Personal Development Plan: How to Avoid Being Dead at 30, Buried at 70!

Change and growth are necessary bedfellows in life. However, it’s important to understand the distinction between the two. Read on to discover how to avoid being dead at 30 and buried at 70!

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break your bonds: your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands…and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world”

~ Patanjali, founder of Yoga Sutras, 2nd Century BC

Imagine Describing Life on Earth to an Alien…

Imagine describing life on earth to an alien…. every human being is born with unlimited potential and greatness inside. Not only that but each child is born with unique gifts and talents, with tremendous innate faculties and abilities to both enrich their own lives and the lives of others. However, what we humans do is ignore all that and just teach people how to get jobs that they don’t particularly enjoy so they can earn little bits of colored paper with famous people’s faces on it (most of which they give back to their governments anyway as tax). They usually do this for the rest of their lives, squeezing in real enjoyment and purpose at the weekend only to retire in their late 60s and die a few years later completely unfulfilled and disillusioned!

Dead at 30, Washed Up at 50, Buried at 70!

First you were born, then you went to school, then college, maybe university (maybe not), got your first “proper” job, career path now in full swing in late 20s/early 30s….and then somewhere possibly in your mid-to-late 30s you hit an existential roadblock. You’re thinking “Damn! How did I end up here!!? What happened to all the promise, the teenage dreams, the wild ambition I once had”. Well that’s easy to answer….I’ll tell you what happened. Nothing!! It’s still there but you’ve gradually buried your ‘real’ self alive in an unmarked grave through the years! You’ve traded in who you are and swapped “you” for some pale, ghost-like carbon copy of yourself.

Reinvention: Not Just for Rock Stars and Caterpillars!

Don’t worry, all’s not lost. You can have “you” back! Here’s how: Reinvent yourself! You know, reinvention isn’t just for rock stars and caterpillars! By the way, when I say reinvention, I’m not talking about the mere creation of some phony identity. Reinvention can mean re-discovering who you really are (were); embracing a brand-new “real” you by remaking yourself and living on purpose! The central characteristic here is change. If you don’t adapt and change, you’re likely to become life’s roadkill, leaving other’s whip past you gawking at you bemusedly in their rear view mirror. Life 2.0 is literally just around the corner waiting for you. One simple movement forward (or perhaps even sideways!) and new life will show up.

Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional

It’s important to differentiate between change and growth. Change is inevitable in life but growth is optional. Change is typically a one-off event, reactionary and physical (leaving a job, moving to a new city etc) whilst growth is more an incremental process. As distinct from change, growth happens on the inside and manifests itself on the outside whereas you can externally change without possibly experiencing any real internal growth. Growth happens as you venture into some new emotional territory that has a consequent impact on your behaviour and actions. Change implies replacement of one thing with another but growth to me signifies expansion and development.

So, an important question to ask yourself is: Do I need to change or do I need to grow? For me, a good way to help distinguish between the two is to consider can the situation you’re in improve if you applied some thought and effort. If it can then it’s probably personal growth that’s required rather than an easy out by way of a dramatic change!

How to Recognise When Change is Overdue!

Here’s how to recognise when a change is overdue: If you’re feeling uneasy, stressed or even experiencing emotional pain than there’s a good chance it’s high time for a change! Now the change that’s needed could be you! Looking for external factors to change (your home, your spouse, your car, your job etc.) may not be the answer. Perhaps some time for reflection and personal growth is what’s really required.

When it comes to change people are sometimes scared of making the wrong choice. The one thing I’ve discovered is that the only thing you have to choose is change, it doesn’t really matter initially how the change manifests itself. Whether it means attending a seminar, re-locating, a change of career, re-discovering your passions, leaving a stale relationship etc; they’re all equally good jumping off points. The change itself isn’t the destination; it’s just a starting point that allows you to forge a new growth path in your life, discover more of your true purpose and reveal more of what life has to offer you (and what you have to offer life). Decide to change and change you will! Decide to grow and life will too!

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