On Wednesday Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project postedNine Paradoxes to Contemplate as You Consider Your Happiness Project. I have been considering them and each one has some interesting implications or is quite foundational to the process of personnel growth. This will be the first in a serves where I explore each of the 9 paradoxes in detail so without further delay let's get started.
Accept myself, but expect more of myself.
When we put our feet open the path of person growth and development we cannot just dive in and start changing things. Doing this would be akin to buying a home to fix up and the next day walking in with a sledgehammer and smashing out walls without any concern for whether they are load bearing or not. If we do not first survey the territory of our lives and begin to understand what works and what does not then all the change is nothing more than random tinkering. We may get lucky and something might work but we still will not know why it worked.
Once we have an honest understanding of why we do what we do, knowledge of our victories and defeats we have to accept these as being true. Even if we know something but routinely deny its validity because we find the truth embarrassing or perhaps to insightful, we wind up pushing on a door that says to pull. Once we do except the truth we have a road map that will show us what we must work on, what strengths we must maintain as well as what weaknesses we need to work on.
This brings us to the second half of the paradox. Once we have accepted who we are and what we need to work on we can focus our growth, expecting more were we know it can be found. When we expect more of our selves we and deliver on that promise we build confidence and momentum. But more importantly when we expect more from ourselves we hold each of our actions to a higher standard and this does not affect only us. When we live up to this higher we become an example to others and a silent encouragement to change.