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For all those who are interested in personal development, there is one very important technique you can use to improve yourself. This method can be used to improve in almost any aspect of your life. It’s called progressive training.
In progressive training, you build upon your potential in steps. You don’t try to take a quantum leap towards a better you. You take progressively incremental steps towards your desired state. This makes change easier to handle. This may seem like an obvious thing to do but most of us feel so guilty about our shortcomings, we keep oscillating between 2 states – trying to make all the change in one go, or feeling totally helpless and dejected. Consciously and repeatedly choosing this method ensures we don’t go to either of these extremes. I’ll illustrate the use of this technique with 2 separate examples. Both of these are states I have been through
Muscle growth : Suppose you are lean and thin, and are taking up body building with the aim of becoming muscular. You cannot try to just lift the heaviest weight right away and become muscular. Muscle building requires you to lift just enough to ‘stimulate your muscles to grow’. Your muscles are used to a certain level of exertion and have grown just enough to mange that exertion. Now, if you want them to grow, you have to give them a higher level of exertion than what they are used to. You have to do this continuously for some days to see some visible change. Along with this, proper rest and food are also required. You have to find just the right balance. If the weights are too light, your muscles would have no reason to grow and if the weights are too heavy, your muscles would be too fatigued and all they might be able to do is recuperate back to what they were before. Worse, if you try too hard, you might start feeling and looking weaker. The right weight is found through trial and error. Once your find it and continue with it for some time, once your muscles grow sufficiently and can easily handle the weight you are lifting, it’s time to take the next incremental step. You increase the weight just enough to give your muscles some more exertion to what they have got used to now. This continues on and you build muscles, progressively.
Building the courage to approach the opposite sex : In this example, let’s assume you are a a very shy man. You have trouble talking to girls. You want to make a girlfriend but are too shy to start a conversation. You are afraid you will make a fool out of yourself. When ever you get an opportunity to do something, you get tongue tied and can say nothing.
Here is how you will use progressive training. Start with the smallest challenge you can think of. This act should be challenging enough to require a little courage but not so much so that you feel overwhelmed. Maybe(if you are like what I once was :)) you can start with just looking at girls, meeting their gaze for a few seconds. When you do this for some days, and become comfortable with this, you may add on a few more seconds to the gaze(be respectful! don’t stare too much, other wise you can say goodbye to your dreams!!).. then add a smile.. then greet them with a ‘Hi!’.. then make some small talk.. then ask her out on a casual date.. and so on…
Every incremental step might pose some challenges and unforeseen issues. Mostly, since the steps are small, the problems will be small too.
You can grow in almost any area you can think of, using this method. Health, studies, career, relationships, spirituality. Think of your specific problems. Think what is it in you that you need to change, to get over these problems. Then break down the change you need into small, manageable steps and apply progressive training.
That’s all there is to it. Go ahead and use it to overcome a personal problem, to grow in the area you have been struggling with. Then share your story with the rest of us. Best of luck!