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How to Use Communication Skills for Personal Development (Part 1)

How to Use Communication Skills for Personal Development by Babatunde Oladele

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they, therefore, remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self–crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set. – James Allen.

The desire to be great and be celebrated is common to every man right from the time he becomes conscious of himself. Carnegie (1940:15), in his all-time, best-selling classic, describes this ‘desire to be important as the deepest urge in human nature’. He then goes ahead to propose a law in favour of this “urge” whose observation, he guarantees, will earn the compliant countless friends plus constant happiness, and whose violation will always land the dissident in trouble with people. The law is: “Always make the other person feel important” (1940:115).

No doubt the vast majority of mankind have this, usually unexpressed, desire to be great and be appreciated by fellow men.  However, in every dispensation, only a few individuals really choose to advance beyond the level of desiring to pay the price required to build a great life.

The price of greatness is a disciplined and sustained investment in oneself, which is otherwise called personal development. Jim Rohn, a renowned personal development coach, once quotes his former employer and mentor to have advised him thus: “Jim, if you want to be wealthy and happy, learn this lesson well: learn to work harder on yourself than on your job” (2005a). While this sounds like a piece of good counsel, the pathetic thing is that most people expend their time and energy the other way round; working more and often on their job – in order to earn so much – while devoting little or no attention to improving themselves.

Commenting on this anomaly, Rohn (2005a) notes that:

What you become is far more important than what you get. The important question to ask on the job is not, “What am I getting?” Instead, you should ask, “What am I becoming?“ Getting and becoming are like Siamese twins: what you have today you have attracted by becoming the person you are today.

…. Income rarely exceeds personal development. Sometimes income takes a Iucky jump, but unless you learn to handle the responsibilities that come with it, it will usually shrink back to the amount you can handle….

It is hard to keep that which has not been obtained through personal development.

With this background on the importance of personal development as an essential requisite to enhance one’s lot in life, we will examine the inherent potentials in communication skills to achieve personal development; and how we can utilize these skills to develop ourselves and ultimately build a life worth celebrating.

The objectives of this exercise therefore are:

  • The draw our attention to the sacrosanct and utilitarian nature of communication.
  • To acquaint us with the different areas of personal development there are
  • To examine how we can use communication skills to explore the various forms of personal development training to enhance ourselves.

To be continued…

Babatunde is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the Executive Director of Literary Renaissance Foundation, an initiative working towards reviving a reading culture and campaigning against the devaluation of intelligence in Nigeria and Africa.

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