During my first year in high school, I started to learn more about personal development. I told the story about it in Why Invest in Personal Development.
One day, on my way home, I saw used books sold for five and ten pesos. Before this, most of the books I read are primarily textbooks. I bought the following:
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser,
- Elements of Style by William Strunk,
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill,
- On Selling (I forgot the author),
- a book on world history,
- one on homeopathy (only because it sounds interesting),
- one on speaking with confidence, and
- How to Make Friends and Influence People by Carnegie.
I encourage people to read these books too.
Though I belonged to the first section, I was not confident. My classmates were mostly honor students when we were in elementary.
I did not know how to speak English well. Though I read a lot, I found it challenging to speak in front of groups. I had many insecurities. I was not sure of my pronunciation and my grammar.
But because of these books, I started to stand and take risks. For example, the book How to Make Friends and Influence People was a great confidence booster. It was like I knew something which my classmates did not know.
I joined a student organization where I became one of the leaders. I applied the principles and techniques I learned from the books.
In the beginning, there were less than 20 members of the organization. I volunteered to do room-to-room promotions and spoke in front of students. As a result, the membership grew ten times.
Because of personal development, I overcame many obstacles in life. I learned to try new ways and see many problems from new perspectives.
After high school, I entered a seminary to study for the priesthood. Though I was not the brightest, I became the leader of my batch.
I had more opportunities in front of people. I taught catechism, handled retreats, and facilitated leadership programs for student leaders.
People get inspired by what I did. And all thanks to the personal development journey I started in first-year high school.
After the seminary days, I left to study Political Science. I became a student leader, debater, writer, and founder of a theater group.
In retrospect, the books I bought for five and ten pesos greatly influenced how I overcame the many obstacles in my life, positively touched people’s lives, and became a leader.
When I became a teacher, I taught the many principles that guided me to my students too.
Many teachers dread attending seminars. But knowing the value of personal growth, I continued attending workshops and seminars on communication skills and leadership. In addition, I joined Toastmasters, studied theater, and volunteered at local charities.
Personal development does not help the individual alone.
The ripple effect of personal development for me was immediate. I shared the lessons I learned with my friends. And many of them became confident too.
In my third year in high school, I learned I did not have to become so good in English to share my story. I spoke to an assembly of more than 3000 students.
When I became a teacher, I pursued learning more. I said I could not give what I did not have.
The truth, whatever little thing I had inspired many people. And whatever they learned, they shared with others too.
I must have trained more than 50,000 leaders in the last fifteen years. And my blog must have been read by more than 3 million people in the previous ten years.
When you deliberately work on one aspect of personal development, the other aspects grow too. When you focus on personal growth, those around you will notice your positive impact on their lives. You will become an inspiration to them.
Personal development is a multiplier. When you pay attention to your personal growth, those around you will grow too.