Personal Development and Success (the Natural Process)

Updated: Apr 1

(Parts of this article are excerpted from my book Achieve)

Whatever your philosophy of life, there are important ways in which we are all alike. Perhaps, the epitome of our similarity may be found in IDEAL, an acronym for five characteristics common among people. Together, these characteristics create the natural process by which we develop ourselves throughout life. IDEAL also serves sufficiently as a framework by which to plan for the success of important goals – personal and professional.

Until now, you’ve not been aware of IDEAL as a process, although you’ll recognize how each aspect logically, and naturally, connects in succession. Whatever purpose and meaning you imagine for life, your pursuit of security, well-being, peace, relationships, success, etc. has involved IDEAL.

IDEAL: The Process for Life

It is by way of IDEAL that we become socialized, educated, professionals, develop friendships, survive, thrive, change our lives, overcome, discover a meaning for life, achieve or sustain a quality of life, and much more.

We may or may not want to develop ourselves, or meet our potential, but, however we live, what we know for certain is this:

We intend

We are not mindless; we act with intention. Every day, each of us expresses intention—to create, build, avoid, achieve, etc.

We direct

We are not aimless; we direct our lives. We make decisions about how, when, and where. We choose the course by which to pursue that which we intend. In order to achieve or become, we must take charge of our lives and make decisions about how we’ll attempt success.

It’s important to note: we make choices for—or, “direct”—our lives regardless of whether or not we formally pursue goals.

We engage

Whatever we’ve achieved and hope to achieve, what we intend is not itself sufficient to yield outcomes, achieve results, or effect differences in our lives; we must consciously act in order to realize what we intend. We engage these pursuits along courses that we direct.

We assess

Our choice to direct our lives along certain courses begins with our assessments and decisions about situations, others, and ourselves. Throughout our lives, whether formally or casually, it is by way of our assessments of who one person is to another, about how conditions impact outcomes, of certain scenarios, a sequence of events, and countless other relationships among various things, that we take confidence in our decisions to act.

We learn

Throughout life, we learn. We don't always choose what to learn, but we choose how to use what we know. Learning and application of learning however, are disparate, not one and the same, and cannot, of themselves, guarantee the success of your goal or personal development. You could learn something of potential value but fail to properly apply what you've learned. Conversely, you could properly apply something learned that has no potential to yield any benefit. Nonetheless, we, through various experiences of life, proactively or reactively, for better or worse, learn.

In Summary

The value of IDEAL does not reside in any one characteristic, but, rather, in the order and interconnectedness of each characteristic that comprises the process. IDEAL serves an important purpose in our lives: it is the means by which we become who we become and reach our potential. When challenges arise in our efforts to succeed in an endeavor, their solutions will be based in one or more areas of IDEAL.

IDEAL is dynamic. As a process or plan to be productive and reach a goal, your application of IDEAL may be as simple or complex as you choose, and should improve with use. IDEAL is cyclical. Once you’ve reached the Learn step, draw from your discoveries from the Engage and Assess steps to determine how you’ll improve your IDEAL plan (i.e, how you’ll improve what you intend, how you direct, engage, and assess). This cycle will allow you to become more productive and build on your achievements.

We can embrace and apply IDEAL consciously in our lives, or we can ignore IDEAL. Either way, IDEAL is the process by which we, throughout life, and to whatever extent we choose or are able, progress, improve ourselves, and succeed in our endeavors. Apply IDEAL to your pursuits and self-development, because IDEAL applies to you.

More information about IDEAL is available at my website: While there, download my free ebook – GOALS: The Course to Success.

All the best for continued success.

Copyright © 2020 Steven Robert Young. All rights reserved



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