I woke up early today and told myself I had to do all the stuff on my to do list that I don’t want to do. One of the things was a written interview about personal development.
You can always learn something about yourself from what you put off doing. I thought I put off the interview because I hate written interviews. If I am writing I want to be writing a blog post. But then, while I was answering the questions, I realized that I was putting it off because the questions kept assuming that I’m a personal development expert.
First of all, I have a feeling that I’m an expert at bitching about personal development books. I hate the people who tell me to develop more self-discipline to improve my happiness. I want them to try to avoid chocolate after they trick-or-treat with their kids. And I hate the people who tell me to divide my time in sprints and rests and do the hardest thing first. The hardest thing is for me is to put my own needs behind those of my kids. It’s not intiutive to me. I have to remind myself each day: Pay attention to the kids’ story about the Pokemon who got away. Active listening is good parenting. Writing an email to investors while your kid talks to you is not good parenting.
But then I realized that for me, right now, personal development is good parenting. I just spent twenty years focusing on personal development in terms of work. I am a time management ninja and I am a strong enough manager that everyone I asked to join my company said yes. My personal development frontier now is in the parenting realm.
One of the questions in the interview that I put off for four days was “What are the biggest barriers to personal development?” I think it’s not wanting to do something that’s uncomfortable.
I’m obsessed with my garden probably as a key tool in my quest for perfect procrastination away from work stuff, but that’s a another story. And it’s hard to plant new stuff in the fall that actually shows up in the fall. So I added hopscotch. In the middle of the path. The best part of the garden is watching my kids play in it. So I dragged them to my newest section of the garden and taught them hopscotch.
It was awkward for them. Especially my older son, who has big feet for the squares and problems with large motor coordination. But he gave it a try, and was undaunted when he fell a few times picking up his rock. And we worked at it for the afternoon, long enough so that my kids could make it a competition and say offensive and rude things to each other about their hopscotch style.
I took pictures. And when I saw this one I realized that the reason kids learn so fast is that they are willing to look weird while they try new stuff that they’re not good at. Adults are too scared of that.
It’s why adults don’t homeschool. But it’s also why adults get stuck in a personal development rut. I don’t need to focus on personal development at work. Knowing what you do not need to focus on forces you to find something new. You are not growing if your arms are not waving in the air like you’re losing your balance.