Introduction: Personal Development Strategy
When you find yourself dabbling into self-improvement literature or development platforms like ours; You would be forgiven if you feel overwhelmed by the countless amounts of viewpoints, antidotes, and wisdom that may claim to offer fulfilment and clarity towards finding your path in life or how one should best conduct themselves each day. A confusing state of information overload for anyone who values the importance of critical thinking. I wish to now convince you of an impartial framework for approaching personal development that rectifies the confusing state of self-improvement while offering effective coherence towards forming your own code in life.
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Personal Development Strategy Index:
- The Game of Life: An explanation of the game of life
- Our Proposition: Personal Sovereignty
- Your Journey Begins: The Map of the Battlefield
- Self-Awareness: Know Thyself
- Becoming Capable: What is needed to win?
- Personal Development: What sort of skills should I learn?
- The Benefits of Personal Development: What do I gain?
- Motivation: Your Mental Ammunition
- Fulfilment: Why am I working on Personal Development?
- Designing the Constitution: Building a Personal Code of Ethics
- Your own code: Where do I begin?
- The importance of meaning: Is it necessary?
- Choosing Your Mission: What should I do with my life?
- Metaphysical reasoning: Why does Personal Development matter anyway?
The Game of Life: An explanation of the game of life
Player 1 has arrived. Welcome to the Game of Life – An organic experience with the rules predefined before you arrive. Learn of this unfair world led by arbitrary authorities of power, and learn how to build the adventure you wish to experience. Take nothing for granted. The other players in this game come in many variants, both good and bad. Don’t get mad at the things you cannot control. Instead, if you desire change – Learn how to turn the situation into one that enables you to take control. Those in life who keep their heads down are life tourists – Reacting to stimuli, no different than a moth to a bulb. Pawns on the board – relentlessly manipulated by forces beyond their peripheral each and every day.
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
– Jim Rohn, author and entrepreneur
When one truly takes responsibility for their own life, they become the sole architect for their entire reality. It’s perfectly ok to begin this process with limited resources – accept your starting position, however unfortunate. Now is the time to take full responsibility for your actions henceforth. Your destiny is in your own hands – from this moment onwards, there is nobody else to blame.
Our Proposition: Personal Sovereignty
This is a concept of inner-power – impenetrable to outside forces. Imagine in your mind that you are now a sovereign ruler. The four corners of your rulership extend only around your body and your immediate vicinity. As sovereign, you’re now in complete control over all matters that proceed within the boundaries of your metaphorical kingdom – Your ethical code, your objectives, your beliefs. Furthermore, you must be open to the idea that many of your current values and beliefs could be inaccurate, due to localised bias. Family and personal social circles will typically entrench themselves to a specific way of thinking, often resulting in unyielding pressure for you to play along to coexist in relative peace. Personal Sovereignty demands a new outlook on this world through critical thinking and logical reasoning henceforth. If you hold beliefs that have undergone inadequate scrutiny, you have ultimately ceded power to others with little to no resistance.
Nobody has control over your territory now, except for you and you alone. You are the highest court in this game, and you must respect the enormous responsibility that comes with that. Your actions will affect good people all around you who have their own lives, with priorities that may regularly conflict with your own. We must become masterly in diplomacy and experts in our chosen beliefs. This is a world that thrives on the cooperation of good people, and this fact does not change simply because you’re now sovereign over your own headspace. That is why this is a concept of immense responsibility – Finding the harmonious balance between your personal objectives and the cooperation of others is an essential formula towards happiness and wellbeing.
Finding the harmonious balance between your personal objectives and the cooperation of others is an essential formula towards happiness and wellbeing.
Your Journey Begins: The Map of the Battlefield
Alone, within our castle, we must now create our preliminary map of the battlefield. An unprejudiced assessment of our own environment and the forces operating all around us. This is a diligent and elaborate observation of the situation around you and how it directly affects your own life – State laws, the economic state of affairs, cultural norms, religious influence and human behaviour. Here at Capable Men, we will regularly offer you, the reader, the critical thinking tools to observe this world impartially to build your own moral framework and to formulate purpose. It’s important to emphasise the individual nature of this process. You may be tempted to immediately include the perspectives of your friends and loved ones into this activity, however, this choice could compromise the impartial nature that is required to critically assess your environment without bias. We must begin this momentous journey alone with the vision to bring our loved ones and allies into this picture once we’ve obtained objective clarity.
Must we become scholars in such affairs to improve ourselves? If you’re to rid yourself of any flawed viewpoints you may have, you must first comprehend the details of the world around you from an unbiased vantage point. The consequences of poor, analytical processing of our external world can be costly. Strong critical thinking is essentially the immune system for preventing the digestion of faulty information. Unfortunately, this skillset is frequently overlooked by many who partake in personal development. We aim, to create a careful thinker who isn’t compromised by his own biases as he ponders over a particular problem. Well-reasoned conclusions are the end result of his thinking, resulting in an empathic, logical, healthy lifestyle. How can you imagine your ideal world, without first having an accurate understanding of it objectively to work from? If you disregard this process, you will likely find confusion and many inconstant outcomes along the way.
Self-Awareness: Know Thyself
It’s one thing to grasp what is happening around you, but an entirely different struggle to understand yourself. Do you grasp the origins of your motivations? Or understand your emotions? What about the impact your words have on others in social interactions? Do you know of the psychological biases within us all? The indispensable process of introspection to develop self-awareness is one that is arguably losing its importance in this modern world scattered with distractions around every corner. It will take you years to build the type of self-awareness that will allow you to confidently navigate this world on your own terms with clarity – But we’re here to help you with this crucial aspect of personal development. Many difficult conversations await you, countless hours of meditation, introspection, and hard truths – but striving to understand yourself, is a highly rewarding and authentic process that gifts all successful participants with unrivalled coherence.
“The Socratic principle: The unexamined life is not worth living, because they realise that many unexamined lives together result in an uncritical, unjust, dangerous world.”
Becoming Capable: What is needed to win?
- Having the ability, fitness, or quality necessary to do or achieve a specified thing.
- Able to achieve efficiently whatever one has to do; competent.
Take a moment to comprehend the above definition and make no mistake on what it means to be capable as you continue to read our content. When we’re discussing the process of becoming capable, we’re referring to your ability to accomplish what you set out to do. This process is achieved by collecting valuable skills throughout your life that will enable you to manoeuvre around your environment with vigorous efficiency. The more legitimate skills you have at your disposal results in more things that you can directly change, influence and explore throughout your lifetime. We’ll continuously explore the attributes and skills that are enabling men all around the world to achieve the goals they set out to accomplish so that you can supplement them into your own personal development plan.
Personal Development: What sort of skills should I learn?
The skills required for a man to manoeuvre around his life with capability are typically subject to the environment he finds himself within and the goals he has devised. As we learn more about our world and become proficient in self-awareness, you should find this query easier to deal with.
A good rule of thumb to begin with, is to take part in dynamic activities that produce multiple benefits across different areas in your life:
Capable Men believes there are specific skill sets that have proven vital to the success of great men throughout human history, that our platform chooses to cover in detail:
The art of self-guided, self-disciplined thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker is self-aware of the flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked. Critical thinking demands a commitment to using reason, strong evidence and honest scepticism when forming one’s judgements.
The art of directing and influencing people in such a way that will win their trust, obedience, confidence, respect and loyal cooperation in accomplishing common objectives. This skill set is paramount for anybody who wishes to work with other people to attain their goals.
The Benefits of Personal Development: What do I gain?
Social Currency: Your ability to converse and personally relate to the interests of different people increases with the more abilities you have. Ultimately improving relationships and the understanding of others.
Navigational Opportunities: Navigating this Earth becomes much more efficient with the appropriate skills in your arsenal. Endurance, Strength, Fortitude as outlined above would be the very attributes that would allow you to complete a challenging hike in hostile conditions to name one example.
Solutions: Leadership and critical thinking skills enable you to develop pragmatic solutions to the problems we face throughout life. Relationships will learn that you’re dependable. Professional opportunities will magnetise towards your space, confident in your skillsets and conduct. Finally, with access to formidable thinking skills, you will find it increasingly easy to find opportunities where most don’t expect them to be.
Survival: Your focus on capability makes you proficient towards adversity. Enabling you to be more capable when dealing with threatening challenges towards yourself or loved ones.
- Read: Situational Awareness article
Motivation: Your Mental Ammunition
Many choose to turn a blind eye towards motivational content. What is inherently wrong about watching a video that gets you pumped? For in that moment, a spark of encouragement can be formed from nothing, that triggers a positive behavioural change. And it is this spark, that can change our attitude, our decision to walk with a more elevated posture or provide us with courage during tough times.
Motivation does not always have to be profoundly life changing. Look at our motivational content as mental ammunition that feeds the human mind with curiosity. For a brief moment, one is fed with a reality that differs from their own. For many, this has provided the initial trigger that initiates the beginning of grand adventures. We certainly shouldn’t become dependent on motivation to stay consistent with our goals, as it remains too volatile towards apathy. Rather, we should supplement motivational works into our personal development routine from time to time to expose ourselves to new angles and perspectives that could aid our own strategies.
Fulfilment: Why focus on Personal Development?
Fulfilment is the mental game. The internal dialogue with oneself, that we must all engage with to some level, to find our inner happiness. This is the force that allows one to smile when times are tough, while grasping the greater purpose of your actions throughout your lifetime. One can be utterly capable but lacking personal fulfilment, wandering aimlessly without an objective or purpose – a crippling predicament for the primal spirit of man. Choosing to work on your personal development is a direct attempt at establishing meaningful fulfilment with your future actions.
“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfilment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”
— Viktor. E. Frankl
Designing the Constitution: Building a Personal Code of Ethics
Personal fulfilment demands a strong foundation of morals that justify one’s motives and actions. What is right and wrong? The duty of questioning one’s own morality is one that has been contested with for millennia. It’s unmistakable to all, that human morality has shapeshifted throughout the sands of time; what is deemed moral today may be vastly different than what is considered moral in the future. When you’re born, you arrive at a random location on this earth, that has predetermined values, concepts, and rules that you must abide by in order to conform and coexist within society. It’s a tragedy to allow time to pass without questioning such concepts, without understanding the arbitrary, inconsistent nature of these rules that are often in place to protect entrenched power structures rather than contributing to the wellbeing of humanity. It is here, between the random lines of the nation you now find yourself within – that you must be prepared to walk your own path.
For many, this process is already concluded entirely through religious scripture. For others, it’s through patriotism and the obedience towards the current direction of the state. For the few remaining, one has the enormous task to design their own constitution through personal discovery, aided by rigorous critical thinking and spiritual contemplation. Forming your own code that you have personally developed, in which you uphold through thick and thin, unrelenting, in your desire for fulfilment is a powerful tool towards achieving inner peace.
“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”
— Robert A. Heinlein
Your own code: Where do I begin?
So where does one even begin, when confronted with the formidable task of building their own code? Try Philosophy. I’m a huge advocate towards Philosophic learning, which has helped me tremendously with my own personal development. By embracing philosophy, you’re literally volunteering to ponder over some of the greatest questions that this world has got to offer us. It can be difficult at first, to conceive of these grand, abstract concepts pondered by men who may have been dead for centuries. But through perseverance, those philosophical murky waters will pass and you’ll soon be confronted with those life changing revelations and the acquisition of critical thinking skills along the way. Furthermore, hang out with the type of people who can discuss such intricate topics with whom you can share your philosophic queries. The solitary individual who alters his behaviour through his own internal discoveries may get caught into feedback loops that have undergone insufficient scrutiny. Lastly, seek horizons beyond your comfort zone to find new intellectual zones where you can share your theories and beliefs with the goal to strengthen your convictions.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
The importance of meaning: Is it necessary?
“Those who have a why to live, can bear with almost any how.”
— Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
The above quote derives from Viktor E. Frankl, taken from his short but powerful book; Man’s Search for Meaning. It takes us through the author’s personal experiences in four different German concentration camps in WWII, including the notorious Auschwitz. Meaning and Purpose are the main focal points of this inspirational piece of literature. Viktor presents a powerful argument on the importance of having a purpose, through his own observations during his hellacious incarceration.
He explains that life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, nor a quest for power, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life. What reinforces this perspective is Viktor’s accounts on how meaning was the very thing that kept men alive who were stripped of their names (Prisoners were addressed by numbers) dispossessed of all belongings, deprived of food, exposed to brutal labour and hopelessly broken as a result. The man who can find meaning in their life, even when confronted with merciless evil; by having something still left to accomplish in life, arm themselves with a formidable weapon that has pushed man through some of the greatest struggles throughout history.
Choosing Your Mission: What should I do with my life?
This is an area that many men will find themselves in life at one point or another. They’re strong in health, capable and ambitious, and yet they lack a purpose that guides them through their day-to-day actions. What is my mission? Am I in the right profession? What problems of this world do I wish to solve? Firstly, take heed in that fact that there is no right answer. Secondly, when you’re pondering over such questions, stop comparing where you’re at with where everyone else is at. They have different paths, leave them to it. By figuring out what you want out of the game of life, you can lay out the framework for personal development that vindicates the process of choosing your ideal job, hobbies and goals.
The universe makes this choice for many without their input, simply due to the random, predefined circumstances of their origins. One’s location of birth may consist of extreme poverty, severe corruption or even a war zone. And it is these unfortunate environmental factors that may force a person to prioritise survival over the luxurious opportunity of choosing their own path in life. What a privilege it is to decide how you want to play this game. If you’re fortunate enough to have such a choice, why wouldn’t you take it? Countless men around the world are privileged enough to examine their life in this profound way and yet, they don’t. Their day-to-day choices have never been scrutinised by philosophic thought; Each passing minute has been a result of a reality that was manipulated from external influences at almost every turn. Even the friend who wishes to help them contributes to the problem by thinking on their behalf. These men know nothing of self-ownership. I am almost certain that this is the reality for most. The man who allows time to pass without self-scrutiny will inevitably have his choices made for him by circumstance.
For those of you who insist on wandering – to observe and flow through the chaos of life each day without such introspection – I certainly won’t protest. I actually believe there is a peace to be found in this approach. But be warned, purpose is the gift that sparks some of the most astonishing feats of mankind. It is the thing that keeps men moving forward when our world becomes dark and troublesome. It creates the unthinkable out of nothing and it demands that the wanderers get out of the way.
Metaphysical reasoning: Why does Personal Development matter anyway?
Warning, this is the part of the article that attempts to dive deep into the metaphysical questioning of personal development. Turn away now if easily startled.
“Why does it matter to work on Personal Development? Developing capable skill sets and responding to life’s challenges with such intense ambition? Why is this a better life, than a life of simplicity, taking each day as it comes? We all die eventually right?”
-The nihilist asks
Sheesh, that got dark deeply, ah? But it’s an excellent question. Can one truly justify the above methodology, with a valid reason that transcends even death? I figure, for anyone who figures out their own meta-reasoning – immediately unlocks an unprecedented justification to sanction a life on their own terms, unhindered by the pressure of the hivemind. Please respect, that an explanation that has the ability to transcend even death in its justification is truly a subjective concept for each and every man. This cannot be denied. Finding meaning in your actions, that transcend even your own death, can range from your child’s wellbeing to the creation of an ideological empire that warrants a page or two in the history books. Whatever this meaning may be, it is one that must be ultimately decided by you.
For those of us humble enough to accept our ignorance in our grand role within the cosmos. To validate any particular approach in this matter, can seem rather audacious. Untold numbers of religions have claimed in unrelenting detail to have the true answer to this game. But how many of you reading this can proclaim to know the answer with 100% certainty? If you’re certain that the teachings you follow are unquestionable, then please spare a moment to appreciate that your scripture shares this planet with an innumerable amount of other holy books. Millions of people on this planet are just as confident as you that their scripture is supreme. Their evidence for making such bold claims is just as plentiful and as valid as yours.
“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
— Stephen Roberts
Our species is moving towards a certain direction. We once lived in caves and now we’re plotting our movement around our solar system. Something is happening, and it could be a game that plays out over eternity. Reality is weird, and we just happen to be in it without a choice. Perhaps a million years from now, when our species is a fully fledged Type III civilisation, we’ll understand the purpose to this cosmological scheme. In the meantime, focusing on our personal development and choosing a life of critical thinking, exploration through trial & error, productive learning and the creation of innovative solutions to big problems seems to be doing rather well for humanity’s progress so far.
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”
Standing on the shoulders of giants:
This critical approach to navigating our world has broadened our perspective of the known universe as we attempt to grasp the unlimited possibilities that await our species. Countless men have challenged themselves to be the best they can be throughout the ages, inspiring us all to dream and build the world we wish to see.
Each generation that spawns into this game, stands on the shoulders of giants, reminded again and again that we’re more than just beasts. Our ancestors have conquered the problems of yesterday so that we can focus on the problems of today.
“Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result — eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly — in you.”
— Bill Bryson
Don’t allow the pressures of modern society hinder the greater perspective of things gents. I implore you all to become the most capable versions of yourselves. Thank the universe for this exquisite opportunity that has been bestowed upon you, by exploring its many mysteries, solving its problems and enjoying this game to the fullest extent of your human capabilities!
Nil satis nisi optimum.
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Thank you for your time and I wish you the best of luck on your unique and challenging journey towards becoming Capable.