Personal growth is the process of improving yourself to create the life that you want. The purpose of these lessons is to empower you to create that life.
The lessons will focus on personal growth primarily, but they will also touch on relationships, health, finances and happiness.
My suggestion is to read them in order (as they build on one another), and then to reflect on the ones that you find useful.
The information in these lessons is opinion and for informational purposes only. You are reading them at your own risk and you are fully responsible for your own life.
Lesson 1: Know who you are
Who are you?
You are the awareness that notices and rules over both your mind and body. Better put, your mind and body are the vehicles that your awareness drives. Your mind and body are part of you, but are not you—you are the driver.
To know that you are the driver of your mind and body is to have true free will. It is to drive your thoughts, words and actions as you choose, not as your mind or body demand. It is to rule over yourself, and to not be ruled by your… self.
To identify with your mind or body as who you are, is to be driven by your vehicles—to be on autopilot. To identify with externals like your job or titles is to be driven by life—to be on life’s autopilot.
To know who you are is to have the power of choice—self-control, or rather, control over the self, control over the mind and body.
To know who you are is to know that you are your own creator—the God within.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” ― Psalm 46:10 (KJV)
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ― Carl Jung
“We seldom realize, for example, that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.” ― Alan W. Watts
Lesson 2: Know yourself
To know your-self means to become aware of your current self; the persona or ego you have created so far in your life—your story.
To become aware of your current self you have to describe your-self. You have to find out what your current self wants, doesn’t want, believes; you have to know about its past, its present, its future; know about its body, its stuff, and so on.
To know yourself is a never-ending process and there is always more to learn. But the more you know your-self, the more you can consciously choose the thoughts, words and actions of the person you want to be.
The more you know yourself, the more you can create and re-create yourself at will.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ― Aristotle
Lesson 3: Cultivate a healthy ego
Your ego is the story you have created about yourself and the world.
The ego is not “good” or “bad” or something you can destroy or avoid, it’s just the tool we use to understand and navigate life.
The ego is only an issue when you’re unaware of it; when you identify with your mind (thoughts, beliefs, emotions), your body, and even externals like your job, your car and your money. To identify with the ego is to be driven by it; to let ego decide life for you—to have no true free will.
To cultivate a healthy ego then, you have to realize that you’re not your mind or body, but the awareness that notices and rules over them. To become aware of your ego is to drive your ego; is to tell your ego, or self, what your life is about—to have true free will.
Rather than “fighting” your ego, become aware of it and create the best version of it, by cultivating better thoughts, words and actions.
Your ego is the door to awareness—the door to your awakening. Your friend.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ― Lao Tzu
“What you resist not only persists, but grows in size.” ― Carl Jung
“The first and best victory is to conquer self. To be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and vile.” ― Plato
“Never belong to a crowd; Never belong to a nation; Never belong to a religion; Never belong to a race. Belong to the whole existence. Why limit yourself to small things? When the whole is available.” ― Osho
“The ego is a tool. You don’t separate it. It’s a tool for the spirit.” ― Ram Dass
Lesson 4: Live in the present
There is the past-present, the now-present and the future-present. Everything passes through the present, and it is here and now where you have all the power to create the life that you want.
The past can be useful for lessons, the future for decisions and planning, but it is in the present where you decide what to make of the past and what to create for the future.
To live in the present is to live now; to feel your mind, to feel your body, to feel your environment; to engage in present thoughts, words and actions.
Everything happens in the present and everything comes to an end. What’s important is not how long things last, but how meaningful they are while they do.
“Silence is the language of God, everything else is poor translation.” ― Rūmī
“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.” ― Alan W. Watts
“For there is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one cannot live anywhere.” ― Alan W. Watts
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” ― Henry David Thoreau
Lesson 5: Master yourself
To master yourself means to direct your thoughts, words and actions at will. To do what needs to be done even when your mind or body don’t feel like it.
To master yourself means to take full responsibility for your life: your relationships, your health, your finances, your happiness. To know that the world owes you nothing; to know that no one is coming to save you; and to know that whatever you want has to be deserved.
To master yourself means to discipline your-self; to discipline your mind and body—to be truly free.
“Through discipline comes freedom.” ― Aristotle
“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
Lesson 6: Focus on yourself first
The biggest impact you can have in the lives of others is through your own life. The more you improve yourself, the more you can improve the lives of others; both through your work and through your own example.
People will change when they want to change or when they’re forced to change. Allow people to be, and allow the universe to guide everyone at their own pace.
Whatever your goals are, you will always be most effective by focusing on what you do control—yourself and your direct environment.
And even if the world does go to pieces, allow it, for your power is always within.
“Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things that I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” ― Reinhold Niebuhr
Lesson 7: Love yourself
To love yourself means to be whole; to be happy with yourself.
To love yourself means to be by your side; to never give up on yourself.
To love yourself means to improve yourself; to become the best version of yourself.
To love yourself means to be able to give and receive love.
“The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.” ― Ayn Rand
Lesson 8: Be yourself
To be yourself means to be your purest self. It means to be in alignment with your truest thoughts, words and actions. It means to express the knowing and loving of yourself.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.” ― Henry David Thoreau
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ― Bernard M. Baruch
Lesson 9: Be humble
To be humble means to be teachable. It doesn’t mean to think low of yourself, but rather to know yourself better—to be wiser. To wisely know that beyond yourself you know little and you control little.
Humility is what personal growth is built on. It is to acknowledge that there is always room for growth and that you will never know it all.
People who lack humility see themselves above learning and growing. As a result, they stop improving themselves and they continue making the same mistakes over and over, until life teaches them better.
To be humble is to be able to learn from anyone and anything, at any stage and at any age.
“A true genius admits that he knows nothing.” ― Albert Einstein
“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Lesson 10: Be grateful
To be grateful means to love life. It is to see the good, the bad, and everything as the same Divine Love; a Divine Love that is there to teach us what we need in order to grow.
If you notice, it is usually over time that we realize how good the “bad” was for us—it made us better. If we’re grateful from the start, we can move forward with our lives and we can make the most out of every moment.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ― Melody Beattie
“Brothers, have no fear of men’s sin. Love a man even in his sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all of God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.” ― Fyodor Dostoevsky
Lesson 11: Trust the universe
Trust the unknown.
Trust that everything is happening to make you better, and trust that you’ll be able to overcome whatever life throws at you. Embrace change, embrace chaos, embrace it all. Focus on improving yourself—the only constant.
Listen to the universe.
Is that relationship really the right one? Have you noticed any red flags, or signals sent your way? What’s your intuition telling you? Does something not feel right about this business deal? Why proceed? Trust.
Your faith in a higher power like the universe will allow you to overcome any obstacles, make the right choices, and face life unafraid.
Without faith in a higher power, you’ll have a hard time overcoming obstacles, making the right choices, and seeing the full range of possibilities, as they will all be clouded by your own limited understanding.
“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” ― Francis Bacon
“Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further.” ― Søren Kierkegaard
“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” ― Corrie ten Boom
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” ― Luke 1:37 (KJV)
Lesson 12: Remember that you’re going to die
Life is short and it could end at any moment.
Remembering how short and fragile your life truly is, is one of the best ways to make the most out of every moment, and be truly alive.
In the face of death, only what matters the most survives. All obstacles transform into mere steps and time becomes your most precious asset.
Knowing how short your life is will allow you to make better choices in the present and live a more meaningful life every day.
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” ― Marcus Aurelius
“Let your every deed, word and thought be those of one who might depart from this life this very moment.” ― Marcus Aurelius
Lesson 13: Tell the truth
Honesty will naturally attract what you need and repel what you don’t need. It will filter out the wrong people and the wrong situations by your mere expression of it.
If a person rejects you for telling the truth, it is truth that will be rejecting them out of your life. For had they stuck around, they would have been the exact same person who would have hurt you. Had you lied, you would have gotten exactly what you deserved.
Truth is what’s going to help you avoid the biggest mistakes in your life. And it’s also what’s going to give you the best that life has to offer. For truth is verbal karma; it is to make contracts with the universe.
Tell the truth and keep your word, and the truth will get you what you want out of life.
“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ― Thomas Jefferson
“Speak truth long enough and your word shall become universal law.” ― Hindu saying
Lesson 14: Be kind
To be kind means to give without expectations; to give from the heart.
In contrast, to give with expectations is to take in disguise; it is to sacrifice. And it often leads to resentments and revenge, if the expectations are not met.
When you give, always do it from the heart.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ― Aesop
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ― Mark Twain
Lesson 15: Find your purpose
Purpose means the reason why something exists.
To find your purpose means to find out what you were born to do.
To find out what you were born to do, you have to find out what you love doing that gives you the most meaning. Once you find out what that is, you will have found your purpose.
Once you find your purpose, you will then be able to organize your life around it, develop it, and live a more meaningful life.
For example, I love helping people grow and it’s what gives me the most meaningful experience. Therefore, my purpose in life is to help people grow. So I organize my life to maximize my purpose and live my most meaningful life.
“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give it away.” ― David Viscott