I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. I’m sure you are not as well. In fact, try to think back to 10 years ago. Think to a time when things weren’t so easy for you. Maybe a time when talking to those older than you was bit hard. Or trying to score a date was nerve-racking. Or how hard that first job interview was.

Think deeply about this for a moment.

Now, if you were able to re-live those days with all the knowledge and experience you have gained so far… do you think you would still get a hard time with whatever you thought was challenging at the time?

My guess is that you would not.

The reason? Obvious… you grew. Not just older, but wiser, more knowledgeable, more skilled and probably even more confident.

Again, think back to your first job interview. Think back to your internship days. Think back to your college days. Think back to your first relationship. Are you truly the same person you were back then?

Do you expect to be the same person you are now in the next 10 years?

I hope not.

But even though we know that time changes how we think and act as we continue to live, it is our willingness to change that determines the speed and quality of the development we experience.

Plus we also have the capability to focus a large portion of our efforts and time to whatever it is we would like to develop most or quickest.

Personal development.

What do you do? Are you writer? Blogger perhaps? Accountant? Software developer? Artist? Body builder? Cook? Sales person? Teacher? Marketer? Company C.E.O.? DJ? Music producer?

Now, are you the best at what you do? Are you better than other people in your field? Or are other people better than you? Are you the worst in your field?

But let me ask you this… Between you now and the person you were 10 years ago, who is better than who in your field?

If you are better today at what you do today than were 10 years ago at what you do today… well, I guess all is normal.

Yes. Very normal.

But for you to have arrived at where you are now, change had to happen all those years. A type of change that allowed you to get better at doing what you do now. This is the essence personal development.

Now, personal development is somewhat complex. We can sometimes develop just one area of our lives in a very clear to understand process. However, we usually develop different areas of our lives at once… to get an overall development experience in a particular direction.

That may not have made sense, so I will try to illustrate with an example.

If one desires to lose weight and have a physically appealing body… one will have to do more than just lift weights and run 30 km each morning.

Instead, one would have to change habits that prevent this from happening. Cutting down on unhealthy foods is something they would need to consider. Eliminating strong drinking habits, drugs and smoking are also measures one might have to consider.

So by improving your diet (one area) and exercising (another area), you align yourself more strategically towards the goal of losing weight and looking great.

Now how about we explain how you have become better than you were 10 years ago at doing what you do now.

Well, as a music producer, I can tell you that it is because I have had a lot of practice over the years. But, I have also had someone to look up to and compete with at the same time who happens to be my business partner. Plus, I keep up with tech developments in the music space. Not only that, I’m always on YouTube and Google trying to find music production tutorials and strategies

Did I mention that I also listen to a lot of music?

Clearly, I would be able to teach my 10-years-ago self a lot about making electronic music.

People hired as software developers don’t all start work on day 1 with knowledge of how to develop top-of-the-line software solutions. Some learn on the job. Usually they try get close to the guy that knows how to develop better than them and has more experience. Plus of course they get experience of their own by learning, making huge mistakes and winning big sometimes.

Just being in the company of other software developers, working with them on tasks and assignments given to you by customers, holding discussions with them, even taking breaks with them… daily for 10 years… will make you some kind of software developer. Or at least a person who understands what the field is all about.

Whether or not you will be better than those around you will be completely determined by your efforts and commitment to grow. However, you will still know more about software development than your 10-years-ago self.

Journalists don’t always start work possessing the exact skills needed to write the best articles. The same with writers, cooks, builders, mechanics, engineers, artists, teachers, marketers… everyone.

So why is all this important you ask?

Well, it seems pretty clear to me that there is a connection between being good at something… and aligning your mind and habits to it. Living it.

Do you agree?

Well let me ask you this, have you been in a conversation between professional photographers? Has LENSES been a topic of discussion? Have you seen how they get lost in jokes and serious talks about…. LENSES?

What about bankers on banking? Or event coordinators on events?

You know more about the field you are in than I do. Unless of course we are in the same field.

But why is that?

The years, of course.

The years of showing up regularly and exposing yourself to everything about the field. The discussions, the work itself, the industry developments… the scandals… the people… everything.

Exposure and alignment. Just showing up in the same field and allowing your mind to focus on it… and your actions to participate in it… has given you something your 10-year-old self could not even imagine.

Again, the degree of your success in it has been a result of your efforts and determination to grow. Whether it’s your willingness to learn and do more… or how you have built strategic associations… or other factors that you usually have control over.

So…

This leads me to conclude that one can truly get that which he or she wants over time… if he or she aligns to it in both mind and habit / action.

I don’t know about you, but I used to find it puzzling why French classes were completely taught in French to those who can’t even understand it yet?

There you go. That is one effective strategy to succeeding in almost anything you would like to master… total immersion.

Before you dismiss the idea, dream or desire you may have to pursue something you have always been passionate about because you think you aren’t the right person for it…

Or before you decide to give up on a pursuit after only having failed to attain your goals a couple of times…

First consider the number of years and effort you have invested in the dream, idea and pursuit with a fully aligned mind and set of habits.

Then compare this to those that have gone before you to succeed in this field. What did they do that made them press on? What are you doing that makes you want to quit? What did they do when they needed to relax? What do you do when you need to relax? Who did they surround themselves with? Who do you surround yourself with? Were their lives completely aligned with their desires? Is your life completely aligned with that you seek most?

These kinds of questions are important. They help you get to know yourself as far as your dreams are concerned. More specifically, your willingness to transform yourself into the kind of person that realizes their dream. Because only when you know and understand yourself, can you begin to understand what you need to do to align yourself to that which you desire.

I hope this idea makes sense to you. If you begin to explore it, I have a strong feeling you will end up realizing what I came to realize about us.

We are what we repeatedly do. So… what do you do?