Pokémon and Personal Development
Learning Moves is good, but the only thing that really makes you more powerful is Experience.
In the games you can learn new Moves from HMs, TMs, and even certain trainers, but having those skills alone won’t make you more powerful. To be stronger, you need Experience.
The only way to get Experience is to be in the battle. That means you’ll get hurt.
The Pokémon that’s the first to go into a battle often gets the most Experience. They are also at the highest risk for getting damaged, confused, paralyzed, burned, or poisoned.
That’s how it works; if you want to grow you’ve got to get in the fight, and getting in the fight will mean you’ll get hurt. Those other Pokémon sitting safe in the box will never level up.
When you’ve been knocked out, stop and take the time to recover.
Recovery from stress and setbacks is surprisingly easy if you commit the time to doing so. When you need to heal, stop, and go get healed. Doing anything else is counter-productive, it’s just keeping you out of the fight longer.
If you’re not in the battle, at least be on a team that battles.
If you’re not the first into the battle, you can still grow by being on a team that fights — in Pokémon this happens via Exp Share, in personal development it happens by being around those who have been addressing challenges. But Exp Share, just like real life, doesn’t give you anywhere near the amount of experience you would have gotten if you had fought.
What battles are vary life to life and career to career, but there is one truth here: If you can’t be in the battle, you need to ensure you’re on a team that’s in the battle.
You can only know four Moves at a time.
As you learn new skills and abilities, you will forget old ones. The best way to manage this reality is to make conscious decisions on the skills you decide to let go of.
That said, some Moves can be learned (or re-learned) rather quickly.
If you have the right resources — TMs, HMs, or certain trainers in the games — you can re-learn a skill or learn a skill for the first time rather easily. These tend to be more generic, simpler Moves, but they are still very useful and it’s good you can re-learn them. Be aware, though, the more specialized skills may be difficult or impossible to come back to.
The easiest Moves to learn are often the ones that match your attributes…
Electric type Pokémon learn electric Moves, grass type Pokémon learn grass Moves. It’s perfectly fine to learn the skills and abilities that line up with what you are. It’s easier to learn them and get good at them. Be sure to do what you are.
…but if you can learn Moves from a different type, you can be uniquely powerful.
If you’re an electric type, you should have a couple electric type moves, you’ll be good at them. But if you also have moves that are other types, you’ll be more versatile in battle and you’ll be able to surprise / blindside your opponent.
The same is true in personal development; people with differing skills and abilities are often more effective than people who are tightly focused. They can see things from multiple angles and come up with more solutions. Be sure to do what you are, but do some other things, too. Sometimes you’ll hear this described as “developing a talent stack.”
You aren’t going to stay the same. That’s okay, don’t be scared of it. Sometimes when Pokémon evolve, their type changes, and therefore the Moves they learn change. They become something new.
Same thing happens with human personal development, too. You’re going to change, and you’ll find you’re better at (or more interested in) different skills and abilities. This can be scary, and can feel like a step back, but it’s not. It’s the next big step forward in your development.
Sometimes, the Moves you choose to learn impact what you Evolve into next.
The skills and abilities you learn (and choose to forget) along the way will shape what you can learn next. If Eevee learns a Fairy-type move, it’s more likely she’ll evolve into a Sylveon. It’s the same with you. Consider that as you choose the skills, abilities, and experiences you want to pursue.
Individual battles are less important than big challenges.
In Pokémon, the story advances as the player earns “Gym badges” by battling through a themed Gym, with many trainers to battle and typically puzzle elements. These badges are what record the player’s history and accomplishments in the games, not the individual battles.
In personal and professional development, it’s much the same. Your “record” on smaller challenges will go unnoticed; but small battles in context of a bigger challenge will mean a lot more. Handling individual issues on their own is one thing, but handling issues in the context of a much larger challenge will have a bigger impact on your life, and will give you a story to tell later.
Keep this in mind when choosing what battles to fight, what to focus on, and what to prepare for.
You learn the most from your friends.
In modern Pokémon games, the rate at which certain Pokémon gain experience, evolve, and even the power of certain Moves is directly related to the strength of the friendship between the Pokémon and its trainer. It’s the same for you, too — you’ll learn more from the people you get along with than from those you don’t. Therefore, it’s important to…
Play well with others.
The Pokémon games center around learning about the various Pokémon species and developing good relationships with your pocket monsters. Everyone, even the “enemies” in the games, are on that same journey. As such they will talk to you about what they’ve learned, and therefore help you along your path. The common trait of the “enemies” in all the games is a desire to be exclusive, not sharing information with outsiders and attempting to discover (and typically exploit) everything they can about the Pokémon in their region. Exclusivity, or intentionally not playing well with others, is always the losing approach in these games.
Our personal development paths are very similar. We’re all on the same journey; working to learn about the world around us and ourselves. Seeing others as competition, or worse, enemies, is always a losing proposition.
In the Pokémon Trading Card Game, it is in the rules that every match begins with a handshake. Even though the players are entering a competition, they appreciate each other being there; because it is through the Experience of battle that they both grow and develop.