Personal development is a process, and the latest seminar in this series was a chance to highlight this by summarising the previous sessions (using the example of our emotions to emphasise each stage). Knowing that there is an underlying process makes it easier for us to evaluate where we are, what we need to do, and what the likely outcome will be. It also opens the door to being able to monitor and chart our progress, which is a more powerful motivator than we could possibly imagine. In addition, recording our progress provide us with evidence of our success; evidence which becomes unexpectedly valuable during those times when the mind tries to convince us otherwise.
The following entries offer further insight into the nature of the process. (Page numbers refer to the book, Evolution By Natural Reflection.)
Make Yourself (Happy) (p.189)
This entry concludes by stating that ‘…the mere act of working on yourself can make you happy.‘ It applies the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work on ‘Flow‘ to personal development, pointing out that the core characteristics of a flow experience – such as goals, feedback, focus and awareness – can also be found when working on ourselves. Therefore, not only will the result of the work lead to happiness, engaging in the very process itself will do the same.
4 Hours, 4 Weeks, 4 Months (p.436)
I included this entry in TS#4, and it appears again here because the list it contains is such a beautiful description of the process. I elaborate on the list in the video below (from 13:00).
- Progress has already been made. Confidence is there. (This is the first place we are likely to get cocky.)
- Belief in the process is still lacking (understandably).
- Experiencing the self with eyes open – your behaviour has been like this for years and now you are seeing it more clearly and feeling saddened by it. (This is normal & natural).
- Everything seems to be getting worse, not better. (Again, all normal & natural parts of the process.)
- The realisation that this is going to take discipline.
- Breakthrough – all the hard work is paying off. Whatever the catalyst was, progress would not have happened without all the work you put in beforehand. You are more relaxed, more accepting.
- Good things start to happen. (This is another place we are likely to get cocky.)
- Realisation, belief, calm.
A powerfully effective question which wakes us up from our indulgences and leads us inevitably into a creative space where we realise that, whatever is going on, there is always something we can do about it. The question – and the process you go through when you ask it – will show you that you can exert a very definite influence over your thoughts, your feelings, and your circumstances.
Step By Step (p.385)
It is important to be patient with the process (and with ourselves). Mastering anything takes time, as the following extract suggests. But as you read it, also know this: you can access everything you are looking to achieve in an instant because your well-being is in your control. All it takes sometimes is a different thought.
‘Some opponents of evolution have argued that there is no way nature could have accomplished such diversity with its hit-and-miss methods. But they overlook the vastness of the time frames involved in the development of life on earth. Similarly, we find it difficult to envisage the differences we can make to our lives when asked to perform relatively simple tasks such as observing and recording our behaviour. They seem insufficient, inadequate. The secret, though, is time. Given enough of it, everything is possible. Time is one of the most powerful tools we have. So take it. It’s all yours. Take your time and move forward gradually, step by step.‘
I favour a simple life, and whilst some caution should be shown towards simplicity for simplicity’s sake, there is often great beauty to be found there. For example, a few simple rules can easily give rise to complex, intricate systems of immense wonder. Therefore, if there exist simple ways to create wonderful results, then we should seek them out and make them part of our everyday life. The final message of this seminar was one example of that:
01:31 – Be your own positive voice. (Awareness, The Mind, Procedures)
04:32 – All it takes is one thought… (Practise letting go and serving yourself better)
06:38 – You create your reality. (The power of thought, clarity & intention)
10:41 – Keep building the foundations.
12:55 – Explanation of the 8 steps listed above (You’ll see it when you believe it!)
21:31 – Make use of your emotions (to do this work).
24:45 – But don’t indulge in your emotions. (‘What are you going to do about it?‘)
27:10 – It’s all about slight improvements. That’s all it takes. (Just keep practising.)
28:20 – The paradox of patience and instant improvement.