Everyone devotes themselves to studying something. Whether it is the subjects taught in schools, the interests we discover like computer games, sports, earning money, or any one of thousands of other topics, we all formally or informally study various things during our life time. Have you ever wondered why more people don’t devote themselves to self-study? James Allen is quoted as saying, “Above all be of single aim, have a legitimate and useful purpose and devote yourself unreservedly to it.”
I have to agree with Mr. Allen. Certainly most researchers and writers on success would agree that when we focus on a specific goal, it is easier to attain it. The question is what should we study? Is it worth it to study ourselves?
The Value of Self-Study
Two events in my life inspired me to want to learn more about myself: a graduate course in child psychology and the diagnosis of coronary heart disease. I was surprise and impressed to learn that hundreds and thousands of researchers had looked very closely at almost all aspects of child development, physiologically, psychologically, sociologically, and emotionally. They committed themselves to study, even publishing dissertations on these topics. They were passionate. But it can’t always be done alone, sometimes you need help examining yourself, just as some of these probably sought dissertation coaching to complete their studies.
Previously I took human development for granted. I never gave it much thought. That one course opened my eyes to how the good, the bad, and the ugly incidents and experiences of childhood greatly impact us throughout our lives.
I started to read Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Carl Rogers, Piaget, and many others. These great thinkers all had at least one thing in common: they wanted to understand what it means to be human. Why are we the way we are? How do we learn? What do feelings mean? Where do empathy, kindness, and humor come from? Why do some individuals try to do good, while others do harm?
When my family doctor called me a couple of days after my last office visit with him to tell me he had some bad news to tell, “You have coronary heart disease. You should see a cardiologist right away,” I was shocked and surprised. That call got my attention. I always had a passing interest in health, but now there was a new urgency. My outlook on all things health-related took on a new meaning. I started to ask questions and read books and newsletters about health in general and the heart in particular.
Life Style and Self-Study
I did not want to admit it but my life style had caused my disease. I used to talk about good nutrition, regular exercise, relaxation, and spiritual issues. It is interesting that as soon as we re-frame our perspective and decide on a new way of living, how new knowledge and people come into our lives.
My life style changed when I discovered the writings of an innovative cardiologist in Dr. Stephen Sinatra, an alternative medicine physician, Dr. Jonathan Wright, a wonderful profound thinking nutritional physician, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and other physicians and researchers/writers who see healthy living as the norm. If we learn, understand, and do the basic requirements of good nutrition, selective supplementation, moderate exercise, and prayer/meditation, then our self-study should payoff with a healthier and longer life. And that’s what we all want.