360° Coverage : What Every Leader Must Know About Personal Development

2 Updates
What Every Leader Must Know About Personal Development

What Every Leader Must Know About Personal Development

Jan 10 2014, 1:45pm CST | by

Man is a mystery. If you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out do not say that you’ve wasted your time. I occupy myself with this mystery because I want to be a man. - Fyodor Dostoevsky...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

40 weeks ago

What Every Leader Must Know About Personal Development

Jan 10 2014, 1:45pm CST | by

Man is a mystery. If you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out do not say that you’ve wasted your time. I occupy myself with this mystery because I want to be a man. - Fyodor Dostoevsky

Columbia Business School recently published my book Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity. This has led to a number of interviews that I’ve generally enjoyed very much. However there is one recurring question I find difficult to answer: “What do you do for personal development?”

The reason I find this question so difficult is that it assumes that personal development is something we do in order to get “success.” And by success we usually mean having a successful career. It rarely occurs to anyone in our culture that someone (a Trappist monk for example) might become an artist, entrepreneur, leader, or politician as a means to personal development and not the other way around.

As a result “personal development” is compartmentalized; it becomes something we do off the clock and in our spare time in order to “get ahead” in the “real world.” Slowly and unwittingly we become like the real estate agent who religiously accompanies his family to church only because being perceived as a family oriented, God fearing man is “good for business.”

This entire world view tragically puts the proverbial cart before the horse. Whether you call it personal development, personal growth, self-actualization, self-transcendence, or spirituality does not matter. What matters is realizing that the reason you were born is to become the best human being you can possibly be. Personal development is not a tool for reaching a bigger goal. Becoming a complete human being is already the biggest and most noble goal you can aspire to.

Ironically, my entire book is an argument for making personal development the central mission of our lives rather than merely the means to a more limited end—a fact that makes answering a question from a bright, well- intentioned interviewer who apparently missed this argument even more difficult to answer.

Trappist monks have been among the world’s most successful businessmen for over 1000 years precisely because they dedicate their entire lives to personal development. Being on time for work, for example, is not just part of a monk’s “job description.” It is a way to build self-discipline; a way to show the same compassion to customers and fellow monks that he prays God will show to him. In other words being on time is not a result of a monk’s personal development it is a form of personal development.

The secret to the amazing business success of Trappist monks is not that they have managed to establish the mythical “healthy balance” between their personal and professional lives. The secret is that their personal, organizational, and business lives are all subsets of their one, high, overarching mission- becoming the best human beings they can possibly be. Business success for the monks is merely the by-product and trailing indicator of living for a higher purpose. Trappist business success is living proof that when we seek first the kingdom of personal development everything else will take care of itself. And this is true of our personal lives as well.

So back to the question: What do I do for personal development? On one hand I don’t do anything for personal development. Like the monks I simply live my life. Yet on the other hand I’ve built my whole life around personal development, and it remains to this day the only thing I truly care about. It is just that pursuing personal development has become so habitual that I never think about it. In this sense everything I do is filtered through the screen of personal development.

Throughout my career, for example, I sought out companies, bosses, challenges, and mentors that would help me grow. I did so even if it meant baffling friends and family as I repeatedly seemed to trade the lucrative “safe bet” and “sure thing” for an opportunity to learn and grow. Similarly, I’ve spent many years cultivating people like the monks of Mepkin Abbey who continually inspire and challenge me to become a better human being. When in 1993 I decided to become an entrepreneur I did so because I felt that the pressures of entrepreneurship would provide a perfect incubator for personal development; a way to put myself and my principles to the ultimate test. When seven years later my partners and I sold the company we started on a shoe string in a shoe box of an office, it was not the money or prestige that mattered most but what we had learned and who we had become.

*  *  *

“Man is a mystery….” I have moved many times over the years, but Dostoevsky’s quote has graced the door of every refrigerator I have ever owned or rented since college. Dostoevsky penned those lines in a letter to his brother when he was just 17, and every time I read it I marvel that it was written by a boy so young. But what I love most is that this boy, destined to become one of mankind’s greatest writers, never mentions a job, a career, a profession, or material gain. A few years later he would achieve overnight success with his first novel Poor Folk, but he doesn’t even mention any aspiration to become a writer. Instead all he wants from life in exchange for a lifetime of labor is “to be a man.” Like a good Trappist monk, Dostoevsky didn’t see personal development as a way to become a great writer, but writing as a way to pursue personal development. And if we want authentic rather than ersatz success in life we must do the same.

For more great leadership strategies read my bookBusiness Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity (Columbia Business School Publishing; July 2013). Follow me on Twitter @augustturak, Facebook http://facebook.com/aturak, or check out my website http://www.augustturak.com/

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17" hits home ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Clashes between locals, Ebola team in Sierra Leone, curfew imposed
Freetown, Oct 22 (IANS) A mid-day curfew was imposed in the city of Kono in eastern Sierra Leone after two people were killed in a conflict between local residents and an Ebola team which tried to take a suspected patient for testing, media reported.
 
 
Indians in Gambia contribute to fight against Ebola (Lead, superseding earlier story)
Dakar (Senegal), Oct 22 (IANS) The Indian community in the West African nation of Gambia, has provided 865,000 dalasis ($20,567) to that country's government to boost preparatory strategy against the Ebola virus disease, a gesture that has been highly appreciated.
 
 
Nepal ministries monitor 'third worst airport'
Kathmandu, Oct 22 (IANS) Five Nepalese ministries Wednesday decided to monitor the country's only international airport after it was ranked as the world's third worst airport by a famous travel website, saying the airport resembled a "bus station in an impoverished neighbourhood".
 
 
Indians in Gambia contribute to Ebola fight
Dakar (Senegal), Oct 22 (IANS) The Indian community in neighbouring Gambia, one of the three countries in West
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

European Champions League standings
Paris, Oct 22 (IANS) Following are the European Champions League standings for Groups E to H after Tuesday's matches (tabulated under matches played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, against, points), according to Xinhua...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Rogerio set to break Giggs world record
Rio de Janeiro, Oct 22 (IANS) Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni is one victory away from earning his fourth Guinness World Record by eclipsing a mark held by Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs. The 41-year-old will...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Ryan Reynolds can't keep his hands off Blake Lively
Ryan Reynolds was ''really sweet'' to Blake Lively at the Angel City Ball. The couple, who got married in September 2012, made their first red carpet appearance together in New York City on Monday night (10.20.14) since...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kris Jenner doesn't know who Bruce Jenner is dating
Kris Jenner has ''no idea'' whether Bruce Jenner is dating her best friend. The 58-year-old reality TV star, who split from the Olympic gold medallist last October after 23 years of marriage, claims she doesn't know if...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
When Rihanna dressed like 'Harry Potter'
New York, Oct 22 (IANS) Singer Rihanna was spotted here in a Harry Potter style costume. She wore the wizard-like get-up while heading for a business meal here Monday, reports mirror.co.uk. The 26-year-old combined a...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Germany raises humanitarian aid to Iraq
Berlin, Oct 22 (IANS) Germany has pledged a further 20 million euros (about 25.5 million dollars) in humanitarian aid to Iraq, the foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday. The additional funds are immediately...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
India calls on Israel, Palestine to resume peace process
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) India has called upon Israelis and Palestinians to resume the peace process as "dialogue remains the only viable option" to address the issues confronting the region. In a brief statement...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Airstrikes help ground forces fight IS: Pentagon
Washington, Oct 22 (IANS) Kurdish forces are in control of the majority of the Syrian city of Kobane despite efforts by the Islamic State (IS) to take the town, a spokesperson for US defence department said Tuesday....
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Palestine, Israel urged at UN to halt unilateral initiatives
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Tuesday called on Palestine and Israel to overcome differences and halt unilateral initiatives that fuel mistrust, so as to pursue long-term stability in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
China urges Israel to create conditions for peace
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) Chinese government has called on Israel to create necessary conditions for the resumption of peace talks with Palestine. At an open debate of the Security Council on the situation of the...
Read more on Politics Balla