We have heard so many clichés about knowing ourselves first before we can make our own way in this world. We might even have grown jaded hearing these words of wisdom passed down through the ages. Still, all these clichés hold more than a grain of truth for, indeed, personal growth comes from within us.
It will not come when we wait for others to take the lead. It will not come when we wait for the right time to come. It will not come when we do not want it to happen. Indeed, when you want personal growth, you must look into yourself and assess where you were in the past, where you are now in the present and where you intend to be in the future.
Often, you will be tempted to gloss over your weaknesses and crow over your strengths in an attempt to place yourself in a better light. Conversely, you will give in to the urge to overplay your liabilities and underplay your assets because you feel inferior than most people do. In either way, you are not being honest to yourself and, hence, you are fooling no one but yourself. And how foolhardy is that in self-assessment?
When you perform a self-assessment for your personal growth, you must be very honest, even brutal, about your strengths and weaknesses. You have to be able to face the man in the mirror and say: “Yes, that is me, no doubt about it”. Then, find a comfortable place to write in with pen and paper in hand. Relax by taking deep abdominal breaths, clearing your mind of its troubles, and contemplating the task at hand. When you feel that you are ready, you can now start the self-assessment.
First, you must list down the 25 meaningful one-word adjectives that pertain to your present personality. You need not be very eloquent at this point just as long as the selected adjective fits just right. Also, you can classify them into “good” and “bad” columns just as long as you are being very honest about your personal characteristics.
Second, you will also list down your likes and dislikes as well as the triggers that stimulate these personal qualities to come to the fore. Often, there will be gray areas in your list but strive to categorize them into likes and dislikes, perhaps with the triggers and explanations that make them so.
Third, you must identify the things that make you happy and sad. This list will identify your passions and sorrows in life that, in turn, will provide the basis for building on your joys and learning from your sorrows in life.
These exercises in making simple but in-depth lists of your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, joys and sorrows will provide a more objective, more concrete and more actionable self-assessment. You will discover many things about yourself that you did not even existed when you do. From there, you can develop an effective skills set that will be used to advance your personal and professional life. And now that you have your lists and explanations, it is time to move into contemplation and action.
Often, we live such harried lives that we fail to look into ourselves and contemplate who we are as an individual. Well, with your abovementioned lists, you are in a better position to do so! Just make sure that you deliberately set aside ample time to contemplate who you are as a person.
When contemplating your inner self, you must neither be too hard nor too easy on yourself. The goal of a self-assessment for personal growth is to look into your reflection and see yourself exactly for who and what you are to yourself, to family and friends, to professional colleagues and even to strangers. The rationale behind personal contemplation is to assess what part of who and what you are needs specific action for a better you. For example, you can decide to transform your weakness into strengths or to conquer your intense dislike for heights or to indulge more in things that make you happy.
However, deciding to take action is far different from actually taking action! You must act on your decision during the contemplative phase otherwise everything will be an exercise in futility. Indeed, you are the change you seek so make it happen right here, right now!
In conclusion, performing a self-assessment for personal growth can be a life-changing and life-affirming exercise. It is indeed your willful choice.