Glenda Cloud, an average American citizen once said, ‘change is inevitable, growth is intentional’. Tha value and worth placed on an individual is oftentime proportional to and a reflection of the value placed on himself by the individual. Across the dynamic social, political, educational and relational spheres of life, it has been proven personal development is not only needful but also imperative in the pursuit of excellence and upwardly mobile transition of the succesful man. Personal development has never thrived in isolation or as a ‘one off’ thing but rather as a constant process with the destination being perfection. In the words of Mrs. Funso Adegbola, Director of The Vale College and daughter of reknowned icon Chief Bola Ige, ‘education is lifelong learning and it is an individualistic pursuit’.
Leaders gone before us abound in a multitude and serve as signposts for us to the right path and give essential ingredients for personal development. These people who thus far, have charted the course of my life, have not only sacrificed themselves but also prevented me from ‘learning from my own mistakes’.
1. Focus and determination – Young, daring and handsome American presidential hopeful, after discovering that he had a role to play in the governmental affairs of his nation, decided to run for political office. However, not only did he fail at his first attempt, he also was not given a chance until after sixteen attempts; he became the president of the United States of America. Determination and focus in their crudest forms can be taken home as virtues possessed by this young man who went on to become one of the most celebrated men in Americas history. More importantly, from the first attempt at political office when rejection stared him in the face till the sixteenth attempt when he was succesful, Abraham continually reinvented himself, studying hard, reading wide and acquainting himself with sufficient knowledge about America and the leadership strides applicable to his fatherlands political terrain.
2. Resilience – erstwhile intellectual backbencher Thomas Edison is reknowned across the world for his most useful invention, ‘the light bulb’. He soared on the words of Kevin Freiberg, ‘do what it takes, remember there is little traffic in the extra mile’. This feat achieved by Thomas Edison is no mere or mediocre feat as he consistently and persistently attempted 9,999 times, delayed, deluded yet undeterred to invent the bulb. In contemporary times, after asking the same girl out three times, attempting the ACCA exam four times, trying to crack a code five times or aiming for a particular height of success six times, we get turned back and presume that perhaps we are racing off-track. Young, growing and eventually aged Thomas Edison not only believed in his course but also persistently gunned towars the same till he was crowned with success. Resilience which kept him striving can be adopted as key for every upwardly mobile youngster aiming to make a mark of thrive in todays competitive world. Persistence yields profit. After 21 years of struggle in South Africe, Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi emancipated his people from being members of an inferior race to being equal citizens in a foreign land. Why not you?
3. Seek education – Frail old nun Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, popularly called Mother Theresa recognized the great importance of education as the key, even to the liberation of the poor and her commitment to it was strong. Barrack Hussein Obama, current president of the United States of America had a daunting passion for education. After leaving school, he started teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago law school and continued there even as a state senator for 12 years. This passion for education is something he shares with Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. While serving time in prison, Mandela studied and earned a degree in law and also started his memoir, ‘long walk to freedom’. The crave for education is one that should not only linger in our minds but also shouls become insatiable. Ralph Marston said about learning and education to some white youths, ‘when you have done what needs to be done, do a little more. When you have got some momentum going, make good use of it’. Education is an immeasurable treasure, the importance of which can neither be over emphasized nor undermined. Reading, researching, learning skills, honing talents and developing potentials are the soft skills that give us an edge in the examination exercisw of life challenges and experiences. Remember that what stands a man out, making him extraKordinary is the ‘extra’ effort which the &’ordinary’ or average peer will not exert. Reading a page more, studying a while more, writing a little more and researching a little deeper make the high-flying candidate soar above peers.
In the words of George Verwer on why we should all make commitments to ourselves, ‘i will not look back, slow down, turn around, back away or be still’. ‘My past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure’. I will not flinch at the face of savrifice, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity’. I won’t give up, shut up, let up until i have stayed up, stored up, prayed up and paid up’.
Constant development, re-inventing ourselves, persistence, dilligence, hardwork and resillience are tips that aid the knowledge of personal development. It is however up to you and I to break off from the shackles of mediocrity and contentment in current ‘pass-away’ and average conditional standards to mount up like eagles and not only stand out but become extra-ordinary and in fact, outstanding.
Sanmi Abiodun (2012)