Many of my blog articles are about topics that might fall under “personal development.” These articles are often my favorites to write, and yet there’s sometimes a voice in my head saying, “Brenda, your readers want to read about something practical! Don’t go overboard here or get too “woo-woo.”

An article I read today gave me encouragement to keep writing these “self-growth” or “personal development” articles. August Turak, author of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks, wrote a piece for Forbes that spoke to me strongly. In it, he lamented that the business world and much of society compartmentalizes personal growth as if it’s something we do on the side to get somewhere or get business results—including becoming a better leader.

On the contrary! Turuk argues vehemently that the essence of leadership is to use every opportunity as a means for personal growth. Become a CEO to grow yourself rather than growing yourself so you can get that CEO position. Focus on your higher mission or spiritual development—and success in other aspects of life will be a natural by-product. He asserts, “The reason you were born is to become the best human being you can possibly be.” So make personal development your mission, rather than using it as a “means to a more limited end.”

Turak holds up the example of Fyodor Dostoevsky, who wrote some of the world’s most classic Russian novels. Said Dostoevsky, “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.”

I personally must cop to doing personal growth trainings in part so I will succeed in business, in relationships, in my health, and in every aspect of my life. I have also done what Turak advocates so strongly: taken on new ventures and new relationships with the intention of having those challenges contribute to my growth. Even within my personal development circles, such as my learning group with the Wright training I’m in right now, I take risks and stretch myself in every way I can. That is the fastest path to growth and to being a fully realized human being.

This journey is never over, and the puzzle will never be solved. That’s what makes it so worthwhile, regardless of whether I become as successful in business as the Trappist monks. I, for one, intend to keep exploring the mystery.

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