Education and Self Discovery

Human kind seems to have a predetermined desire to seek out and explore our surroundings and our capabilities.  Throughout history, people have continually given pursuit to advancing their skills and their living environment.  This drive has, in part, created a human species that is far more developmentally advanced compared to other species on the planet Earth.  Furthermore, as humanity continues to evolve, the rate at which advancement occurs is increasing.


Humans are also advancing intellectually.  James R. Flynn discovered the “Flynn Effect” which proves that the average IQ of an individual in the world population has increased between 5 and 25 points over the last sixty years.  Researchers are not able to pinpoint why this is actually happening.


Perhaps what is important to consider, is the fact that we are getting smarter and that affords us greater opportunity for learning and self-discovery.  As we learn more, and make more discoveries about ourselves, we likely also perpetuate the cycle.  In some ways, this perpetual cycle may give us some individual purpose in a world so full of opportunities for enrichment.


While education and self-discovery is certainly a part of human kind on a macro perspective, we also need to take a look at people individually.  On a micro perspective, each person may choose to pursue education, self-discovery, both, none, or some combination in between.  Furthermore, the individual will choose to what extent they will put forth the effort for enrichment.  This is yet another example of how we are all unique.


Because we are all unique and individual, we must all make decisions about how we will engage in this life.  For people who suffer from addiction, many of their choices are limited due to the way in which the disease affects the choice system.  However, once in recovery, the recovering addict is able to influence the course that their life will take for as long as they remain in recovery and motivated.


Many people in recovery will choose a lifestyle that provides them with opportunities to experience purpose, joy, balance and fulfillment.  A common theme amongst these individuals is their pursuit of their intention in life.  Their intention is that part of their understanding of themselves that gives them purposeful existence and taps into their individual brilliance.


It is not only those in recovery that possess intention and individual brilliance.  We all possess a unique quality that we excel at; sometimes this unique brilliance is hidden from our awareness.  With some self-discovery work, we can identify our unique gift and then formulate an intention around it.  It is easy to identify someone’s unique brilliance when one considers famous and successful individuals such as Albert Einstein or Mother Teresa.   In these examples the individuals completely dedicated their lives to their unique brilliance, and their intention was entirely aligned to create a synergy that is magnificent.


It is inappropriate to suggest that an individual who has identified their unique brilliance and has aligned their lives with their intention will become a genius such as Albert Einstein or a champion such as Mother Teresa.  But it is also true that there are no geniuses or champions that do not have an alignment between their unique brilliance and their intention.  Additionally, there are no geniuses or champions that do not convert their education and self-discovery into action.


Within intention exists the action of goal setting.  Goals are comprised of one’s desired states of affairs which are specific, measurable and attainable.  Goals give structure to desires and cause thought around the surrounding circumstances as they are now, how circumstances can change, and what it will take to change circumstances.  Goal setting is a practice that produces improvements in circumstances without fail.


When goals are reasonable and in alignment with intention, the individual will feel a sense of purpose in life and a perception of joyful fulfillment.  This type of self-discovery serves to motivate further action that is in alignment with intention.  As a result, additional goal setting follows, then more fulfillment – and so on.


It is important to recognize that all of education and self-discovery that takes place to create unique brilliance, intention and goal setting is directed by the individual.  These things do not happen if the individual is not motivated to do the work.  Perhaps this is why people in recovery tend to make discoveries about themselves more easily because they are exposed to this type of work that is necessary to find recovery to begin with.

Finding Unique Brilliance


Consider the following questions without rushing to conclusions.  Allow yourself to ponder and play with the ideas.

  1. What skills do I have that others compliment me about?
  2. What do I find easy to create?
  3. What act causes me to feel intensely focused, “in the zone”?
  4. When I am engaged in this act time passes by extremely fast.
  5. What am I hungry to learn more about?
  6. What subject matter do I want to help others learn?
  7. What central focus have most of my accomplishments revolved around?

Finding Intention


After discovering your unique brilliance, sit with the thought of your unique brilliance and allow yourself to be open to all possibilities.  What does your heart tell you?  This is likely your intention.

Goal Setting and Action Planning


An action plan should include the participation of all individuals involved with the implementation and /or support of the plan; additional parties can always be included.  While the action plan is being developed, it is important to have consensus on the objectives and goals of the action plan.  Consensus means all parties are willing to support the objectives and goals.  The action plan should include:

  • OBJECTIVE (very big picture)

What is the area of behavior or performance to be modified?

  • GOAL (wide angle picture)

What is the specific goal that will be achieved when the action plan is complete?

Note:  There may be many goals listed in order to achieve one objective.

  • ACTION (near-term picture)

What is the specific task that will be performed and will result in achieving the goal?

Note:  There may be many actions listed in order to achieve one goal.


When will each action item be achieved and/or completed?

Note:  There must be an individual target date for each of the actions listed.

  • MEASURE & STATUS (snapshot picture)

How will it be determined when each of the action items is achieved?

What is the latest performance measure status?


Who will act as the support team?

What resources will be necessary to perform the actions?

Action Plan Sample Format


By Andrew Martin, MBA, LAADC, SAP, CA-CCS