Jim Rohn wrote in his book The Five Major Pieces To The Life Puzzle, it is by an intricate design of nature that success is a condition that must be attracted and not pursued. We achieve rewards and we make progress not by our intense pursuits, but by what we become, for it is what we are that finally determines the result we attract. "To have more we must first become more" is the essence of his personal development philosophy.
Today when the lopsided model of personal development where the stress is more on techniques, the words of wisdom culled from all that have been written about success and happiness from times immemorial brings into stark contrast everything that is wrong in the personal development philosophy. The quick fixes taught by innumerable institutions reflect the growing confusion about Personality Development aimed at symptoms than any attempt on cause. It is no wonder that in the knowledge millennium when knowledge is said to be doubling every eighteen month we see more unhappiness and frustration than light of knowledge and wisdom.
The natural law is that of Character Ethic. What we are intrinsically. Success and happiness is achieved by becoming more, more of love, honesty, justice, courage, integrity, humaneness, feelings for the community, public good and for the fellow human. What we see instead is a stress on the outer personality, public image, public speaking, outward cheerfulness and pretended positive attitudes. Whatever we might be inside, we are taught to put a facade of manners, looks, gestures and language.
Imagine a situation where you meet an unreasonable customer and you put out the most positive outward expressions while you are fuming inside. It does not communicate the best of sincerity and you lose the customer anyway. On the other hand if we exercise the character ethic of being good to a fellow human being, we may try to understand his unreasonableness and show more sympathy towards his views.
When the inside feeling is one of sympathy we may even point out his unreasonableness without rancor or animosity and customer is more likely to understand our viewpoint. The character ethic being strong there would be certain equanimity and pleasantness and the customer has to respond positively to the natural and open negotiation with him.
It is not that techniques are not important. The various personal skills and techniques do have its value in bringing a system and projection of our natural personal traits more effectively. What ever our character should naturally reflect in every act of ours. Whereas being focused only on techniques will be seen as manipulative and whatever gains, will be short term and eventually be seen as failures.
Emerson has brilliantly explained the character ethic "What you are shouts so loudly in my ears that I cannot hear what you say."