Posts Tagged ‘personal development’

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By @anarchyroll

Personal development and self-help are prime examples of noble causes with righteous intentions, hijacked by hacks and exploited for profit by wannabe writers and book publishing pigs. The gap between the advice of personal development material and its audience taking action is where mindless, repetitive, reused content has been plugged in for profit, for decades rather than an evolution of the genre for the betterment of the populace.

Tony Robbins seems like he wants to help the little guy, then you look at what it costs to attend his seminars and cynicism sets in quicker than you can say to yourself, I can’t afford that! I own written and audio copies of Stephen Covey books, yet no one I have ever lent them to has ever been able to implement his advice. Seth Godin attributes much of his success to Zig Ziglar, but for every Seth there are thousands upon thousands of people who bought those books on tape and got NOTHING out of them beyond something to listen to on the car ride to work.

I have listened to dozens of personal development audio books and read paper and electronic copies of even more. The vast majority of the material is presented in equal parts dense and abstract manner with ZERO emphasis on tangible application.

Tangible application is what the personal development genre of podcasts has been founded on over the past few years. Tim Ferriss is the unquestioned leader of the how to turn knowledge into application movement. His books have sold millions, and he is the unquestioned, undisputed king of podcasts as of press time. It came as little surprise to me that Tim Ferriss helped mentor Ryan Holiday into the literary and personal development powerhouse he is quickly becoming.

I read both The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy in record time for my standards. Both books have been revised, produced, and presented in a way that is a model for personal development books to follow going forward. Easily digestible, not overwhelming, not abstract, and ALL directed towards turning the knowledge into application for the average person.

Based in stoicism, the usual amounts of inspiration quotes and past stories are given. But what Holiday proves his worth at is bringing all his concepts from thousands of years ago, to hundreds, to the present day. From camels, to horseback, to Uber. From scribes, to letters, to the iPad.

So much personal development material is based upon the concept of thoughts and general information OR is merely a tool to get people to pay money for coaching and seminars. Those are why self-help and personal development is laughable to many and considered snake oil to many others.  Holiday’s material is about action. What to do, how to do it, when to do it, where to do it, why to do it. Examples of historic figures are used but Holiday repeatedly emphasizes the importance of the readers’ duty to define what IT means to them.

Guiding people through their personal internal and external limits is no easy work. In his books The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy Ryan Holiday does an exceptional job at leading his readers to water on how to conquer both. Both books are easy, quick reads without sacrificing depth or breadth of credible, applicable information. I can’t recommend these enough and the earlier in life one is able to read these books the better. Knowledge like this will certainly help the populace more than algebra and frog dissection.

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by @anarchyroll

I have been journaling and setting goals for years. Usually journaling to help clear my mind and goal setting to focus it.

I usually don’t put much thought into the style and/or organization of my journaling and goal setting. I kept my goals in my head for the most part until a few years ago when I lost sight of who I was, where I was, and where I was going in life.

I was happy to discover that after writing my long-term goals and my goals for what would allow me to die a happy man; that I had never actually lost sight of the goals, I had just allowed myself to be shamed and discouraged by various people in my life into thinking my goals were unrealistic and non respectable.

Journaling helped me see that although I had a long way to go to achieve my goals, it didn’t matter what others thought of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. What mattered was my own piece of mind. Journaling helped me see that I had veered very far off course and had dug a very deep hole for myself. Goal setting helped me lay out a tangible and realistic plan and path out of the hole and back onto the right path.

My journaling process recently evolved for the sake of organization and archive accessibility which I’ll write about later. It was something I had thought about doing and had half heartedly done with various smart phone apps, notes, etc. But my goal setting process never really changed. I wrote out my long-term goals. Broke them down into smaller pieces to be achievable in the medium, short, and immediate terms. Occasionally, through meditation I would review them to make sure they were the things in life I wanted to pursue.

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Then within two weeks by two different people I was turned onto the concept of daily goal writing. First by my bereavement counselor Frank who proposed daily goal setting as well as using the S.M.A.R.T Goals model. Then about a week later, during my lunch break, I was listening to a podcast by Brendon Burchard that was almost completely dedicated to daily goal writing.

Physically writing out the goals is key, not just typing it out on laptop keyboard or digital keyboard on a smart phone.

At first I was just writing my base goals over and over, day after day. Then I started including some of my smaller day-to-day goals. Then I started using different wording to describe the goals. Then I started incorporating medium term goals. Then I incorporated stuff I wanted to buy followed by budgeting/saving plans. Then I started getting extra specific with how I wanted to achieve the goals and so on and so on.

As a writer this helps me a lot by getting me writing regardless of my mood or time constraints. But even people who aren’t writers, don’t like writing, and don’t care about writers or writing can and will benefit from daily goal writing. Why? Because daily writing will get you thinking about your goals and will keep the goals in the front of your mind because you are revisiting them every day by rewriting them everyday.

There’s something about physically writing something.

When you write the goal and see it written down it gives you perspective one where you are currently on your path to achieving the goal. This will get you both consciously and unconsciously thinking about the goal(s). More often than not the goal will be too generic and obscure so over time you’ll naturally;

  • Specify how you want to achieve the goal(s)
  • Put a more concrete time frame on achieving the goal(s)
  • Revisit why the goal is important to you (and if it still is)
  • Write and revise action steps to tangibly achieve the goal(s) step by step
  • Discover new goals you want to achieve
  • Realize if you are living your life in a way that lends itself to achieving your goal(s)

Daily goal writing dissolves the pie in the sky paradigm of goal setting. Putting the goal down on paper everyday rain or shine, changes the very nature of how you view and go about trying to achieve your goal(s).

This act has had subtle and noticeable changes in my life already.

  1. I’m finding it easier to focus and prioritize/schedule my time.
  2. I’m looking at how I spend my time when I’m not working my day job.
  3. I’m questioning my day job.
  4. I’m incorporating the goals into my meditation sessions by making sure to do success visualizations in addition to my usual meditation regiment.

Everyone is different and we all have different goals for different reasons. My goals are going to be different from the people reading this blog as they are different from my close friends and family. But like there are universal principles to live by, there are also actions that are universally considered helpful in life. Writing/journaling is one of them.

The most successful people in the history of the world have kept a journal of some sort which helped them achieve their goals of being successful and therefore remembered forever. One’s definition of success may not be to be remembered forever in books and tales, but anyone can benefit from using the lessons of the successful people who have come before us in doing the simple and easy things that build a successful life.

Daily journal writing is one, goal setting is another. The two make a natural combination. I hope combing the two helps you as much and more than it helps me.

 

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by @anarchyroll
10/7/2014

Meditation has been a gift to my life that I am forever grateful for. If my body raced as fast and as consistently as my mind did, then Usain Bolt would be my lackey.

I have varied my meditations by;

  • length (2, 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes)
  • time of day (morning, afternoon, evening, late night)
  • focus level (breath only, visualizations, purposeful wandering)

One of the best modifications to meditation I have found is the incorporation of binaural beats.

I didn’t realize I was using binaural beats until I was on a date and the woman I was with was describing this app I had downloaded the previous year with a variety of sounds to stimulate the mind for a variety of reasons. The app is called is call Brainwave Tuner. I downloaded it shortly after hitting rock bottom in the autumn of 2012 (death in family, loss of job, dropout of college) as a small way to help turn my life around. When I downloaded it, I wasn’t exactly sure how it could help me, but my inner voice was telling me that it would help me in the future, and it has.

What I like about the app as opposed to singular binaural beats that people listen to and watch on YouTube is that the app has around twenty different beats, each with its own specific purpose. It certainly is no miracle drug or magic pill, but it is not snake oil either. It helps me achieve deeper levels of meditation, relieves tension headaches, and helps me concentrate on doing work. This article as well as my last 20 in a row, and a decent amount of the previous 170 have been written while listening to binaural beats.

Specifically in regards to pairing binaural beats with meditation, which is the primary use; I find it is good to alternate between using them and going without any additional sound/audio guidance. BUT if one lives in a loud, crowded, urban environment I recommend using either binaural beats, new age music, or audio based guidance for a vast majority of meditation sessions to aid in elimination of external distraction(s).Binaural beats can be purchased, which I do recommend doing, but one should certainly utilize YouTube to dip their toes in the water and get a sample of the effect(s) the beats can have on them.

The more people who meditate, the better. The more variety of meditations, the better. If binaural beats are used to get people to meditate who wouldn’t, or help people experience deeper meditations then they are a gift on par with meditation itself. The certainly have helped me to meditate longer and deeper with more focus. For that I am grateful and recommend them to all.

 

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by @anarchyroll
8/6/2014

Overcoming fear is part of life. They say fear is only in the mind, so is the idea that overcoming fear is a single act or moment that lasts forever.

Conquering fear is a process. If you want to master a skill, it will be a process of growth. Like exercising, if the muscle(s) aren’t continuously worked, they will regress.

Fear is bad enough, and gets written about quite a bit. A concept/aspect of fear that I am yet to encounter literature on is the habit of fear. The habit(s) of thinking, perceiving, and/or acting in fear based ways can remain long after the fear itself has been conquered.

These habits of thought, perception, and action can cause the illusion of regression, which can then cause a regression in the model of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have noticed within myself that even when I don’t feel any physical fear or anxiety when attempting to do something that once terrified me, I will sometimes still not follow through with the right action that is in line with my goals. Why would I not take action if I’m not feeling afraid or thinking fearful thoughts?

Because there is a vacuum of space in my mind and spirit where fear used to be. The habits of fear based thoughts, perceptions, and actions are so cemented into my being after so many years, that it isn’t enough to blow up the concrete, I have to build something new as well.

It is both frustrating and humbling, because it exposes the progress I have made as well as the lack thereof. It lets me know I have much work still left to do after what feels like two lifetimes worth of an odyssey of the mind, heart, and spirit.

It is also something I was/am unprepared for. I thought once I stopped having such frequent, intense panic attacks when pressed up against the edge of my comfort zone that I would just naturally move forward by larger and larger increments. I falsely assumed once I reached a certain point of progress I would only take steps forward as opposed to continuing to take steps backwards.

I thought conquering fear was a destination, not an ongoing process.

But there is no aspect of personal development that is a final destination. Constant growth, evolution, improvement, change is required to achieve any and all goals. Whether the goal is material or immaterial, internal or external, physical or metaphysical.

I just wish I would have known that there would be a vacuum of space that existed where the fear used to be. The habit of fear in addition to the fear itself. That getting to the top of the mountain doesn’t mean much unless there is infrastructure below me to get back down and move on to the next challenge life has to offer.

I know what I have to do and should do which is choosing to do courage and taking right action. But I have fallen into holes in the ground of not doing what I know I should/need to do, then getting caught in the paralysis of analysis. Getting trapped in a cycle of going to sleep determined and waking up with progress amnesia. So many bad habits formed and cemented during all of my formative years. I go to sleep having made progress getting out of a ditch only to wake up in the morning to find I sleep-walked my way back to where I was yesterday, last week, last month, etc.

Habits, not the fear itself, but the residual effects of living a fear based existence for 3/4 of my life. I don’t feel afraid but I act afraid. I don’t take action when I want to because I am so used to being to afraid to act that stagnation is the status quo.

The habit of fear. Another obstacle to get to self-mastery. Though this concept feels more like black ice than a brick wall.

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by @anarchyroll
7/20/2014

Learning how to talk to women in bars and nightclubs for the sole purpose of having casual/promiscuous sex is not what one would call the traditional road to enlightenment and inner peace. The Game by Neil Strauss is not a personal development/self-help book. It is an entertaining non fiction story intertwined with a how to manual of how to become a more socially suave man. Many women think of this book and other “seduction” manuals and are offended at the concept and existence of such material. The seduction community has some message board posts that can be considered the Rosetta Stone of internet trolling. However, without The Game I never would have become a well read person, and never would have been able to look beyond the stigma of consuming personal development/self-help materials.

I was never taught how to talk to women, or how to talk to girls for that matter. I was socially conditioned during my youth of watching television to look at women as either objects or villains. Pamela Anderson and pro wrestling provided me an education of women that I was too afraid to learn from first hand experience. Embarrassment and looking dumb in public settings while interacting with women is often too much for the male ego to bear.

There are plenty of men out there who when it comes every level of interacting with women are natural(s). They are the exception, not the rule.  The inability and/or unwillingness most men have push through the pain of getting to the other side of their comfort zone, is much more of a psychological/medical condition that  most people would give it credit for. The genuine emotional and mental pain most men experience at just the thought of failing at socializing with the opposite sex is hard to put into words. To imply one needs to simply man up, is akin to telling clinically diagnosed psychotics to just stop being crazy.

My inability and ignorance with the opposite sex led to an uncountable number of panic attacks, emotional breakdowns/meltdowns, and repeated diversions of time, concentration, and effort in the direction of my life’s purpose.

In the tradition of the double-edged sword, being introduced to The Game eventually led to me to reading other self-help books as well as the personal development and human potential movements. I discovered both after consuming so much social dynamics and pick up artist material, that I realized the hole I was trying to fill inside of myself was deeper and more profound than a hook up or series of hook ups could fill.

But I never would have gotten to personal development without The Game. The social stigma that pick up artists face is the same that self-help books have. That something is unnatural or wrong about both the information and the people who consume/apply the material(s). I thought self-help was stupid and to consume that knowledge meant that I was weak, defective, and a failure of a human being. I thought having to read a book about how to meet women meant that I was a failure as a man.

The real failure is in knowing one is not living their life the way they want to and/or feel they should and continuing to live that way rather than seeking help in the knowledge of books or mentors. Although we would all prefer to be perfect inside and out, part of the human condition is the inadequacies we have as people internally and/or externally. I am happy that my decision to face rather than deny my failures as a social being as a gateway to address the rest of my deficiencies at both the deep and shallow levels.

And it’s a fun book to read.

 

ssrlogo2ajclogo2by @anarchyroll
7/13/2014

Life is simple but not easy.

A paradox that confuses and confounds more human beings than those who have a grasp on it. Identifying problems is simple, enacting solutions is not easy.

I am aware of most of my flaws, shortcomings, and failures but taking the corrective action I know that I need to take is difficult at the highest level. Becoming aware was simple, taking action has not been easy.

I have been amazed at how hard enacting solutions has been in my personal development. I see my errors and/or am aware when I am taking a step backwards, failing, etc but it is as if there is an invisible hand metaphorically holding me in place, holding me in a script of stagnant, repetitive, counter productive decisions and/or actions.

I think there are a lot of people who can relate. I don’t look at myself as some kind of uniquely cursed wannabe martyr. I believe an overwhelming number of human beings struggle with self mastery. Finding the balance between patience and hustle can be tricky.

Paradigms die hard and shift slow. Traditionally change is slow and gradual. But the ego/shadow or the part of yourself that doesn’t want to change will use the truth of slow change, as an excuse and justification for not taking action in the moments of choice.

To be a coward when courage is required. I have run against this sticking point which at times feels like bouncing off a brick wall. How to move past this? Identifying that is simple:

  • Persistence of effort
  • Boldness and trust in the face of adversity and the unknown
  • Pushing through the pain period

That is what is required, that I know.

How to enact those principles, tactics, and techniques when my mind is racing or blank, my breathing is short, my stomach is in knots, and/or my limbs are shaky? Well, that’s hard, but nothing worth having comes easy. And self-mastery and living life as the best version of myself is certainly worth having.

 

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by @anarchyroll
7/11/2014

Robert Green is never afraid to tackle the subjects that are so big and ubiquitous that they are more often worried about than talked about.

Mastery like The 48 Laws of Power that came before it, can fall under the category of practical life instruction manual. If you want to know how to get from where you are to where you want to be, in regards to what you dedicate your life to.

Using mini biographies of multiple historical figures from hundreds of years ago, to a hundred years ago, to modern-day masters of their craft(s), Greene uses his storytelling ability to show how anyone can be the next Albert Einstein or Freddie Roach.

The beauty of the book is the same place where the devil is, in the details. The book does it’s part to kill the concept of the magic pill (the mythical thing that will shortcut us to where we want to be without any of the hard work or sacrifice).

Although natural gives, talent, charisma, etc is acknowledged it takes a distant backseat to the hard work, time, and sacrifice each figure of study committed to becoming the legends they are known as. The book teaches many lessons of life that should be mandatory in public schools, especially for adolescents. But, there are more than the lions share of adults living their life in a waking daze, who would benefit immensely from reading this book.

Applying sweat equity to natural gifts and desire is the way to success. Patience, perseverance, and personal boundaries must be exercised along the way. Learning from those who came before you, as well as those who are considered better than you by your peers is a valuable resource, as long as you use the knowledge to improve yourself, and evolve that which you wish to do with your life. There are no shortcuts, but you must seize opportunities of fortune that come your way and maximize the potential of the moment to maximize your personal potential.

Mastery like all of Greene’s work is not a quick or easy read, which is appropriate. Because to attain knowledge and mastery (no pun intended) of the subjects he writes about, quickness and easiness have no place near attaining the information Greene writes about and shares with the world.

No matter what your passion in life is, reading Mastery will help you become better at it. The information in the book is principle based as opposed to tactic/technique based. Consuming then applying the information in this book can help make you not just a better worker or a better person, but can bring you vastly closer to being your best self, and not just doing what you want with your life, but it can lead you down the path of being the best at it.

I recommend reading Mastery or in my case, listening to the audio book, wholeheartedly because it is everything that is right about the personal development/self-help movement, mindset, and book genre.

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by @anarchyroll
7/2/2014

One must be aware they have a problem and/or need to change before anything can be accomplished in the direction of personal growth.

However, awareness is only the first step and personal development/self help is way more than a twelve step staircase.

The intent to change is mandatory. One must state their intent to themselves, writing it down in a journal is also mandatory. However, the intent to change can be a double-edged sword to those who think that awareness of a problem/short coming and the intent to change will do the work for them.

This is one of my biggest personal failures in my quest to be my best self. Constantly, repeatedly thinking that my intent to change will do the work for me when I am pressed up against my comfort zone in the moment(s) of choice.

There is no substitute for taking action.

No amount of awareness or positive intent to change will create substantial change. The negative/counter productive habits of thought, perception, and action can only be changed by consistent new actions to create new points of reference. Only by taking the actions and creating a new pool of reference experiences will you create your new reality.

That is how we dig ourselves into holes, that is how we dig ourselves out; action.

Awareness is the way out, that is true. One can’t change without the intent to change, that is also true.

But we only change outside of our comfort zone. It is easy to be aware of our short comings and intend to change while we’re not being tested by ourselves or by the external world around us. Feeling the fear in the stomach when the moment of choice is upon us, is where/when we must exercise courage and take action in the direction of the change and new reality we wish to manifest.

Trying and failing is fine. Trying and coming up a little short is fine. Step by step, day by day. But the key word/concept is trying, trying is action. We must build new reference experiences for our mind to access. Those reference experiences, as the continuously, constantly accumulate, eventually become our new reality for better and for worse. We can do this with an exercise regiment or by eating like a pig, by being the life of the party or a wallflower, cultivating a new hobby/skill set or binge watching digital video programming.

That’s why the saying goes: “easier said than done”.

Awareness is not easy to cultivate, having it is an accomplishment.

Intent to change eludes many for entire lifetimes.

But at the end of the day anyone can want to change, think they have to change, plan to change, and say they want to change. But it’s all about action. We can’t pay our bills with positive intention. I won’t meet a romantic partner because I am aware that I want to. None of us progress (or decline) without action. Don’t get caught in the ego centered quicksand of believing that wanting to change is enough, simply wanting anything is never enough.

Action

 

 

 

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by @anarchyroll
6/18/2014

Personal development and self-help books by their nature tend to be happy, optimistic, and positive. If people wanted something to make them feel bad, scared, or hopeless they could simply turn on local evening news.

I have personally read/listened to around 200 non fiction books/audio books with more than half being personal development books. Many of them have overlapping principles, paradigms, tactics, advice, themes, and tones. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene is by far the most unique personal development book I have ever read. If personal development books are pop music, then The 48 Laws of Power is Nirvana and Robert Greene is Kurt Cobain.

A summary of the 48 Laws can be found here.

Looking over just the first few laws, you’ll notice a striking difference between the advice offered and the content of books by the likes of Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and Stephen Covey. I would say that it is the opposite which is a good thing. Variety is the spice of life. Human beings, especially those living in urban environments, need to be aware of the concepts that The 48 Laws of Power presents.

Positive thinking is important. Treating other people the way you want to be treated is worthy of being called the golden rule. Honesty is the best policy.

Over reliance on rah-rah self-help material can lead to naïvety. It did for me. We must know how the world, outside of our circle of influence, operates. We must see the best in people but also be aware of and prepared for dealing with the worst in and worst kind of people. The 48 Laws of Power will prepare its reader for the types of people, situations, and aspects of life we wish didn’t exist and choose not to acknowledge, but are there, and affecting our lives nonetheless.

As someone who actively studies/reads up on politics, economics, and environmental news, I see those in power utilizing concepts in The 48 Laws of Power in order to get what they want at the expense of those beneath them on the social, political, and economics pyramids of society. One need not put anything from The 48 Laws of Power into practice, but all the concepts are important to be aware of.

Awareness is one of the key concepts of personal development and self-help. Often, personal development books for all the right reasons, want us to be hyper aware of the positive, the light, and beauty of life. Those are all good things to be aware of, happy, and grateful for in every present moment of every day of one’s life. At the same time, on the opposite end of the spectrum, we must also be aware of the negative, darkness, and ugliness of the world we live in. Maybe keep the awareness of the latter towards the back of your mind, with awareness of the good things at the forefront.

Naivety is the fuel for manipulation. I recommend every adult human being read The 48 Laws of Power because it will make you less naïve and less prone to being manipulated. In a world of Ponzi schemes and political scandals, con artists and corruption, wolves and takers; one need not become a bitter, distrusting, paranoid, zealot simply by reading a book about methods of manipulation used by those in power to maintain and expand it. But awareness of the principles to balance with the power of positive thinking can help a person become more well-rounded and more capable of navigating the outside world that is full of things outside of their ability to control or influence. That is at the heart of what personal development literature is all about and that is why The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene is a personal development book, just an alt rock version.

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