I consistently do some kind of every day investment, but it wasn’t always that way. For years I had fits and starts. I would gleefully spiral upward and then one of life’s frustration or disappointment, a rejection or label would pull me down. It was the classic, one step forward two steps back affect.
After years of “energy leakage” I finally realized that what I was doing was patching holes and repairing wounds with Band-Aids. I was addressing the symptoms. It was ineffective every day investment.
Spinning my wheels:
- I tried maintaining a positive attitude but ended up being pulled down.
- I read voraciously, viewing every book as a self-help book.
- I complained about my disappointments and frustrations to whoever would listen.
- Sarcasm, cynicism and pointing out faults gave me a false feeling of superiority and cleverness.
Even though life was pretty good, I felt a constant, vague background of unhappiness, anxiety and frustration….a lost in the wilderness feeling.
Quietly to myself, I was asking, is this it? There’s’ more but what was at the root of my experiencing life as flat, unimaginative, hopeless, unfulfilling and meaningless? It certainly wasn’t bad coffee, waking up on the wrong side of the bed or stepping in a mud puddle.
Eventually, false solutions gave me gradual insight into real solutions. So, I began working on what was causing me to feel lost, frustrated and hopeless rather than temporarily patching it up.
I came to realize that a positive attitude is nice but not enough. Reading hundreds of books is not enough. I needed every day investment.
Self-knowledge is the sine qua non. The essential condition.
It is impossible to progress continually upward—to transform your life if you don’t know who you are or what your purpose is. When I began to gain clarity, I became aware of the lack of alignment in pursuing upward growth while relying on outdated habits and harboring un-supporting negativity, anger, resentment and even rage for the world.
I found real progress,and this is what I now base my coaching on. Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow called this progress self-actualization. Indeed, self-actualization is an age-old human quest. As far back as Aristotle we see dialog, debate and exploration toward realizing your best Self. Aristotle was convinced that the struggle toward a genuinely happy life required the fulfillment of a broad range of conditions, including physical as well as mental well-being.
This is the struggle to become who you are—the struggle we all have in common. Why is it such an enigma, so hard to achieve?
In 1962, Abraham Maslow published his book, Towards a Psychology of Being that said less than 1% of the adult population manages to reach the top of the hierarchy—self-actualization.
I think people overlook or dismiss the nuances and tiny pitfalls, the reductive language and “acceptable negativity” that keeps us from deeply knowing ourselves and maximizing our true potential. We blame it on modernity—distractions, technology, etcetera. But this has been an enigma for years, long before technology or a “busy life” could be an excuse.
One of the first persons to teach psychology at Harvard, William James said (in 1899);we have a habit of inferiority to our full self. Compared to what we ought to be we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources.William James
We need to stop looking for a school of thought, theories or a system of thinking or approaches and awaken to our true, ultimate gift of endowed intelligence.
I now believe it is our moral obligation and our responsibility to make life on earth better each day (I’m not saying it’s easy). If your life feels flat, uninteresting, lacking in creativity, hopeless and meaningless, congratulations! You have just discovered your life’s purpose! Don’t waste another minute!
The biggest and broadest lesson is that life’s purpose is not to complain about what’s missing. Or to chase after perfection but rather to create a thriving existence in the face of imperfection. The cracks and imperfections are where the light shines in!
The TRUTH is we can solve a large majority of the world’s problems with a shift in attitude, energy and focus. The question is, are you up to the challenge that life offers?
What I now know for sure continues to evolve and grow into even more clarity and definitive action and commitment.
What can you do to be one of the 1% Club that manages to reach the top of the self-actualization hierarchy?
I cannot change your behavior. Following my advice is not an effective way for you to progress through the struggle to become who you are. Reading a concept or understanding how transformation can happen is comforting but not enough to sustain your consistent upward progress in the face of setbacks. You’ll be saddled with the one step forward, two steps back syndrome.
Only when you discover for yourself what works will you run toward progress blocking everything else out. Discovering what works for you is liberating. This is real freedom.
You are free from:
- Dogma—living with the results of other people’s beliefs
- Wondering if you are on the right track
- The tides of life pulling you out to sea or washing you on shore
This is a journey that involves the longest, deepest relationship you’ll ever have. The relationship you have with yourself should be the most coveted, the most treasured.
Use this generalized three-pronged approach to create your version of continual upward movement:
- Train and develop your mind
- Feed and guard your heart
- Transform your passions
As with anything implementation is key. We must connect knowing with doing, knowledge with action. Every day investment creates wealth. And investing in yourself will create the ultimate wealth. The only requirement is to finally get serious and commit to daily investment rather than the occasional view.
Nature erodes the hardest, strongest rocks. It oxidizes the toughest metals. It turns abandoned farms into jungles of wildness. Recognize it is working on you. Daily investment over the occasional view is what is required to stay ahead of decline, to join the 1% Club.
More tools from Brian…..