Tending Your Garden

Tuesday 20 November, 2018

Over the years it became overgrown.
But it was cared for once,
At the beginning.
By others who loved and nurtured it.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Magical Retreat

Thursday 12 July, 2018

It was serene and gentle, but equally powerful and intense. The house and surrounding countryside offered immediate peace and quiet, with a faint promise of revelation. It was an environment which heralded the high level of quality we would experience in every facet of the retreat. Attendees arrived with a little apprehension; understandable, really, because there is no way of knowing quite what to expect. It was the same for the trainers. Marcus and I were poised, ready to go down any avenue the process and the people took us; equipped with our versatility and expertise, and a willingness to support and enrich the lives of those bold enough to be themselves.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Time To Plant A Tree

Thursday 7 June, 2018

When faced with something we consider to be a mammoth task – and behavioural change can certainly fall into that category – it’s easy to feel daunted, or to find reasons not to make a start. It is particularly difficult when life is hard and everything seems to be going against us. But it is especially when problems appear insurmountable that we must remind ourselves of the importance of taking one step, and the wisdom of what time can do for us. We can, therefore, take great encouragement from this saying:

Read the rest of this entry »

Creating A New Habit

Tuesday 1 May, 2018

How easy is it to create a new habit? That depends on the habit. Bad ones are a breeze and can develop without us noticing. Good ones, on the other hand, always seem to involve some discipline, effort or sacrifice – those not-so-magic words which can immediately put people off. This and subsequent posts will follow my own attempts to create a new habit, offering insights into the process so that you can see for yourself what happens, what is necessary, and what to look out for.

Read the rest of this entry »

Childish Learning

Wednesday 18 April, 2018

Imagine if someone followed you around all day, observing what goes on around you and asking questions. Questions about what’s happening with you and the interplay between external events and your perception of those events. Imagine if that person had the singular focus to make sure you gained as much from the day as possible, halting the process where necessary to ask for your appraisal and your feedback and then giving you theirs:

Read the rest of this entry »

The List

Wednesday 16 August, 2017

What follows is a list of many of the most important pieces from this blog. The list makes it easy for you to understand at a glance what is necessary in this work. It takes you through the process of self-development and self-realisation – from awareness, observation and reflection, and back to awareness – offering you guidance on what to expect along the way and what you can do to help yourself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rubbish At Meditation?

Friday 12 May, 2017

Whenever I talk to people about meditation, especially people who are new to it, I tell them I’m rubbish at it. It’s a little exaggerated perhaps, but nevertheless a good reflection of how I often feel. I’ve been doing it at least once a day for over three years, but can’t shake the feeling that I’m not getting very far with it. This blog post looks at the familiar themes behind that feeling – expectation, judgment, comparison, the nature of progress, and the process itself – and concludes that I’m not rubbish at all. It’s all part of the meditation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Yes, It Is That Simple

Sunday 30 April, 2017

We can be forgiven for thinking life is complicated. We can even make allowances for those who expect complicated solutions to life’s problems. But why do we question something just because it’s simple? Perhaps the mind feels insulted, preferring solutions akin to its own complexity. Maybe we struggle to accept the simplicity because it trivialises our predicament. Whatever the reason, the same question can be seen on every face at some point in their personal development: ‘Surely it can’t be that simple?

Read the rest of this entry »

TS 14 – The Development Process

Monday 18 July, 2016

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Although this seminar was about the importance of practice in order to make a breakthrough, it also focused on the benefit of understanding the process we go through. As we discussed in the first seminar (‘TS 1 – Behaviour Patterns’), we give ourselves a huge advantage in life when we are able to predict what is likely to happen. Our understanding of the process allows us to relax when things get difficult. During this session, one participant shared his own personal process – the experience he goes through with every creative project he undertakes – which mirrored the general process from practice to breakthrough.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Power Of Intention

Monday 21 July, 2014

When making a phone call we would rather not make, we are inclined just to go through the motions. As a perfunctory gesture, we allow the minimum amount of rings before hanging up, relieved. Compare that to a determined approach, with a clear intention to get hold of someone. To connect. Feel that feeling and you will notice another one close by: the feeling that your success is inevitable. (Don’t get cocky.) The phone barely rings, the person picks up and the connection is complete.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Your Playground

Sunday 29 June, 2014

Whenever the last people left on Sunday nights, my first reaction was always relief because I could finally have some time and space to myself. But there was envy too. I envied them for the lives they all had outside the house, away from the furnace of self-development we had created for ourselves. They were able to leave the analysis and self-reflection for a few days, allow the wounds of the weekend to heal, and get on with their respective lives. For me it was different. When I locked the door behind them, I knew there was no other place for me to go. I had cornered myself into an existence devoted almost exclusively to personal development.

Read the rest of this entry »

Make Your Own Tools

Saturday 26 April, 2014

I gave a talk at Amsterdam University’s Business School yesterday. Near the beginning I spoke of the importance of writing things down and the necessity of seeking feedback from others on our behaviour and blind spots. It was at this point that one of the participants asked if there are any tools I could give him to help him with his personal development. I was privileged to have my mentor, Karaj, with me who easily became involved in the two-hour interaction with the students and alumni. He talked of people’s obsession with having tools and that the shelves of bookshops are full of books which offer tools. What is actually needed is the experience of the journey and knowing that patience, discipline, awareness, feedback, observation and (written) reflection are the elements you will have to come back to time and time again.

Read the rest of this entry »

This post is about a couple of people I know, whose opinions of personal development have changed dramatically over time. Their examples add further weight to the argument that this work is applicable to everyone’s life. They were both clear about their stance from the very start, communicating their thoughts with an immediacy which suggested they had already given the subject some consideration. In time, however, they changed their minds. One did so over the course of a couple of years, the other in the space of a few months. My role in both instances was to accept their initial assertions and carry on regardless. I never set out to change their minds because the nature of this work means there is no point in persuading someone when they are not interested or don’t believe it can help them. All I know is the difference this work has made to my own life and how much sense it makes when observing the human condition.

Read the rest of this entry »