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Religion is a form of personal development. Sadly, too many people use religion to control nations, populations and dictate selfish and discriminatory laws and policies.

Regardless of whether we agree with what religions teach us, it is interesting to study them and understand how they have helped shape our thinking and our world.

So, to me, religion is very much like personal development. In fact, it is all about personal development and growth.

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This is how I see religion and personal development as one:

    1. Belief. Now we can say God, Lord, Universe or Higher Power but at the end of the day, it all means the same. It’s the creator of our world. In religion as well as in personal development, it is important to believe in a Higher Spirit that will execute your wishes.
    1. Faith. In both religion and personal development, you have to have faith to succeed. You may never have met God but you believe in HIM, if you want to enter Heaven. Same goes for personal development, you have to have faith that things will get better and that you will reach your goals. Lacking faith in both of these areas would be counter-effective.
    1. Prophets and messengers. Whether that is Mohamed, Jesus or Budha, most religions have men who act as role models to the rest of the people. In personal development, it is the same. You follow people who aspire you to become successful in business and life.
    1. Prayer. Prayer is a religious ritual but also a form of personal development. When you pray, you speak to God in a unique way, sometimes silently, and you ask HIM for things you want in life. Whether that is good health, a house, children or a stack of cash. Prayer, to me, combines meditation and visualization in the personal development world. Meditation is that connection with the higher power, listening to the unspoken and getting deeply spiritual. And visualization is about asking what you want to receive.
    1. Giving thanks. In Islamic cultures particularly, we say ‘hamdoullah’ thank God in every other sentence. That was something I learned way before I learned about gratitude in personal development. Being grateful and conscious of all the great things in life is essential to any human being’s balance.
    1. Helping others. All religions stress the importance of helping others. It is what keeps us sane as a community, so we don’t kill one another. It is also a way to feed the heart and soul. In Islam, in fact, it is one of the pillars of the religion, to give annually a percentage of your wealth to the needy. Likewise, personal development stresses on being of service to others and making an impact in their lives.
    1. Fasting. In many religions, fasting is part of the worshipper’s ritual. Today, fasting has become a trend in the world of self-help, health, and wellness. It has many benefits not only spiritually but also on the body and brain.
    1. Self-control. Most religions I know promote self-control. Humans should control themselves whether that comes to eating, self-indulgence, natural biological desires, and should rather eliminate excesses. Likewise, personal development is all about attaining that balance within you (body, mind, and heart): controlling your natural pulses and staying focused on the reward.
    1. Self-discipline. is key in religion. No one is telling you what to do but you have to motivate yourself and get things done yourself. In personal development, self-discipline is a must-have to achieve goals and attain success.
  1. The Promise for a reward. Both religion and personal development promise a great reward at the end of the journey: one is entering heaven hereafter and the other is experiencing success and fulfillment. These promises keep us going and give us hope that one day, it will be possible for us too!

I hope this will give you a new way of looking at religions and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Please leave me a comment and let’s continue the discussion.

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