Here is some information to help you get the best out of this blog.
There are two sets of posts. One set of general posts on the subject of personal development and one set of journal entries specific to my own personal development from 11 years ago. There is more information on the About page but let me say a little about it here.
The most recent general posts are listed under the heading ‘Current Posts‘ in the right-hand menu. The complete list can be found in the Archives from 2011 onwards. The journal posts can also be found in the Archives between the years 2001-2003. The most recent are listed in the right-hand menu under the heading ‘11 Years Ago‘. They are posted in real time on a near-daily basis. Each entry is always from 11 years ago which means the final journal entry will be posted on 24th October 2014.
Click on the link ‘Read a random blogpost’ on the right-hand side of the horizontal menu to generate a random post from all the current posts and journal entries. The journal posts can be followed in time by clicking on one of the two buttons at the bottom of each entry which will take you either to the previous post or to the next one.
Posts are interlinked so, for example, a journal entry may be linked to a current post and vice versa. There are also links to other posts within the blog which are relevant to the one you are reading.
I was trained using Transactional Analysis (TA). There are a number of different areas within TA, all of which are raised again and again in my journals. The main topics are:
Each of the areas listed above have their own category in the archives. There is also has a general category, Transactional Analysis, which contains five of the above posts (ego states and transactions are on a separate web page) as well as additional information on TA.
Here is a list of some of my favourites to get you started. They will give you an idea of what it’s all about and how I work with my clients. I have included the final paragraphs of the respective posts (apart from ‘A Moment of Beauty’), to give you an idea of what you will find there. Click on the title to read the full post.
And all the time you are practicing, know that there is at least one person who believes in you. Most likely there are others too, but one is all it takes. He or she has the capacity to wipe away your doubts. He or she will pick you up every time you fall. Take note of how she does it, learn from her and repeat what she says to you. Do it over and over again until you believe it yourself. Until you believe in yourself.
It just goes to show that when we put our beliefs about situations to the test we discover a little more of the truth about ourselves and our assumptions. I will undoubtedly find myself feeling anxious again among a group of strangers, but when I do I will be able to reflect on this story and smile to myself. And then, if I want to, I can ask the person next to me, ‘What’s the best thing that has happened to you today?’
Research does tell us to exercise some caution with our intuition. There are times when blind faith in our intuitive responses will definitely lead us astray. However, the more we listen to ourselves and the more we observe, the better we become at discerning when to be confident and when to double check; when to have the courage to speak and when to hold back. It takes practice and awareness. And it starts by listening closely to your self.
After years of having the previous episode loitering in the background of her life, steadily consuming space and energy, it took only a thought for her to create more favourable conversations and opportunities. The strength of her intention to resolve the issue was enough to open the door to a better reality. One which had been patiently waiting its turn. Patiently waiting for the right thought.
Next time you notice your mind telling you things about yourself which are not supportive, helpful or encouraging, redirect it onto something very simple such as counting each time you breathe out. In time you’ll be introducing it to more involved and more favourable thoughts. And before you know it you’ll find that you can think whatever you want.
Given the right start in life – good genes; a nurturing, forgiving environment; and a loving, supportive family – of course we can prosper. But even that is no guarantee. The only way to ensure we make the best of who we are is to take control of our lives, assume responsibility for ourselves and, while we’re at it, empower others to do the same.Next time you notice your mind telling you things about yourself which are not supportive, helpful or encouraging, redirect it onto something very simple such as counting each time you breathe out. In time you’ll be introducing it to more involved and more favourable thoughts. And before you know it you’ll find that you can think whatever you want.
The woman mentioned in the second paragraph once listed, as one of her qualities, the fact that she is able to get on and do the things she doesn’t want to do. That’s because she has a strong Parent ego state. It had been provided by her parents during her upbringing, but we are also able to provide and shape our own. As with everything to do with personal development, it just takes awareness and practice: become conscious of the messages you are giving to yourself, maintain the positive ones and change the negative ones. And tell yourself to keep doing it.
When I do my morning exercises, it is his voice I hear when I want to give up. Whether it’s in the middle of the session, or even before I start because my body already aches, I tell myself, ‘This is it. This is the meat and potatoes.‘ It’s applicable in all areas of our lives. Whatever you have done up to now has merely been the preparation for what is about to happen. So lift your knees, pump your arms and push on.
Looking at those two former bosses, it is clear to me that they both allowed that supreme moment to occur because they knew how important it is that others are granted the time to talk and be heard. And they allowed it to occupy as much space as necessary. With my proximity to them, I was as much a beneficiary as anyone else and it always felt exclusive and personal. In those moments, time lost all significance, and appointments and phone calls were put on hold because the most important undertaking in the world was the person in front of them. At least that is how it felt, and that is all that counts.
There’s a grand piano in a library, in an airport. I haven’t seen it but I know it’s there because a good friend told me about it. He rang me from its location because he simply had to share the experience with someone and because he knew I would appreciate it. He had found the library as he wandered around the airport, too early for his long-haul flight. He is the exploring type who embraces new territory with arms open wide and an enthusiasm which attracts and empowers. I have only known him for a couple of years but he will always be involved in my life. We seem to agree on many of the fundamental aspects of existence, and he makes me laugh and draws me out of myself, such is the intensity of his presence.
So with just the slightest of nods towards how the Olympic spirit and experience can help us improve ourselves and make the world a better place, the last word of this post goes to a commentator during one particular rowing final. One of the rowers had come to these Games having previously won silver in three consecutive Olympics. Her sole aim since her first silver at Sydney 2000 had been to win gold. At London 2012 she succeeded, and as the race neared its end, the commentator paid tribute to her, and then addressed the rest of us, saying: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, what we are seeing here today is that dreams do come true.‘
Reflect on who you are. You will find beauty. And you will undoubtedly find something to work on, which may leave you feeling downhearted. If it does, know that, irrespective of the outcome, the mere act of working on yourself can make you happy.
Support comes in different forms. It doesn’t matter whether our commitment is firm or friendly, vociferous or silent, challenging or reassuring. What is important is that we support each other fully. When we do that, with an awareness of intentions and a clarity of purpose, we create the opportunity for growth. For each other.
Life is about defining what we want and looking for the best strategies to help us realise our goals. As we search, however, we must be humble enough to question our existing strategies, re-examining them as we go. But we need not search alone. We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who can offer us the benefit of their wisdom. Their presence in our lives is invaluable. They may not be easy to spot, but they are inclined to say ‘thank you’ when you compliment them.
There are good reasons why all top sports men, women and teams have coaches. To be successful, they need someone to be straight with them, to guide them, provide constructive and critical feedback, to challenge their patterns of behavior and create more successful habits. They need someone to show them what they are doing well and also what they can do better; someone to show them how good they are and, when things are not going so well, to remind them why they started and what they set out to achieve.
The reality of worry is that there is always something we can do to help ourselves. This list provides ways do that, but perhaps the simplest way to resolve our worries is just to choose a different reality.
The more people who take the time to examine their behaviour and work on themselves, the better it is for our species. It’s the future because when we look at ourselves we see what is wrong with our nature but we also see what is right. And, importantly, we discover that we have our evolution in our own hands.
I live in the Netherlands now and my favourite question of the Dutch is, ‘How many languages do you speak?‘ Most people speak two or three. There are a fair number who speak four or five. Some speak six and then there are the seven-and-abovers. If it’s like learning a language, then maybe, just maybe, personal development is easier than I thought.
A man I knew, who usually withdrew and isolated himself from others whenever he was down, was advised to contact his friends during such periods. The first time he did so, none of the friends were available. It knocked him back and he saw the whole episode as proof that he needn’t have bothered. He was downhearted until he was told, ‘It’s normal. Try again.‘
But perhaps the most encouraging aspect was the connection with evolutionary theory; even though it appears that nothing is happening, there is something going on under the surface. During those times when we think we are getting nowhere, we should know that we are always making progress.
So, if we can be inspired by the whole then, with fascination, we can be thorough in our observations and analysis, and so improve ourselves step by step. At the very least, we may discover the kind of passion about which my friend writes.
It took time and a lot of patience, discipline and application, not to mention the support I received from those around me. Reading back over where I was then and writing down where I am now, I am able to measure the results and assert, once again, that it has all been worthwhile.
Of course, there are times when, ‘How?’ is a valid question, and if you really want to know, then this blog and the website are full of information which will tell you all you need to know. But for the most part, whatever your goals, there are far more important things deserving of your attention and energy than ‘how’.
Yesterday I travelled through the rain and my friend risked missing her connection, but that briefest of meetings was, in and of itself, an exchange of unconditional positive strokes. I’m very glad I got to see her.
When I informed him of the situation, my friend, who is well aware of this element of my script, simply helped me get my stuff together, then went back to the beach, lay down and ordered a beer. And that’s just what I needed from him.