Personal Development is hard. In all the articles I write I never try to give the illusion that personal development is going to be easy. In true personal development there are no short cuts; no “getting rich quick” schemes. There are only concrete, time tested principles that, if applied with discipline, over time will lead to personal development. In my posts, I try to outline what these principles are and give useful advice and supplementary material to help you effectively apply these principles in your own life. But I know from experience it’s hard. Most people will give up; most people will think they do not have what it takes. I am here to tell you, you do have what it takes to succeed! You can make your dreams a reality! However, as we all know, motivation only goes so far and that is why we need something more. We need why-power.
I already briefly talked about why-power here, but for those who haven’t read it, why-power is the reason behind your personal development. It is the reason why you want to improve. There are three steps to harnessing your why power: determining your core values, finding your fight, and planning your goals appropriately.
Step 1: Core Values
This is the fundamental first step: figuring out what you want to be. What are your core values? Do you want to be honest, well read, kind, caring? The first step is figuring out what is valuable to you and then becoming more like that person.
One of the biggest causes of depression is cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the difference between what a person fundamentally values and how they act. If you act opposition to your values, it causes cognitive dissonance.
In order to act in accordance with your values, you have to spend the time to figure out what values you have and match your actions with your values. This allows you to reduce cognitive dissonance, makes you happier, and gives the added benefit of making life simpler. If you know clearly what your values are, decision-making becomes easier, because you just have to match your decisions with your values.
Analyze yourself and learn your core values, and you’ll begin to understand what drives you and why you want what you want.
Step 2: Finding your Fight
Once you know your core values, you have to identify what you are fighting for. Personal development is one of the toughest fights you will fight, so you have to know why you are fighting. The reason for your fight can be anything and it doesn’t necessary have to be what other people would consider noble. You do not need a noble reason to want something. You have to be honest with yourself and disregard what society considers a good reason and find the true reason you want something. As long as your motive is legal and moral then use it. If you want to be a scientist because all your teachers said you would never be anything, and you want to prove them wrong, then use that reason. If you want to be a doctor because the pay is good and you want to be rich, use that reason. The key here is that you find the true reason why you want to accomplish your dream. Behind the true reason is a lot of emotion and it is that burning passion that will keep you going when the going gets tough. As Friedrich Nietzsche, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” Know your reason why and embrace it.
Step 3: Plan Accordingly
Once you know your core belief and your reason why you want to achieve your dream, it’s time to plan you course. This step can only begin once the last two steps have been established. With your why in mind, you now have to plan out your how. If you plan out your goals without knowing your core values — exactly what you want and why you want it — you will be chasing aimless goals. And if you are chasing aimless goals, you don’t really care if you will never achieve them and will just be wasting your time. As Zig Ziglar said, “Don’t become a wandering generality. Be a meaningful specific.” It’s time to become a meaningful specific.
Those are the three steps to truly harness your why-power. If you liked this article and want to learn more, check out The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. He goes in-depth into why-power and a lot of other great personal development fundamentals. This book really helped me improve, so I highly recommend it.
Have any questions or comments. Meet me in the comment section to discuss further!