were teaching was “Personal Development.”
Later I came to know that the mastermind behind that company now calls himself “Acharya.”
Can you see the irony here?
A person having no goddamn idea about how young minds work and how one should train them now projects himself a “Guru.” I mean, are you kidding me?
And it’s not just about that company; it’s the story of many (so-called) personality development and life skills training companies.
Such people manipulate young college students to believe in some stupid stuff, (which, of course, they call unique) in the name of personal development.
The truth is that people running such companies have no clue about personal development whatsoever, and they are operating as puppets in the hands of college authorities – the people sitting in the chairs of directors, deans and chairpersons of various colleges.
Majority of them have got everything in place, like land, money and political power but they lack common sense and emotional connect with their students.
I am sorry to say this, but their only aim is to make money out of students – they don’t care what happens to the students.
Yes, it can be hard to swallow, but that’s the truth.
Personal Development and Positive Thinking
Next in line are our positive thinkers.
You know, the new age people.
They believe that personal development is all about positive thinking.
Well, you’d be disappointed to know that positive thinking is not personal development.
Yes, the path to personal growth passes through positive thinking, but it’s just a milestone and not the destination itself.
Personal development is something different. And only a few people willing to risk without any guarantee of success can walk down this path.
So what is it?
Personal development is about being the master of your thoughts and emotions.
But How Is It Different from Positive Thinking?
You see, right now your mind is controlling you.
The mind thinks negative most of the times, (or positive at times when you push it hard).
But most of the times your mind controls you.
It drives you crazy like a car which runs on its own and stops when it wishes.
Your mind has become your master. And personal development is about reclaiming your ownership.
So, How Do I Regain Control Over My Mind?
Here are three practical steps.
1. You wake up to the fact that mind has become your master and you feel the need to reclaim your authority.
2. You start working to turn negative thoughts into positive ones.
3. You begin succeeding in thinking positive and gain a little control over your mind.
When you get stuck and need to choose between option A and B, you ask for guidance.
“Should I take this job or that one?”
“What is better at this time – should I search for a job, or start my business?”
“Should I choose a career in the medical field or sports?”
You start getting the knack of figuring out what’s right for you. It feels incredible, but wait; you are still not there.
4. You start watching your thoughts instead of getting identified with them, and they start disappearing. This stage is called ‘living in the present moment’. And then a day comes when all your thoughts go.
Now you don’t think negative or even positive.
You don’t think any longer. Not that you can’t, but because you don’t need to.
Now you know what is right for you. The need to consider and analyse cease to exist. You become your own master.
That’s personal development.
Want to Develop a Better Personality? Here Are Some Tips
The very first step to developing a better personality is to accept who you are.
Did you notice the word personal (ity) starts with ‘personal?’
It relates to you as a person:
Who you are – your unique personality traits – the way you feel about yourself.
It’s about your strengths, your talents, your likes, and dislikes. It’s about you.
There’s no such thing as a perfect personality, so don’t waste your time in chasing that mirage.
You need to become better at who you already are. And that can only be done if you accept yourself the way you are – at- this – very – moment.
1. Understand What is ‘Personality?’
There are two aspects of your personality:
Core – Who You Are
Circumference – The Skills You Have
The Core of your character remains unchanged throughout your life because that’s your real nature, that’s who you are.
On the other hand, Circumference keeps changing and improving as you keep on learning newer and better skills.
2. Find Out the ‘Core’ of Your Personality
Let’s say you find it challenging to communicate effectively.
You can take some individual classes, or you may join an institute where you can learn how to communicate in a better and effective manner.
As you know by now-Your Core is cannot be changed or altered, it can be accepted as it is and you can strengthen it by loving yourself more. But you must know what your Core is.
Let me give you my example:
I like my individuality. In other words, I am a solo player.
Watching a movie all by myself is a breeze for me, and also, I like to go alone to restaurants and parks. If someone wishes to come along, that’s OK, but I don’t ask anyone to give my company. I feel comfortable that way. That’s my core.
You also need to figure out what your Core is so you may start nurturing it.
3. Don’t Try Changing Your Core
There’s no need for me to become a team player since I like and respect my individuality.
If despite being an individual player, I try hard to become a team player to get approval from my peers, family or society, I’ll be in constant trouble all my life.
Because I would be trying to achieve something that’s impossible. It’s like trying to walk with my head rather than my feet.
There’s nothing wrong with being a team player or an individual player. Both are right in their sense.
For example, cricket is a team sport, and only good team players can excel at that.
On the other hand, bodybuilding is an individual sport and people who are inclined more towards performing alone can excel at it.
So you see, both cricket and bodybuilding are unique and beautiful sports and so are the people who participate in them.
4. Accept Who You Are
Accept who you are and keep improving the real you – this is probably one of the most critical personality development tips for students:
If you are a team player, good! That’s your Core. On the Circumference, you can learn better skills to become a better team player.
If you’re an individual player, that’s fine, too. Then you should learn better skills to become a better solo player.
5. Accept the Fact that You Cannot Change Everything
The problem arises when you confuse the Core, which is unchangeable, with your Circumference, which is changeable.
When you start thinking that there’s something wrong with being an individual player and you must strive hard to become a team player.
Then you try hard to change your core, and your life becomes a mess. You start doubting yourself. “Oh! There must be something wrong with me. Why can’t I become a team player?”
You try harder and get knocked out again and again. It becomes a never-ending struggle. There’s no need to fall into this trap. Just accept who you are. Accept your core.
The only way to improve your personality is to identify your Core (and accept that) and do everything you can to enhance your Circumference.
6. Release Your Suppressed Energy
Yeah, we live in a so-called free world.
You’re free to express yourself but expressing yourself is not easy at all times.
Let’s say you’re angry at your college principal or your father. You wanted to say nasty things, but could you?
No. It’s not allowed.
So instead of releasing the emotions, you suppress them to appear respectful.
And it happens almost every day when you cannot express yourself adequately. Gradually, the suppressed energy keeps on accumulating. This contained energy can affect you as an individual.
That’s why it’s important to release it. You can do that with the help of any physical activity that demands intense physical exertion.
Take your pick.
And here’s one of my favourite techniques, devised by Osho.
Wear comfortable clothes. Play some loud music – preferably heavy metal or any other music to awaken the wildness, the craziness within you. And then, go crazy. For about 20 – 30 minutes.
Do whatever you feel like – dance, shout, cry, scream or make faces. Initially, you’ll need to put in some efforts, but after a few days your body shall take over. Let your body express itself the way it wants. Let go. Once done with it, you’ll find yourself amazingly calm.
The proper technique to release your suppressed energy is called Dynamic meditation. You can take part in that meditation if there’s an Osho meditation centre in your neighbourhood. The timings are 6:30 to 7:30 in the morning.
7. Don’t be Over-concerned About Others’ Opinion
Too concerned about others’ opinion? Yes? Well, then you’re giving more importance to others’ opinions than your individuality.
Listening to others is just fine. But you need to draw a line between understanding someone’s point of view and letting them intimidate you with opinions and judgements.
You need a little space to be yourself.
Take a look at your life. Are you concerned about people’s opinions about you? There’s no need.
You can’t please everybody. Be kind to others, but live your life the way you see fit.
8. Be Vulnerable
Quite often, in my personality development workshops, I ask a silly question –“Do you watch porn?”
Most of the students get the shock of their lives when they hear this. Girls feel shy, and boys laugh (some sit with their mouth wide open in surprise, and some have a disgusted look on their faces).
Almost always nobody answers, and then, after keeping mum for some moments, finally, I speak – “Well, I do.” Then comes loud laughter followed by pin-drop silence -rarely does someone gather the courage to confess that he does watch porn.
It’s not a question of watching or not watching porn. It’s about being vulnerable.
So many times, people ask me “How can I boost self-confidence?”
Well, you feel confident when you have not much to hide.
Look within yourself. You are trying too hard to hide your ‘secrets’ from others. And yet, you are shaking inside, that no matter what, somehow, others will get to know your ‘secret’. You are in constant tension. And this very tension will never let you feel confident.
Don’t think only you have secrets to hide. All of us do. People around you are concerned about projecting a clean image in the society. And the people, whom they are hiding the secrets from, too, are busy protecting their secrets. It’s a vicious circle.
Be vulnerable and courageous.
And you’ll feel a new energy. Something strange that you have never experienced before. It’s confidence. It’s the kind of faith that comes from being vulnerable – it’s the kind of courage that comes from accepting who you are.
Mind you; it’s not that confidence you get when you repeat ‘I am confident’ zillion times a day. It comes directly from your heart.
9. Change Your Beliefs
Your life is the total of your beliefs. What you hold in your mind becomes true for you.
You need to change your beliefs to change your life.
Want to become happy, healthy and prosperous? Then it’s no use trying to change external circumstances. They are just reflections of your inner beliefs.
Start changing your beliefs from negative to positive. And your world shall change.
10. Invest in Yourself
You are your most valuable asset.
You must invest in yourself – polish yourself, learn new skills every day.
- Read inspiring books on personal development.
- Listen to motivational tapes.
- Enrol in a course that can help your career move to newer heights.
- Learn some dance moves to get an impressive body
- Study books on how to invest in the market to get better returns.
- Invest in programs to help you understand your business better.
Keep investing in yourself.
11. Stay Away from Negative People
Heard about leeches – The blood-sucking creatures found in dirty water?
They get themselves hooked on your body and keep sucking your blood until none is left.
Negative people are just like them. Somewhat more harmful and dangerous.
Because leeches only suck the blood out of their victim, while negative people suck your positive energy, your enthusiasm, your aspirations – everything!
If you’re serious about personal development, then you should stay away from negative people.
12. Exercise Regularly
Our forefathers didn’t need exercise. Life itself was an exercise. Things were tough. People had to do hard physical labour to collect food and to keep themselves safe from the dangers around.
Times have changed. Many of us sit in front of a computer screen to earn our livelihoods. There’s no physical exercise. But your body needs it. Do some.
Why? Even running with your dog would do.
How about walking instead of taking a cycle-rickshaw? Use common sense to find ways to keep yourself fit.
13. Spend Some Time in Nature
The modern world has lost contact with nature. Most of the times we are in cabins, homes, taxis, cars, trains, planes, with no or minimal contact with nature.
Give yourself a break – switch off your mobile phone, shut down your computer. Go out. In a park, countryside, deserted area, lake, river – any place where you can be in contact with nature. If that’s not possible at the moment, wait till night.
Look at the stars. Let your heart filled with wonder and awe. Be one with nature.