There are only two reasons we consciously, actively seek to change ourselves. Inspiration is one, and desperation is the other.
According to the late Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and inspirational speaker, we also need to claim responsibility during the process. There are many factors that can dictate change--some internal and some external. Even when you can't control the external factors, it's important to take responsibility so the power shifts into your hands.
For Rohn, his source of inspiration was Earl Shoaff, his long-term mentor. "If you want to be wealthy and happy, learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job," was one of the greatest shots of wisdom Rohn took from Shoaff.
Rohn wrote his famous essay "The Miracles of Personal Development" on the platform that self-improvement never ends. There's no finish line in sight, and there never will be. Rohn explains in the essay, "Ever since Mr. Shoaff woke me up with that statement, I worked hard on my own personal growth, and I must admit that this was the most challenging assignment of all. But understand, this business of personal development lasts a lifetime."
Becoming vs. Getting
What you become in life is infinitely more important than anything you might get.
When you're working on a job, project, or building your company, "What am I becoming?" is a great question to ask yourself on a daily basis. Unfortunately, too many people ask questions like, "What am I getting out of this?"
As you can imagine, the potential answers to these questions are very different--the former helps guide you along the best, most creative, and inspiring of paths. The latter makes you focus on either:
1) what you're not getting
2) the tangible things you may be getting that don't matter, or
3) simply making you bitter.
Of course, what you get also matters--nobody wants to work without getting paid! The two are intrinsically connected. Who/what you are will attract what you get.
Focus on self-development, and the "getting" will come naturally. It might not be immediate (otherwise this wouldn't be much of a challenge!), but it's a rule of attraction that can't be denied.
Thinking of Others
When you're building a company of your own, think of the impact that you're having on your employees lives. How are you helping them better their and their family's lives? The more you improve yourself, the more you have to offer to others.
Factor in that we are all connected on this third rock from our sun, and realize that we are in this together. The impact we have on others is worth far more than just dollars in a bank vault. Dollars are nice, don't get me wrong, but I'm certain we weren't put on this Earth to just grow the biggest bank accounts.
Rohn notes that no matter how much you make, your income almost never surpasses the personal development required to get there. In some instances, income is sheer luck--however, it still comes with responsibilities. If you're not ready to take those on, too, the income will disappear. For evidence, just take a look at the many overnight millionaires who declare bankruptcy a few years later.
Through personal development, you learn how to keep what you get--and get even more.
"To have more than you've got, become more than you are" is a mantra Rohn held dearly to his heart.
With this in mind, it just makes sense to focus on becoming rather than getting. Without personal development, there's no change, and if there's no change, you'll keep (if you're lucky!) only what you have right now.
It's a vicious cycle, but one you're 100 percent in control of changing.