I’ve had an idea for a post for weeks now that I’ve been itching to write. As you know this blog is for those people who are interested in making themselves better and getting the most out of life. At least that is the reason I started this blog; to share the insights I’ve learned while pushing the personal development limits.
I know I am not alone in the pursuit of personal growth and happiness but I do believe that it is surprisingly less common than I originally imagined. Stop and think about many of the people you know; are they in a constant state of personal development? Some of my friends are comfortable with how things are and they act in ways to sustain this comfort. I contrarily consistently introduce new ideas and challenge myself in new ways. Personal development is always on my mind and I like it that way. If you are like me in these respects, I’m sorry, you may be slightly insane. If you are not like me but are interesting in bettering yourself I’d start by reading some personal development books (or this blog!). Also be encouraged that since the majority of people are not doing the same, it is easy to pull ahead of the pack.
The purpose of this post is address a problem I have with personal development. Hopefully by reading this post you will get less discouraged when implementing new personal development ideas.
Welcome to the concept of the “highlight reel”. The highlight reel represents all of the highlights of a person’s life. When you speak to coworkers in passing and they tell you about all of the great things that are happening in their life – this is their highlight reel. This is especially applicable to successful people when they are sharing their success story- they list all of their accomplishments rapid fire. You get the impression that these people are different from the rest of us and they are always motivated, courageous, willing to take risks, etc. How do they have all this time, energy, charisma, motivation, and constant success!? It’s unrealistic! The truth is that they don’t have as much as you might imagine- these people are very much like you.
Since we are outsiders we only know their highlight reel. We don’t hear about the potato chip ridden couch escapades Donald Trump engaged in over the weekend. I personally have not told any of you about the countless mornings I’ve woken up early to run, muttered to myself HELL NO, and went back to bed. All of you only know my highlight reel. I assure you my full reel is much less impressive than you may perceive. Do not be intimidated or discouraged by other’s achievements- you are only seeing the surface.
“Ok Eric, that is great and all, however these people ACTUALLY achieved seemingly un-achievable goals. Your reel idea is stupid and so is your hair”. Woah now partner, simmer down. I’m not discounting the achievements successful people have made but want to highlight HOW they made them. Their real success stories are not like a story book and it most likely took much longer than you might imagine. Many great achievements are a result of small steps taken consistently over a long period of time. The achievers had periods of doubt, fear, laziness, discouragement, and all the same feelings we have. The achievement process was far from perfect, even borderline dysfunctional! So how did they do it?
They took small action steps and they never fully gave up. Even if they fell off the staircase for a while, they eventually got back on and continued stepping on. They realized that EVERY SMALL STEP COUNTED. They continued these small steps, tripping along the way, until eventually they were standing at the top and all the others around could see them. All others saw the highlight reel and thought how could they have accomplished such a feat!?
I want you to think of personal development like this on your day to day. When you’re debating whether to have a healthy lunch, go to the gym, take on a challenging project at work, wake up early to make breakfast for the family, I want you to realize that taking that one action truly matters. It might seem so insignificant and the goals may seem so far, but this one action will get you closer. You don’t have to be a relentless personal developer that doesn’t sleep or have fun with friends. You will mess up along the way, every great person has and that is ok. The most important thing is to take action, start walking up the stairs and keep walking. Every day is a chance to get one step closer and when you look down after awhile, you too will wonder how you got so high.