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  • 17 Nov
  • 2018

SUCIP Symposium -Personal development: a yardstick for successful living, unlocking possibilities by EZEH EMMANUEL ONYEDIKACHUKWU.

Students’ union Claretian institute of philosophy Maryland nekede owerri, imo state.
Symposium on youth development.
Topic: personal development: a yardstick for successful living, unlocking possibilities.
We are all unfinished product of God. God created us unfinished product, so that we can improve and develop every day. God created us to be marching forward. We are not created to be marking time. In Psalm 35 vs 28, we are meant to know that God delights in our prosperity. God desires us to improve and he has given us all we need to “increase and multiply”. No one is complete or perfect in possession of knowledge, industriousness and other virtuous way of living. God right from creation sowed in us seeds of glory and dominance. Those seeds manifest themselves as natural talents and charisms; propensities and habitual dispositions.  They are given to you by God to be used for the common good of humanity and for His own glory. Those inbuilt endowments ought to be developed and put into action. They are not allowed to be latent. They must be fanned into flame. When they are constantly developed, one notices personal improvement in those areas of life. With personal improvement one can break new grounds and make new things happen. Personal development and consciousness of its importance in our quest to dominate our environment. Successful living and its correlating sense of unlocking possibilities are achieved only when individual person take joy in increasing his potentialities and improving his talents. 

Identify the wonders of your being.
This is what the Psalmist sings about you who are wonderfully made by God. “Yet you have made him little less than a god, with glory and honour you crowned him, gave him power over the works of your hand, put all things under his feet” Psalm 8. Shakespeare writes; “What piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable; in action how like an Angel, in apprehension how like a god, the beauty of the world; the paragon of animals. One of the beautiful realities of life is that we humans are wonderfully and gloriously made. Our Maker has beautified us with gifts and talents for better living. 
The encouraging word of Joel Osteen, a televangelist in Houston, Texas, has a point on this fact. He says: “I believe that God has put gifts and talents on the inside of every one of us”. The overriding point here is confident acknowledgement of the fact that we are beautifully endowed; each and every one of us. We must have this glorious identity in consciousness. Without this we are going to be doomed by poor self-image. Ignorance of your identity and integrity is a serious malady of self- destruction.
You have to believe that you are wonderfully endowed. Then you have to develop those endowments. You should believe in yourself.  You have to believe that you’re a person of influence. Apparently, we receive gifts / talents from God, the source of all gifts, without any merit on our own part. Some blessings are endowed on us from birth while some could be acquired through necessary craving, curiosity and constant practice. The blessings of God are given to us knowing full well of our abilities, attitudes and competences. Some are blessed with talents / gifts of intellectual acumen, eloquence, ability to volunteer at any given situation, the list could be endless. These gifts though inherent forms our personality but without activation becomes dormant. The good news is that you have, extraordinary potentials for success, achievement and prosperity.
Circumstances do not matter.
 Bruce Barton says, “Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstances”. Nothing can ever be achieved by those who mourning over their circumstances. When you believe that your circumstances define your success and opportunities, then you make your history to be your destiny. Many great men were born and brought up in the4 middle of obscurities. Many men and women of high exploits had a poverty stricken back ground. Many intellectual and mystical heroes never enjoyed splendid health of living.  Progress does not come to those who judge their ability using their present circumstance as a yardstick. Do not settle on the present situation. Don’t allow your self to be limited by what is the order of the day. The present injustice against you has no pier to impede your success. Your present failure in education is not the end of the world. Your feeling of hatred around you by fake friends and manipulators should motivate you instead of limiting your potentials. Look beyond the circumstance and focus on your personal improvement and your prosperous future.
Friendship and personal development.
The company we keep determines to a very large extent how we are going to improve our lives. When your friends are leaders, disciplined, focused and successful; their lives of achievements will rub off on you. You cannot dine with peak performers without being influenced by them.  A Disciplined and honest friend is always faithful. He helps you to improve. Book of Sirach testifies that a faithful friend “an elixir of life and no scale can measure his excellence” (Sirach 6:15).
If your friend is a sloppy fellow, undisciplined, careless and lazy; if he has no desire for development and success, please find a new friend. You cannot improve in virtuous life if your close friends are recklessly rapacious with immorality. Our ability to develop ourselves depends hugely on the company we keep. Abraham Lincoln says that the change in you see in yourself in five years time depends on two things; “the books you read and friends you make.”
Self- confidence for unlocking possibilities.
The only thing standing between you and the credible life that is possible for you is FEAR. For more than 10years, I have studied successful men and women looking for the characteristic features and qualities they had in common that enabled them to achieve so much than the average persons in the society, I have read good number of books, articles and research studies on success and I have come to the conclusion that the foundation quality or standard of success in every works of life is self-development in confidence.  Every man or woman who has ever accomplished anything out of the ordinary has turned out to have greater self-confidence than the ordinary person. When you read the Parable of the Talents in the gospel, one of the things that come rightly into your mind is how lack of self confidence contributed to the failure of the lazy servant. Here, Jesus draws our minds to Christian discipleship using economic metaphor. In this parable, the master was about to leave for a long journey abroad, hence he entrusted his possessions to his most trusted servants taking cognisance of their abilities. He gave five talents of silver to one, then two talents to another and one talent to the third.
However, this is typical of our life setting. Without doubt, God has given us different talents according to our abilities hence; we are automatically conduits / channels of blessings of God. To bring my point home a bit, if you have the gift for voluntary service, a Volunteer, God’s judgment will be based on the service you render to God and humanity. If properly used you will surely be rewarded and entrusted with even more responsibilities as servants with five and two talents respectively. The third servant who was given one talent was not happy with his master thus made no profit. This is quite a lesson for us, never underestimate your talents. {Fan into flame the gifts you have. Leave your comfort zone to embrace opportunities in life. Mother Teresa of Calcutta at the age of 12 had the inner calling to serve the poorest of the poor. She had to activate the charisma and today the church has acclaimed her a Saint in heaven.} (Elaborate, here is the kipm of this topic)
When you develop yourself to the point where your belief in yourself is so strong and you know that you can accomplish almost anything you really want, your future will be unlimited and your coast enlarged. 

Consistent practice brings improvement (develop this topic and let me assess it)
Character is the Key for sustainable success.
 You need this virtue called character. Most often, what we call favour is triggered by virtue. Talent is attractive as anyone can be talented but character is a proof of discipline, a proof of responsibility for it sustains the attraction talents gives to us. Character is the secrete of success. Why do we call numbers “characters”? It is because 1 is always 1; 2 is always 2 whether you use it on Monday or Tuesday, it does not change. Why do we call Scientific principles or Laws “Character”? Because principles do not change. Holiness as well as excellence has a lot to do with integrity and discipline. Discipline will always defeat talents if talents refuse to be disciplined. Character builds your principles or policies. A man of character is one. He is not a multi personality. He is not hot in the morning and then cold in the afternoon. He is not honest on Tuesday and then on Wednesday becomes a flagrant liar or fraud. Character makes you to be trusted. Trustworthiness is an indelible mark of a disciplined fellow. A Man of Character does not live on popularity, he lives on truth. A man of character singles himself out of popular opinion and gullible crowd. He is not hypocritical or sycophantic. There are millions of failed talents today because many lack character. No matter how talented you are, you will be more appreciated when those endowments are polished by character and discipline.

Never settle for common life.
You define your personality by not conforming to the opinions and wishes of anyone else. You would be a different person and set a different goal in every part of your working life and career. Taking for instance you are in sales, you would call for more people, make better and more forceful presentation, ask for more orders and disclose more business. If in management, you would organise and reorganise your human and material resources to create a work environment that suited you perfectly rather than making endless compromises in an attempt to please a variety of different people. This is achievable with great belief in yourself.
With greater self-confidence you will be bolder and more imaginative. You have to be more creative and willing to experiment with new and different ideas and ways of doing things. You would be willing to consider unusual risky alternatives, committing yourself wholeheartedly to projects that are today sitting only on the back burner of your mind. 
You would be more powerful, popular and persuasive with other people if you have unlimited self confidence in developing yourself. You would be more cheerful, speak up and out clearly in your interactions with others, you would be likable, admired, respected, and sought after by everyone who knows you.
Recognition and responsibilities would flow to you because of people's belief in your ability to do whatever it took to get the job done. Positions of prestige and status would open up for you and people would bring you opportunities and possibilities that you cannot now imagine. 
With greater self-confidence, you can battle more effectively with the inevitable problems and difficulties that rise in day to day life. You would continually think in terms of solutions, and how you could turn any situation to your best advantage. You would laugh at adversities that would dishearten most people and plunk success out of the jaws of failure. You would turn lemons into lemonade. You would feel invincible and unconquerable. 
With higher levels of self-confidence, you would be far more effective in dealing with difficult people and situations. You would be a far better negotiator and be able to ask for, and get, better prices, terms, and conditions in everything you bought and sold. 
With an unshakable belief in yourself as stated in my presentation, nothing would be impossible for you. More than anything else, you would feel terrific (excellent and wonderful) about yourself. Feeling truly happy about every part of your life, in assurance that you are able to take whatever steps and make changes necessary to keep your life exactly the way you want it.
You will feel like the master of your fate and the captain of your soul, experiencing a tremendous sense of control, which is the fundamental requirement for happiness and well-being.
With unlimited self-confidence, you will feel completely determined and in charge of your life. Here you experience a feeling of strength and purpose, and you will have a positive mental attitude towards yourself, everyone in your life and everything you do. 
Learn how to develop self-confidence, courage and unshakable determination in every area of your life. Learn to approach the biggest challenges and opportunities of your life completely unafraid, convinced on your ability to accomplish anything you put your mind to. 
Good to know that everyone has a certain amount of self-confidence, more in some areas and less in others, and by working from that base, it is possible for you to build yourself up to the point at which you are completely confident in any area that is important to you. 
Finally: Guard your heart, mind and spirit against all the distractions trying to stray you from your purpose. You must take control of life and stay focused, stay positive, stay determined.  
We are called to life of prayer. Our often encounter with God will absolutely help us to discern his gifts inherent in us. The gifts once activated will be for the service of God and humanity. Let the passion to make a positive mark and better living encourage us. 
Always believe in yourself and keep trusting in God.