It has been a very exciting week. Thanks for the many comments on last week’s post. Clearly many people were inspired or at least provoked into thinking what their passion is. I have also managed to meet and also hear some pretty passionate people. Passionate about what they do. I am finding myself joining a new virtual community of friends. I may never meet a lot of you, but there is no denying that through this blog, God will do mighty things in our lives. I was chatting with a Pastor this week and we were basically seeing how technology, the web and modernity have changed the scope of the church and widened it beyond just our geographical location. The whole model for church, fellowship, communion etc. is changing. We really are living in interesting times.
A lot of you attempted to guess what my third passion was after the first two. I had varied guesses from writing, serving God, from the comments and many others from Facebook and Twitter. Well, though you had good guesses, let me finally reveal it. My third passion is… teren teren…
Personal development but with a twist
So, there you have it. Personal development. But let me explain the twist. Remind me one day to post about the several ‘silly phases’ I have gone through in my life. They are many. We all may have such phases in our life when we feel we have been sidetracked from our mainstream life path, gone off on a tangent, only to realize this is not the path you would have wanted to take had you thought about it a bit more before. It is very important to me right now that at least one of you confirms that I am not alone in this. When in hindsight you think
“Hmmm… if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have gone this way. In fact, I will go back to where I was before and get back on track with my life”.
For me one of those silly phases was in 2006 and 2007 when I ventured into network marketing. Like I said, I will one day do a full post about that ‘silly phase’ among many others so this is not the main topic for today. But I mention this particular one because out of it, I learnt a lot about myself and my passion and interests. That is one thing I must say all those ‘silly phases’ seem to have in common. You come out of them wiser, having learnt many lessons, many of them the hard way, but still, having learnt.
A lot of network marketing companies have a very firm focus on personal development. Many of them paint a rosy picture of your association with them and it is not surprising to find network marketers who believe that this venture is the only way you can make your wildest dreams come true. What I will never regret is the time that I took to learn stuff about what I value and the realization that the achievement of a lot of that is largely within my control and it is my responsibility. In the numerous workshops and seminars I attended during this phase, I was always jazzed by the overwhelming positivity surrounding them. People were upbeat, psyched, and almost on a perpetual high on personal development materials. I admit, I partook of the stuff!
But what is the twist?
I came out of network marketing a very different person. I was more confident in myself. My perception of what I was capable of doing had changed greatly. I had read so many personal development books. Many quotes will linger in my mind for a very long time. I learnt about some of the greatest motivational speakers around. From Anthony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy and many others. The arrival of the movie ‘The Secret’ and the whole ‘Law of Attraction’ concept only compounded issues for me. I still do read a lot of such books but I must say that I look at all this slightly differently from most people. I depart from this type of personal development, which I must say seems to have a very huge ‘market share’ online, in at least three ways. These three for me constitute the twist.
Many personal development gurus suggest that the answer is within us. Look inside yourself and you will find what you are looking for, the answer to your problems. I can look at myself, look at my strengths and my weaknesses. But the solution is hardly within myself. I cannot be both the problem and the solution. I am unapologetically Christian. I believe in God and I am a born again Christian. Propelled by the desire to be a better person, I seek to develop myself. I have to admit that I have looked within myself and failed to get answers so now I look to God. Last year, I was bereaved and discovered how unhelpful it can be when you tell a bereaved person ‘be strong’. I have said it to people before and I’m sure that those who say it mean well but the more people said that to me, I felt like I was disappointing them and that it was my fault when I felt weak. In the same way, when I am looking for answers to life questions that have to do with developing myself, asking me to look within for solutions can be taken to mean I am to blame for not having answers to my questions. Therefore, the answer can be anywhere but inside me.
2. Nothing is impossible. Really?
I believe personal development is basically development on an already created person. Our attempt at developing a person would be futile if we failed to work alongside the Creator of that person. In Matthew 19, After asking a young rich man to sell off his possessions and give to the poor, Jesus further explained that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. Then the disciples wondered who then could possibly be saved and Jesus answered “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” That way He qualified the above statement. Back in Genesis 11, at the Tower of Babel, God said “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” And He confused their language so they would not understand one another. Since then, it has been impossible to attain absolute oneness in human beings thus making “nothing is impossible” remain untrue. It therefore means that the only way that “nothing is impossible” is incomplete unless you add “with God” into the mix. So I say “nothing is impossible with God”.
3. Success = Money. Really?
Mainstream personal development tends to have undue focus on financial prosperity. Is money everything? I don’t think so. Personal development needs to be wholistic and cover all aspects of life. We need to look at our spiritual lives, our intellectual development, our relationships, our career and work, our physical development (our body) not just finances.
So with that 3-pronged twist, my third passion is personal development.
So again I ask what is your passion? What drives you? Does it have a twist?