Marine Corps. Leadership: Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement

We all need improvement, just not in the same areas.

We all need improvement, just not in the same areas.

“People are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” – James Allen

Growth, effective growth, does not happen on accident. It is intentional, purposeful, and it is constant.

The first part of the principle is to know yourself…

Our post-imagination determines our growth, or lack there of. When we look at the past with tinted glasses we miss what really was, and thus we miss out on the true picture, the true lessons of what we could have learned about ourselves. In order to know ourselves we must be willing to look back with an unbiased perspective so that we can see where we need improvement.

Compare your past actions with the 14 traits. Which ones have you done well to emulate, which ones are lacking from your core values?  Where would your superiors, peers, and directs say you need more effort? 

The second part of the principle is to seek self improvement. 

As stated earlier growth, self-improvement, must be:

  • Intentional: Growth happens, just like our bodies grow without much effort; however, significant growth, growth we would call strength, must happen intentionally. We must have a plan for growth, and we must have the discipline to follow through with that plan.
  • Purposeful: If I want to get faster, I don’t work out my chest. If I want to be better at chess, I don’t study checkers. When we have an area or a trait that we want to grow, we must make sure our plan for growth effects that area.
  • Constant: Physically speaking, our bodies are either growing or they are dying. There is no stage of maintaining. And while the rate of decay may not be as fast as the rate of growth, attrition does happen. If we are going to stay on top and be the leaders we need to be, we must be constantly investing in our growth.

What would you add to the list?

At what trait do you excel? Which trait needs more work?

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