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 »

Better Than Yesterday

Wednesday 31 May, 2017

There are a few barriers to personal development, but there is nothing in the external world which can compare with the obstacles we place in our own way. It starts with our expectations: we expect too much. It’s not that our goals are unrealistic, it’s just that we seem to want everything too quickly (not to mention with as little effort as possible). This means that, because we are looking for fireworks, we miss the the incremental steps we make every day. Sometimes those changes are so small as to be indiscernible, and if that happens for too many days or weeks in a row, we tend to give up and, before we know it, the show is over.

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 »

Generational Progress

Saturday 19 November, 2016

I watched a documentary this week: A Family Affair by the Dutch filmmaker, Tom Fassaert. It was the third time I’ve seen it, and each time the film leaves me shaking my head at the ease with which it demonstrates how influenced we are by what has gone before us; how opening our eyes can make such a difference; and the powerful way the human spirit always seems to know how to right itself given the slightest chance. It also offers insight into how quickly we can turn things around, especially when we recognise the progress that can be made from generation to generation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Give Yourself Two Years

Friday 26 August, 2016

First comes the relief. Then, as the emotional fog begins to lift and calmness descends, there is clarity. With the clarity comes a renewed sense of purpose, and in the background – feint but nevertheless present – the possibility of success. That’s what happens whenever you give yourself sufficient time and space to achieve whatever it is you want to work on. Two years is usually a good place to start.

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 »

300 Days

Thursday 24 July, 2014

Every day for the last 300 days I have followed a 25-minute exercise routine. It has been a goal of mine for some time to establish such a habit. There have been numerous attempts over the years with plenty of tinkering along the way to get it right. Early routines were dotted with painful episodes because I overdid things. I pushed myself too hard, in too much of a hurry to make progress. Back problems have littered all previous attempts, enticing me each time to throw in the towel. And I did give up. But I came back to it again and again. This current run is my most successful ever.

Read the rest of this entry »

From Curiosity To Reflection

Saturday 8 February, 2014

I ended the first post of this series talking about having the curiosity of a child in a brand new playground. As I wrote that line I questioned whether the analogy was still appropriate. Yesterday, during our most illuminating conversation so far, I got my answer. Karaj asked me whether I could recall at what point in my life my journey of self-development had begun. It felt as though he was searching for information to satisfy his own curiosity, rather than to make a point for my benefit. It felt different to how our relationship used to be.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Exponential Curve

Thursday 9 January, 2014

It’s tough to begin with. It always is. But without a beginning there can be no progress, no achievement, no change. We procrastinate, hoping for motivation or inspiration to get us going, but are more often prompted by desperation, in the form of a deadline or a personal crisis. So what makes it so difficult to start something? And why is it that, well after we have begun, it still feels as though we’re getting nowhere? It’s partly a lack of awareness of the process itself. But mostly it has to do with one aspect in particular: the exponential curve.

Read the rest of this entry »

Calibrate The Machine

Friday 20 December, 2013

The more familiar you are with your core self, the easier it is to identify and deal with how your direct environment affects you. But with everything going on around you, how can you tell the difference between what is you and what you might be picking up – or have picked up years ago – from others? From day one we are so busy improving and developing that we hardly have time to catch our breath, let alone take stock or come to rest. Progress implies motion, so when do we have the chance to stop and reflect? And how do we calibrate who we really are?

Read the rest of this entry »

See Your Progress

Tuesday 26 November, 2013

In the previous post I wrote about how the excitement of progress can lead to a loss of focus, undermining our achievement. This post examines the other side of that coin: that we overlook our progress altogether, failing to recognise the small steps we take because we are too busy looking for the fireworks of transformation. Major change only occurs when you work hard to lay the foundations and build momentum (see: Punctuated Equilibrium), so it’s important to acknowledge the work you are doing and see the progress you are making.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Fork In The Road

Friday 11 October, 2013

It’s that point in the process of behavioural change, at which we are on the verge of laying down a new pathway. As we stand there, deliberating the fresh, untrodden ground for the first time, possibly even drained from the effort it has taken to get this far, it is useful to know that we are also close to rejecting the opportunity in favour of the familiar. Our preparation has taken us tantalisingly close to something new, yet we are about to turn our backs on it all, for a continuation of what we already know so well. This is to be expected and it explains, in part, why developing new habits can be a bit tricky.

Read the rest of this entry »

It Begins With Awareness

Thursday 29 August, 2013

Awareness is the beginning. It is the foundation upon which personal development is built. Significant self-improvement is only possible with self-awareness. This post has been written before, but I was moved to write it again by a line from a journal entry I read recently. And besides, awareness is so fundamental to development of any kind that it is always worth repeating.

Read the rest of this entry »

Close To A Breakthrough

Monday 29 July, 2013

Breakthroughs can come at unexpected times, but what do you do while you’re waiting? What do you do when it feels as though whatever you are facing will go on forever? You keep going. You keep going because nothing lasts forever and, just like searching for the exit in a pitch-dark room, there is always a door waiting to be found. What’s more, when you find the way out, you will realise you were closer to a breakthrough than you thought.

Read the rest of this entry »