I lived for several years on the Japanese island of Okinawa. It is a tropical island setting with a wealth of beauty and lots of things to do. We lived on the side of a mountain that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. The beauty that we were able to observe from there was breathtaking.
There were a lot of enjoyable things about living in Okinawa, but one of the things that I enjoyed most was learning to scuba dive. The island itself is a coral reef island so it is surrounded by all different types of coral - different colors, different shapes. There are also dozens of varieties of tropical fish. And the water was as clear as a bell. Even from the surface, by wearing a mask, you could see all of the beautiful sea life that was thirty or forty feet down.
But for a diver, it is not just the sea life. Different parts of the island have very different terrain, and you didn't even have to have a boat to enjoy it. In most places you can just swim out a few feet and have a great dive in water that is anywhere from fifty to one hundred and twenty feet deep. In some places there is a wall. You swim out and all of a sudden the bottom goes from twelve feet to sixty feet deep straight down. Other places have caverns or giant boulders or wavy hills.
So much variety.
Of course, scuba diving can be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. That is why people who want to take up the sport have to get training. There is an actual certification that a person must get in order to participate in the sport. In the certification class you study all of the things you need to know to be safe. You learn how to use the equipment and actually practice doing it. You learn how to calculate the length of time you can dive at different depths so as not to get the bends. And, of course, you learn about different kinds of sea life - particularly about creatures that can be dangerous.
One day I was out diving with a friend and I came across a brown water snake. There were two kinds of snakes in the waters of Okinawa. Both are poisonous, but the brown ones are more so, and they are more aggressive. Well, I didn't see this snake until I was fairly close to him and when he saw me, he started coming at me. I had seen this kind of snake before and always steered clear, but had never had one come toward me. I had been told that they won't mess with you unless you mess with them, but for some reason this guy started coming and kept coming.
Now I don't like snakes, to begin with, and especially poisonous ones. When I saw him coming, I turned around and swam away as fast as I could. After I had gone a little ways I looked back and, to my surprise, he was still coming. You guessed it, I swam even harder. That rascal chased me close to forty yards before he finally gave up. Well, I knew that he wouldn't chase me forever and that if I could move out of his territory he would leave me alone. If I had not known what to do, though, I might have tried to attack him back or do something else stupid that would have caused disastrous results.
The Four Foundations for Gaining Control of Your Life
Knowing what to do is not something that just happens to us. We have to take the time and make the effort to figure out what we need to know, then go after it. We have to prepare. But we also need the whole picture. If we prepare in the wrong areas, or if our preparation is incomplete, we will end up as if we had never done any preparation at all. This principle applies to every arena of life - to our family, our job, our sports activities and every other area. Since the principle is so pervasive, it is important to make sure we completely understand it so we can use it in life.
People tend to be way too narrow in the way they apply growth principles to life. It is not possible to select one or two elements of life to grow in and neglect the rest. The areas that are not strong will, eventually, pull down even the areas that are strong. We have to develop our whole self all the time. So just what are the areas that we have to focus on? Well, there are four.
The first element of our personhood relates to our emotional development. We can be in control of our emotions or they can be in control of us. Many people think that they can't have that kind of control, but there are skills related to emotional flexibility, attitude, coping mechanisms and identification which can allow us to become quite adept at controlling our emotions.
The second element relates to our physical body. In order to maintain personal control we have to exert a lot of energy - and that requires good physical conditioning. With proper nutrition, rest and exercise it is possible for us to develop the stamina necessary to move us to higher levels of personal development.
The third element involves our mental development. It is actually possible to develop our brain capacity in various ways so that we can be more effective in the activities we involve ourselves in. We can develop our brain function skills in the areas of content acquisition, quickness, outlook, concentration, focus and perspective.
The final element relates to our spirit. The spiritual part of our being involves our self-awareness, creativity, conscious relationships, communication, choice, analysis, contemplation, imagination, self-discipline and perspective. These are the elements that make up the core of our being as humans. We are also able to develop each of these elements of our spirit to become more effective in our development.
The Choice to Take Control
To really get a grasp on the full scope of these four areas would require a whole book. But even a brief description of the whole gives us a sense of the personal development task. We can't just work on one part of our life, or even several parts, and neglect the others. Every part makes up who we are and we have to develop them all or the ones which don't grow will begin to pull down the others.
We all have choices to make in life. Some of the choices have small consequences, but others may have life or death significance. Preparation for the choices is not something that just happens. We have to deliberately become aware of the areas of our lives that need work, then actively and aggressively go after it. But when me make the effort to get it right, all the preparation is worth it. At that point we are able to see those snakes that are coming toward us and know exactly what to do to deal with them.
About The Author
Dr. Freddy Davis is the owner of TSM Enterprises and conducts conferences, seminars and organizational training for executives, managers and sales professionals to help develop greater effectiveness and productivity. He is the author of the book Supercharged! as well as the Nutshell Series of books for strengthening business. You can visit the TSM website at www.tsmenterprises.com, or you can contact Freddy directly at 888-883-0656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.