I’ve been a student of personal development since the age of 15. No matter which path you take, which teacher your adopt or which philosophy you study, there are common strands among all of them. If personal growth is something that is important to you i.e., you enjoy spending time learning about your nature and how you can expand your being/consciousness/awareness, then I know you’ll be able to relate to everything that I’m about to talk about and these core principles.
When I talk about personal growth, it’s a generic term and to me. I believe it’s synonymous with religion, spirituality, self-help, personal development, and enlightenment. The end goal is the same and only thing that is different is the name we give it.
Courses in Personal Growth
You can go on many different types of personal development courses. They could be about Wealth and Finance, NLP, mastering your destiny. The truth is, I really don’t think you need them. Most people go to them, enjoy the vibe, get really excited, come away energised and then a few days later, they’re back to square one. If you’re not prepared to action what you learn, then save yourself some money. It’s better to buy the books, put into practise the exercises or recommendations, and then see how far you get. Chart your progress. If you can take that first step and make change, only them invest in a seminar to learn further.
If you’ve been on as many of these as I have, then you’ll know that most of these courses offer the same information packaged in various ways. There are a few that will offer you something very special and very unique. So if you decide to invest and go, choose and spend your money wisely.
NLP and Coaching
NLP is an amazing tool and an ever increasing number of organisations are integrating it’s power to develop it’s people. Life coaches often use it to help clients move through blocks, give clarity, purpose and direction.
You can learn all that you need to by acquiring a few good books on the subject and reading them through thoroughly. Sometimes it’s good to have someone there to remind you of the key components which will relate to you and that’s where coaches can assist your growth. If you decide to take that route, choose a coach who isn’t someone who uses the same formula for each client.
I remember reading an article where the journalist had decided to take on a life coach. He talked about the processes he was put through and when I read the article I really felt sorry for him. It sounded like he’d chosen the most boring and clinical coach possible.
Find a life coach that understands how to really tap into you. Who isn’t following a set formula and knows that you are totally different from the last person they coached. Your needs are different and so shop around for a coach that resonates with you.
One thing I promise you is that no matter which personal development book you read, you will come across all of these principles, perhaps in a different vernacular, but the core messages will always be the same. An example of this is the power of choice or decision. EVERYTHING BEGINS WITH A CHOICE and that is why it is the core power of all human beings. Nothing would happen without you making a decision about it first.
It’s like the eternal debate of cause versus effect, or free will versus fate. If you really want to look at the inn’s an out’s of the debate I guarantee you that after exploring both very carefully you will come to the same conclusion that I have.
I’ve decided to split these into 3 different categories of which all can apply to pretty much whatever you do in life. Whether it be relationships, career, financial or physical you will be able to use these principles to determine which direction your life takes. The principles of the body are just a view I have of maintaining physical balance that keeps you healthy and strong so that you can do all the things that you enjoy.
1. Being choosy – The power of choice or decision
‘Things do not happen. Things are made to happen’
– John F Kennedy
I’ve already spoken about this briefly and I wanted to touch on it a little bit more. Are you manufactured through your influences e.g. your parents or do you have a greater say in whom you become? I remember a scene from Star Trek Nemesis where Shinzon (the evil dude) says to Captain Picard “I cannot change who I am”. Bull! Of course you can! You can change you who desire to be at the drop of a hat! And that is all it takes is the power of your decision. How hard is it for you to say to yourself: “Today I choose to be the designer of my future and will consciously take control of where I would like my life to go!”
Sometimes people are afraid of making the wrong choice or decision and I tell you there is no such thing. Once you’ve made a choice it sealed in time so how can it be wrong? It either went the way you wanted or it didn’t. Indecision is a curse because all you do is put your life on hold. You waste your own valuable time. I’m not saying you should make rash decisions but I am saying learn how to make them quickly without feeling a sense of regret and hindsight. Just learn and move forward.
It’s all about the power of decision and when you realise you have this power you can then put fresh on light on all of the events in your life.
2. What do you see? – The understanding of perception
Do you remember this picture – Old or young woman? What did you see? Did you see the old woman? Did you see the young girl? Or do you just see a combination of lines making up various shapes?
How you choose to see something is the deciding factor of how you respond to any situation. What may seem like a tragedy to you may seem like an opportunity to another.
If you experience some kind of tragedy, whether it be something minor or something life changing, see the balance and know there is some kind of opportunity.
How you choose to see something will always define what meaning it gives you. When you realise you are in control of that you will see a whole world of opportunity open up to you.
3. The power to ask quality questions
“Why is this always happening to me?” – Does that sound familiar? It does to me because I’ve been there many times. What you’ve done is basically ask yourself a question. Look at the question again. What are you going to respond with? You’re going to respond with similar quality answers. If anything you’re going to get answers that are going to perpetuate responses of helplessness and despair.
When people come to me with a problem and they ask me for advice generally the first thing I ask them is: “If someone came to you with this very same problem what would you advise them?” Immediately it shifts their focus and they look at it from a different angle and they suddenly find themselves solving the very problem that they came to me about.
Questions shift what you focus on and ultimately the results you get in life. Go away and examine how you question events that occur and you’ll realise that often you get the same thing happening in your life because you’ve been asking yourself the same questions over and over again.
1. Munch Munch – Eating Sensibly
You don’t have to become a vegan or do mega fasts just to become healthy. All you need to do is eat sensibly and have a balanced diet. Some people do try various extremes of dieting or ways to change their shape but most of those methods are temporary and generally do more damage than good.
I think Tony Robbins says it best when he have a salad with every meal. You can’t really get a simpler diet than that and it’s one you can stick to for life! Be sensible and realise that certain things in extreme are bad for you of which there is no question. Examples are caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and sugar. Any number of things could kill you really so that’s not my reason for avoiding those substances.
My reasons are that the quality of my day to day is better! By doing the same you won’t get as many health issues later in life. When you do get to your retirement at least you’ll have the capacity to do something with the precious time that is now yours!
2. Hop to it! – Regular exercise
I mentioned this to someone today and the simplest way of doing this is finding a physical activity that you love doing and you’ll have absolutely no problem keeping it up! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again generally speaking if I have a choice between a hot date and badminton, 9 times out of 10 I’ll choose badminton!
When you have that much passion for something you don’t need any motivation to keep it up. You’ll actually just keep it up because you love doing it so much! The challenge is finding something you love doing. Maybe I’m just privileged to have found something that I love but I don’t believe that’s the case! I know there’s something out there for everyone and you’re only task is to find it and then you’ll be home free!
I think the theme song from Rocky V sums it up best “GO FOR IT” for what could be simpler than that! You’ll never know if you like something or not unless you try!
3. Bottoms up! – Drinking water.
Some years ago I never used to drink a drop of water and because of that I developed many health issues. The problem was that I didn’t like the taste of water and you may feel the same way. I had to force myself to get into the habit and now I love it! Again there’s an easy way of doing this and that is to get yourself to a point where you’re feeling a little bit thirsty everyday by doing mild exercise and then quenching it with water only.
Once you get into the habit you’ll have no problem keeping it up! Remember that all you need is 1 – 2 litres a day. On days when you’ve exercised you’ll have no problem having the 2 litres but on days where you don’t exercise I suggest doing some mild activity like running up the stairs a few times and you’ll generate enough of a thirst to want water.
Here’s a little NLP trick you can do: Imagine that you’ve been walking in a baking desert for hours and you are completely parched!! You come across an ice cold glass of water and the glass is covered and dripping with delicious condensation. You pick up the glass and drink! How refreshing is that!
Since drinking water regularly my health has improved so much and I find that I’m able to focus for much longer, sleep less, and have much more energy and greater zest for life!
1. The power of gratitude or love
You won’t get anything more in life unless you’re grateful what you have now. Some people absolutely loved ‘The Secret’ and other people hated it and criticised it with a vengeance! Whether you loved or hated it, whether you believe in the science behind ‘the law of attraction’ or not, there was an amazing bit of truth in that DVD and that is the power of gratitude or love. Yes, the two are synonymous!
It boils down to how you choose to see things and what questions you ask yourself. If you ask yourself: “What am I grateful for right now?” you’ll realise over time that there is so much within your life to be grateful for. When you feel gratitude you suddenly feel lighter, much happier and much much more fulfilled in life. Suddenly you won’t need something outside of yourself to make you happy.
Every day, just for a few minutes, make some time and be grateful for the wonderful things in your life.
2. Tapping into the inner creative genius
Everyone has a creative genius within and no one could ever convince me otherwise of this! If you haven’t discovered your own it’s time to let it emerge! One key to letting it out is using meditation. The trouble with meditation is that most people believe they need a special time and place to do it. You can do it sitting at your office desk, on the train or in bed.
Anyone can meditate and I promise you this; whether you realise it or not, you’ve already done it! Have you ever had one of those moments where you drift off into thought or zone out or daydream? You were meditating! You were doing it in a very unconscious way and so the trick is to learn to do it at will rather than just at haphazard times.
Find some quiet time where you can tap into this inner source of gems and you’ll be amazed at the phenomenal ideas you’ll come up with!
3. The power of being in this moment right now!
This last one is probably the most important one of all. I know you’ve heard the saying that life is a journey, not a destination. I want you really think about what that means for you. I’ll tell you what it means to me and it’s quite simple. This moment is the most important moment of your life. What you decide to do right now is more important than anything else at all. For me, the most important thing you can do in this moment, is be completely present within it. This is truly an art form and once you get the hang of this you’ll know exactly what I mean.
There is something so powerful about being present in this moment that really nothing else comes close. Of course, you have to choose to do it first. Once you’ve decided to do it become aware of your body. Become aware, for example, that right now your heart is pumping keeping you alive and say thank you for that. Switch onto the beauty of this moment. Any given moment is a universe of possibility.
This is just the starting point and then as you practice and get better you’ll think of new things and ways of being in the present.
Any time you feel lost or without purpose always just do this one step and I promise you it will get you back on track.
I’ve just scratched the surface and there is much more to come. Start putting into action some of the things I’ve mentioned and watch your life transform.