All of us have tried to improve ourselves over time. We’ve read books, listened to podcasts, watched videos and listened to the ‘gurus’. Yet, most of us are struggling with personal development. I was too. Then, it dawned on me. I went back all the way back to my education at MIT and the course – System Dynamics – that was taught by Prof. John Sterman (I got my only B at MIT in that course). Yet, that course has influenced my life more than any other course I took at MIT. Let me explain.

We try to solve problems by addressing one thing at a time  – developing lofty goals, identifying our strengths, working on a weakness, trying to gain more knowledge, networking with a few people,… While each of those could make you better, they probably don’t help you achieve your goals. Be honest. How many times have you decided that the time and money you spent on something was wasted. And, it keeps happening.

The answer is systems thinking. Nothing in this universe exists in isolation (loneliness is a feeling, not a fact). Everything is inter-related. We may not understand the relationships or the magnitude of the cross-effects, but the inter-relatedness exists. But, we often tend to think of things and solutions in isolation.

When you want to solve a problem, there are important inter-related things you must consider. For example, if you want to cook a dish, your individual ingredients matter, the preparation of the ingredients matter, the utensils and the pot/pan matter, the kind of heat (gas/electric) and the temperature matter, the order and time of adding ingredients, how long you cook them, etc. Personal development is the same. You can’t just read a book, listen to a podcast or watch a video and expect to see marked improvement or achievement. Similarly, you can’t work on one habit in isolation or meet one more important person and suddenly expect things to work out. You get the idea.

After years of thinking and experimentation, I’ve come up with a framework which captures the major inter-related elements required for improving oneself or one’s organization – I named it the iCLIMB framework.

i – Take stock of yourself, your business, your organization, your project, and your broader context.

You can only achieve your goals with who you are, from where you are, … therefore, understand yourself and where you are now. Be honest. Otherwise, you will be living a lie and struggle to succeed (like most of us keep chasing that elusive ‘formula for success’).

C – Clarity, Commitment & Community

Develop Clarity – of what success means to you. Write down WHY you want those outcomes. This is SUPER IMPORTANT. If your WHY is missing or is weak, your commitment will be lacking. Making a Commitment helps you continue to achieve your goals through good times and bad times. It is the foundation of INTENTIONALITY.

L – Leverage your strengths and enablers of success for that goal.

i  – Live Intentionally to achieve your goals

Have Intentionality about succeeding. How will you see the world, think and act consistently EVERY DAY until you achieve your goals?

M – Minimize your DISABLERS and fatal weaknesses (silent killers of success)

B – Build momentum by CONSTANTLY improving yourself with Antifragility – becoming better and more confident (like the hydra in Greek mythology), whether you succeed or fail (a single successful or failed project will not define you – look at your life in totality). Consecutive failures build failure momentum, while consecutive successes builds success momentum.

 

There is much more to each of these six elements that cannot be covered in a short post. I’m currently writing a book, ‘Make More Money with Business Thinking’, that systematically teaches you the elements, process and systems you can use to make money consistently and repeatedly. I also teach that in a Master Class which you will find on my website (see link in Comments section below). I also use the iCLIMB framework to teach a Master Class on how you can BECOME UNSTOPPABLE and achieve your personal greatness – become an ACHIEVER among your peers, classmates, friends, family…