What is the importance of personal development? Why would we quit bettering ourselves once we are retired? I never understood this reluctance to “be bothered” by some of my fellow retirees. In my view, we all have a responsibility to leave this world a better place than it was before.
Sustainability, zero-waste, caring for the earth are good ways to improve the world on the one hand. On the other hand, improving ourselves is just as important.
We can do this by reading books, watching YouTube videos, or attending seminars. When Tom and I still lived in the Netherlands, I did the latter a lot.
Table of contents
- 1 Does our upbringing still have an impact?
- 2 Our beliefs are not carved in stone
- 3 The positive effects of daydreaming
- 4 Out of my comfort zone
- 5 Fast forward to a couple of years later
- 6 Getting emotional shows passion
- 7 A part is nowadays reality
- 8 What is the importance of personal development?
Does our upbringing still have an impact?
“I never have luck, so this won’t work either”. That was the reason my parents rarely participated in a lottery or any other event that was considered to be just for the lucky few.
They engrained this belief into me, by expressing the remark time and again. And for years I firmly believed that I never had luck either.
My parents’ solution was working very hard. As a result, they were truly satisfied with what they had accomplished. But it also made them very indignant, even angry, when life didn’t take the direction they wanted.
That’s a common response if we think things are out of our hands and life owes us.
Our beliefs are not carved in stone
I was lucky enough that a friend sent me to a personal development seminar years ago. What was said that day appealed to me so much that I completely changed my mindset. I skipped saying “I am never lucky” following the example of my parents to “I am responsible for my own well-being”.
The tips I learned that day and in the following years had a huge impact on my life. So much so that I wanted to share it. It is the main reason why Tom and I started AGE with CARE and our other websites.
The positive effects of daydreaming
The conference room was packed with 800 people! I was not sure if I would be comfortable enough in a room so full of people. Would I feel safe enough to dig into myself?
At the end of the day, the answer turned out to be ‘yes’. The process, the support team, the other people (who by the way were just as insecure as I had been), all contributed to a great experience.
I went home with a plan, even though a big part of the day had been daydreaming about another life. 🙂
Out of my comfort zone
As an entrepreneur, I was used to setting goals. Usually at the start of a new year. But I am raised the Dutch way: ‘Be modest, do not brag, do not imagine that you are better than anybody else’.
To go out of my way by imagining possibilities I never dared take into consideration before was a huge step. It made me scared and it made me uncomfortable at first.
And eventually made me grow and did wonders for my self-confidence.
Fast forward to a couple of years later
When our house was sold and we were minimizing our belongings I cleared away the physical stuff. The digital stuff had to wait for later. That didn’t take up much space in the storage anyway.
Last year I finally found the time to tidy my computer’s hard disk. And this is what I found! A file I made after the seminar.
- I build a house in Spain so that I live closer to my son.
- That house is completely self-sufficient, with solar or wind energy, and all kinds of smart systems for water and waste processing in it.
- I give shape to my passion for sustainability.
- There is a good internet connection to maintain contact with the Netherlands, with our friends.
- In addition to a studio space in the garden, there is also a guest house so that people can come and visit us and stay with us.
Getting emotional shows passion
Tears were in my eyes when I found that file. Not that I had forgotten those dreams – for the past 7 years I had worked hard to make them come true. But I did forget some of the details. And I certainly forgot I wrote it down in a file.
A part is nowadays reality
Not everything is exactly the way I dreamed it. We bought a 15-year old house, which is not self-sufficient yet. That’s a work in progress. It is in Spain however and it does have a good internet connection.
Friends come and visit us. We don’t have guest space and they can’t stay, but for most of them, that’s not a problem.
We work on being sustainable and self-supporting. There are solar panels on the roof and our kitchen garden is taking shape and delivers some produce.
What is the importance of personal development?
We can all contribute in a different way. Depending on our interests, expertise, and qualities all of us can find meaning in this. There can be a risk in change though.
What I learned that day in the seminar and in the following years had a huge impact on my life. And in the slipstream on Tom’s life. That is a risk when you are changing your mindset while being in a relationship.
This can head in two directions: either your partner is interested in your change and thus follows along. Or you grow apart and will follow your ways in separate directions.
Tom and I think all the changes were worth it. And we still change at times. For us, it keeps life interesting. 🙂
Will you share your biggest change with us? Tell it in the comment box below.