A SCHOOL FOR TOMORROW
You are and always will be a work in progress. You will never be a finished or a perfect product. As you go through life, you will experience success and failure, as well as work and reward. Every day, month, and year, you will have the opportunity to refine what you do and grow in what you know, what you can do, who you are becoming, and the supportive habits you are acquiring. Understanding who you are and what you need to do to be well is the foundation of this learning journey. Personal development is about how you can create and maintain the wellness you need to thrive along The Pathway to Excellence.
The Pathway to Excellence, therefore, is about a journey of inquiry in search of meaning and the discovery of truth and relevance. Every step begins with questions that for which the answers may not be immediately clear, but which requires us to develop ourselves from the inside-out:
“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach them to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort and keep on learning.”
There are two key qualities that will have a very profound influence on your process of personal development: resilience and robustness. Resilience is your ability to adapt to changing circumstances while keeping your sense of purpose – the capacity to snap back onto your chosen track when the moment is right. Robustness is the protective structure we build around ourselves. It speaks to your ability to resist the impulse to surrender or give way.
Your inner strength is a blend of resilience and robustness. It is grounded in your physical, mental and emotional health and wellness. Often you will find that decisions made by other people, situations created in which you find yourself, and limitations imposed by your physical environment will affect your ability to make your own decisions. Nonetheless, you need to do your best to take care of your body and mind. It all starts with learning healthy sleep, nutrition, and exercise habits that help you to restore and refuel yourself. This is self-care. As you grow and mature, you will learn to build personalized routines that allow you to attend to your physical needs while also reaching your potential. This isn't self-indulgence; this is putting yourself in a position to become the best version of yourself at a particular point in time.
As you examine and improve your process of personal development, you will also benefit from learning about:
So, building up your inner strength – your resilience, and robustness – requires you to treat yourself with self-care. As you do so, you will need to grow more aware of the impact of your decisions, actions, and relationships on yourself. You will be able to make better life choices and then act on them for the sake of those around you as well as yourself.
To care for ourselves and to be cared for in return is the mutual interaction, the reciprocity that fosters personal development for each and all of us. We are, after all, social beings created to live in a community. This allows you to gain a feeling of greater purpose while building closer ties with your family, friends, colleagues, and community. In Africa, this is referred to as ubuntu – I am because you are.
You need to ensure that your humanity is properly taken care of on all levels: personal, relational, communal, and global. By reflecting on the strengths and limitations of your humanity – who you really are and might become – and the benefits and detriments that accompany them, you will grow. By knowing who you are and what you need to be well, you will grow more resilient and robust. You will also add more value to the lives of others in the process. The choices are yours to make and not all of them will be the right ones. But as you plan your stages and grow in experience, you will come to realise that your journey is the journey of a whole life—that you cannot look after others as well as you might like unless you also take care of yourself.