“You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.”
– Abraham Maslow
The title for this post comes from the subtitle of Steve Pavlina’s book Personal Development for Smart People.
What do these ideas of personal growth and personal development mean?
One of the most influential psychologists who defined the human potential movement, Abraham Maslow (1908–1970) noted, “Self-actualization means using one’s intelligence.
“It does not mean doing some far-out thing necessarily, but it may mean going through an arduous and demanding period of preparation in order to realize one’s possibilities…
“Self actualization means working to do well the thing that one wants to do.”
Read more in these articles:
Image with Maslow quote from post: 10 Thought-Provoking Self-Education Quotes On Learning and School, DIY Genius site.
Finding a method with head and heart
As Pavlina points out, the personal development and self-improvement area is not only huge, but often fragmented, varying widely from one expert to another in terms of consistency and value of information.
Even leaders such as Maslow can present dynamic ideas about personal growth in a way that is often academic, rather than including practical strategies to help us actually grow.
In studying the field for many years, Pavlina says he “realized that an intelligent approach to personal development would have to resolve these incongruencies somehow.
“Such an approach would have to make logical and intuitive sense, satisfying both head and heart. It would have to appear logically correct in order to satisfy the left brain, and it would have to feel intuitively correct in order to engage the right brain.”
His book succeeds at doing that. This is not a simple or superficial prescription, but rather a clear and well-researched overview of principles he found to be a “common pattern behind all successful growth efforts,” followed by a section (about half the book) of practical exercises and applications.
Facing the truth
One of those principles is facing the truth honestly.
Pavlina quotes writer Henry Miller:
“Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.
“What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for [those who have] the vision to recognize it as such.”
Pavlina explains: “Truth is the first principle of personal development. We primarily grow as human beings by discovering new truths about ourselves and our reality.
“You’ll certainly learn some important lessons no matter how you live, but you can accelerate your growth tremendously by consciously seeking truth and deliberately turning away from falsehood and denial.”
30-days to change a habit
One of the exercises and strategies for habit change he describes is the method of “30-day trials” that he had known from his years as a software developer.
The idea is for a company (Adobe is one of numerous examples) to provide a potential customer a free trial of a software application, knowing many people will go on to purchase it.
Pavlina notes making a change in a habit – one of the core aspects of personal growth – is the most difficult during the first few days, and that if you can make it through thirty days, you are likely to overcome inertia and keep going.
Truthful, loving, strong
Reading the thoughtful principles and making use of them by following the practical exercises and strategies, Personal Development for Smart People can be an effective tool for helping us realize our talents and possibilities.
See more quotes from the book on the Personal Growth Information site.
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Articles by belief change teacher and author Morty Lefkoe:
You can eliminate at least one of your limiting beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process at his site: ReCreate Your Life.
Article publié pour la première fois le 10/09/2014