Dalam pandangan saya, tahap-tahap personal development dapat dilihat dari empat tahap berikut: pertama, mengenali diri sendiri. Kedua, memposisikan diri. Ketiga, mendobrak diri. Dan keempat, aktualisasi diri. Pada kesempatan ini, saya akab bahas tahap pertama terlebih dahulu.
Dibanding ciptaan Tuhan yang lainnya, manusia adalah ciptaan yang paling sempurna. Kesempurnaan di sini dilihat dari kelengkapan sisi-sisi manusia itu sendiri, yaitu adanya kebaikan, ada pula keburukan. Ada sisi yang kuat, ada pula sisi yang lemah. Manusia sebagai makhluk penuh potensi diri, harus selalu bertumbuh menuju aktualisasi dirinya. Manusia harus mengenali kedua sisi tersebut sebaik-baiknya. Sebab, mengenal diri sendiri adalah dasar dari action atau tindakan-tindakan, demi meraih sebuah cita-cita yang besar.
Contoh: setelah menganalisis diri dengan saksama, kemudian kita mampu menemukan kekuatan personal kita seperti kreativitas, semangat berinovasi, ketajaman analisis, kemampuan menemukan peluang, penerimaan terhadap hal-hal baru, semangat belajar yang tinggi, serta cita-cita atau tujuan-tujuan pribadi yang mulia. Tetapi di sisi lain, mungkin saja kita merasa memiliki kelemahan, seperti kurang disiplin, tidak fokus, kurang konsisten, tidak berani mencoba, atau tidak berani ambil risiko.
Pada kasus ini, kita lihat betapa kekuatan berupa potensi-potensi diri yang istimewa menjadi sulit berkembang, karena kelemahan-kelemahan yang tidak bisa dikendalikan atau dikelola dengan baik.
Titik krusialnya di sini adalah, memaksimalkan potensi atau kekuatan dan sekaligus meminimalkan pengaruh kelemahan kita. Caranya:
Pertama, berkomitmen untuk menghilangkan kelemahan-kelemahan tersebut.
Kedua, melakukan action atau usaha yang sungguh-sungguh untuk menghentikan pengaruhnya setiap kali kelemahan diri tersebut muncul.
Ketiga, menumbuhkan kebiasaan-kebiasaan baru yang mendorong mencuatnya potensi kita, dan pada saat bersamaan mengubur sedalam-dalamnya setiap kelemahan kita.
Keempat, terus-menerus menumbuhkan dan mengembangkan motivasi diri, supaya semangat selalu berkobar dan kita senantiasa memiliki mentalitas yang sehat.
Dan keempat hal tersebut harus kita mulai sekarang juga! Ingat, hanya orang yang memiliki motivasi dan berani bertindak saja yang akan sukses. Action is power! Tindakan adalah kekuatan!
Eight Ways to Cut Summer Energy Bills
by Stephanie AuWerter
Friday, May 9, 2008provided bySmartMoney.com
With summer finally kicking into gear across the country, you can almost hear the gentle hum of air conditioners ratcheting up. And with it, climbs home energy bills.
These days, the average household spends $1,900 annually on energy (based on electricity and gas usage), according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But much of that, say energy conservationists, is money wasted.
The good news: Cutting back doesn't mean you need to be a tree-hugging naturalist, suffering stoically as you read by candlelight. These days, you can do right by the environment and your pocketbook—without any major lifestyle sacrifices. In fact, by taking some relatively painless steps, you can cut your bills by one-third or more.
Here are eight easy ways to save this summer (including a few tips that will work year-round).
1. Upgrade Your Thermostat
Are you the type who likes to chill after a sticky workday by coming home to a house that's as cool as a meat locker? You can live this dream and cut your energy costs by investing in a programmable thermostat. These handy little devices allow you to cool your home at different temperatures at specific times.
So you could, for example, turn down the AC during the day, when your family is away from home—and crank it up again 30 minutes before the first family member returns. Or, you could turn it down during the wee hours of the morning, when no one's likely to notice a shift in temperature.
Installing a programmable thermostat shouldn't set you back more than $100 to $150—and the energy savings can be substantial. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), you could cut your heating and cooling bills by 10% annually just by turning your thermostat back 10% to 15% for 8 hours a day.
2. Go Green
Ok—this will require a bit of effort on your part, but the returns are twofold: Planting just three shady trees around your house not only can whack $100 to $250 off your annual heating and cooling costs, according to the DOE, but will most likely make your yard more attractive, to boot. (Leafy trees can shield the house from direct sunlight, keeping temperatures down, while still permitting sunlight to hit your house during the winter months.)
Not interested in nurturing your green thumb? Simply pulling the shades (or drawing your curtains) can cut energy costs as well, says Mel Hall-Crawford, an energy efficiency expert at the Consumer Federation of America.
3. Keep It Clean
Keeping your air-conditioning unit clean and in peak performance is another big money saver. To kick the summer off, your AC unit should have a professional tune up (expect to pay somewhere between $90 and $120), says Maria Vargas, an Energy Star spokesperson at the EPA. (Energy Star is a joint program run by the EPA and the DOE that, among other things, deems certain products energy-efficient.) And air-conditioning filters (regardless of whether you have central air or an individual unit) should generally be checked every month or so to see if they need cleaning or replacement. This is something you should be able to do on your own.
Another item to add to your spring cleaning list: Dusting off your refrigerator condenser coils, says Hall-Crawford. This will make the unit run more efficiently.
4. Buy a Better Bulb
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (called CFLs) require 75% less energy than traditional (officially called incandescent) light bulbs, and last up to 10 times longer, according to the ASE. Be sure to look for CFLs with the Energy Star label, since these bulbs won't have any buzzing or humming problems, promises Energy Star's Reed. These bulbs now come in smaller sizes (called subcompacts) that can fit into any lamp, and they have a wider color spectrum. According to the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), replacing just four well-used 100-watt incandescent bulbs with equivalent 23-watt CFLs will save you $120 to $200 over three years.
Also, do you still have one of those halogen lamps leftover from your college days? (You know—those tall lamps that didn't cost much more than a couple of pizzas to buy?) Do yourself a favor: Dump it. Not only are these dangerous fire starters, but their bulbs, which can generate temperatures of 700 to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, are energy hogs as well, says Vargas. That makes them considerably less inexpensive than they seemed back in the day.
5. Join the Fan Club
A ceiling fan can balance out a room's temperature, allowing you to turn down the AC and still feel cool.
Even when all of your home electronics are turned off, many continue to suck down energy. The main culprits: televisions, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, phones and microwave ovens. (Generally, anything that has a clock, a remote control or an on/off light falls into this category.) In fact, idle TVs cost U.S. consumers $600 million annually, or $5 per household, according to the EPA. One solution: Plug the items that can truly be turned completely off into a power strip, and then use that as your on/off switch.
7. Fight Leaks
Your pricey, cooled air might be leaking right out of your house. Leaky windows and ducts (which carry the air to the rooms in your home) are two ways that cool air can be lost, making your air conditioner work harder. "We have found that as many as 70% of ducts are installed with leaks," says Vargas. Having your ducts properly sealed and insulated could save you as much as 10% in energy costs, according to the EPA. So if you think your duct system is faulty, try to have it checked out by an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) technician. (One way to find one is to visit the North American Technician Excellence web site.)
8. Be a Savvy Shopper
By far the biggest way to save is to invest in energy-efficient appliances. When shopping around, look for the Energy Star label. There are more than 44 product categories that qualify.
Of course, replacing your appliances (particularly the biggies, like a refrigerator or dishwasher) will require an upfront investment. But if you've got an old clunker, you could recoup your costs quickly. For example, if your central-air-conditioning unit is more than 10 years old, replacing it with an Energy Star-qualified model could cut your operating costs by 30%.