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Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth Paperback – 15 Oct 2009
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About the Author
Steve Pavlina is the most successful personal growth and development blogger. Instead of posing as a self-help guru with all the answers, Steve encourages people to experiment in order to learn through direct experience. He has written more than 700 free articles, often challenging his readers to question what they've been taught and to consider alternative perspectives. Blue-eyed, colour-blind and left-handed, Steve is the voice of recessive genes that seek creative expression instead of social conformity.
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However I highly recommend reading Erich Fromm's books "The Art of Loving", "Sane Society" or "To have or to Be". Trust me these are far closer to giving genuine advice on how to live a potentially decent and fulfilling life. Not like this book which basically rationalises making money for oneself as somehow benefiting humanity.
Trust your instincts and avoid this book.
Steve Pavlina is one of the most successful bloggers on the internet, being the creator of the most popular personal development website on the internet today, StevePavlina.com. Millions of people visit his website every month, which provides enough free, high quality personal development content to fill several books.
Personal Development For Smart People presents a series of principles that Steve Pavlina hopes will help you to improve every area of your life including your health, career, finances, relationships, habits, and spirituality. The principles are:
* Oneness (Truth + Love)
* Authority (Truth + Power)
* Courage (Love + Power)
* Intelligence (Truth + Love + Power)
Steve Pavlina claims that he has found a simple, elegant, and completely original set of principles that are universal, and that are applicable in any situation, for any person, at any time. He states that he goal of the book is to bring you into alignment with the 7 principles - thus becoming a more conscious human being and living your life in the most intelligent way possible.
In the first part of Personal Development For Smart People, Steve Pavlina describes each of the principles in turn, devoting one chapter to each principle. It is difficult to describe the principles briefly as they need several pages to be fully explained, but I will do my best to briefly describe each principle as follows:
Truth means being totally honest with yourself and with others about everything in your reality. It means constantly seeking new truths about reality and incorporating those truths into the way you see the world. Truth also means making honest predictions about what your future will hold given your current thoughts, beliefs and actions, and constantly improving your predictive abilities by making new predictions, taking action to achieve them, and updating your model of reality as you learn more about what works and what doesn't in achieving your goals. You are aligned with the principle of Truth when you are completely honest with yourself and others.
Love means deciding what you will connect with, and what you will avoid. You can connect with a person, a place, a desired end result, or a thing by simply thinking about it, or going up to it and interacting with it where appropriate. Whenever you decide to connect with something, you simultaneously decide not to connect with everything else. For example, you can decide to connect with your television, or you can go and spend some time with your partner. You are aligned with the principle of Love when you feel good about the connections you are choosing, even if other people do not agree with your choices.
Power is the ability to consciously create the world around you, and to bring what you want into existence. When your power is strong, you will find it easy to achieve your goals and get what you want in life, but when your power is weak, you may find it difficult to meet your needs.
Oneness (Truth + Love)
When truth and love intersect, you have Oneness. Oneness is the idea that we are all connected and are all a part of the same whole. Oneness means that we are all cells in a larger body. Coming from this framework, we must do our best to ensure the health of ourselves, of other cells in the body, and of the body as a whole. This naturally gives rise to a global consciousness, and brings great responsibility to each and every one of us to do our best to help the world to be healthy and to achieve peace and harmony.
Authority (Truth + Power)
When Truth and Power are combined, this gives rise to Authority. Truth without power doesn't accomplish much, while power without truth creates wasted action. Authority is taking command of your life, and using what you know about yourself and the world to decide what to create in your reality, and to take the action to create it.
Courage (Love + Power)
You need courage to connect with the things that you really want. It takes courage to ask someone out on a date. You need courage to pursue a dream that you really want but don't know if you can have. Love helps you decide what or who you want to connect with in the first place, and Power helps you to overcome the fear of connecting with it. As Steve Pavlina says in the book, Courage involves asking, What is the path with the heart?
Intelligence (Truth + Love + Power)
Intelligence is alignment with Truth, Love and Power. When you are acting in alignment with all of the principles, you are acting on the best knowledge available to you, you are connecting with what you really want and what makes you feel good, and you are actively creating what you want and bringing it into reality. When you are in alignment with Intelligence you are acting completely congruently, which means that how you are expressing yourself on the outside completely matches who you truly are on the inside.
In the second part of Personal Development for Smart People, Steve Pavlina gives extensive practical advice for how to integrate the principles into your own life and to apply them to improve your Habits, Career, Finances, Health, Relationship and Spirituality.
My Opinion of the Book
Being a long time reader of Steve Pavlina's website, I was eagerly awaiting the release of Personal Development for Smart People. I was expecting a lot from the book, as I have found his website to be a source of some of the most consistently insightful and helpful articles that I have come across.
Before it was released and from the descriptions on his blog, I knew that this book was not just going to be a compilation and bringing together of all of his writings from his website (which would have been welcome in itself) but was going to be something completely new. But it was only when I began to read the book that I began to realise the depth and originality of what Steve Pavlina has been working on for the past 2 years.
Personal Development for Smart People is an amazing achievement from Steve Pavlina. It is a breath of fresh air and a whole new look at the field of personal development and how to live your best life possible.
The principles that I have briefly described above are each given several pages in the book, and each one is described fully so as to give a complete understanding to the reader. The depth and breadth of his principle-based approach is astounding, as he brings the descriptions of Truth, Love and Power much deeper and wider than their traditional definitions and usage.
But Personal Development For Smart People really comes into its own in the second part, where Steve Pavlina explains how to use the principles to improve every area of your life, including your Habits, Career, Finances, Health, Relationships and Spirituality.
In this section it is possible to realise the depth of Pavlina's understanding of personal growth and of the challenges that can be faced in each area of life. His experience of being exposed to feedback from hundreds of thousands of people over several years regarding their personal development problems and solutions is evident, as the advice he provides is tremendously practical and useful. He gives many real examples to give as much clarity as possible on how to integrate the principles into your life and solve your own real-life challenges.
How the Book Impacted My Own Life
Since I have read it, Personal Development For Smart People has definitely had an impact on my life. In particular I found the chapters on Oneness, Career, Money and Health to be the most helpful in accelerating my personal growth.
I found the chapter on career to be absolutely fascinating. It states that your career is simply your outlet for creative self-expression, and that it has two components, your medium and your message. Your message is what you express, and your medium is how you express it. We normally express what work we do in terms of our medium - we can say we are a writer, speaker, blogger, teacher, programmer, and so on. But our message is just as important, and actually consists of our life purpose - what we are here to share and to do.
I found this chapter to be tremendously powerful and it really helped me to clarify what is the correct path for me.
I thought that the chapter on money shows an incredible clarity of thought from Steve Pavlina. I never understood money as well as I do now that I have read this chapter. One of the aspects of money that Pavlina explains is that when you have a certain amount of money, this gives you the right to extract that amount of value from society, and earning money simply involves creating social value for society. The more value you provide, the more money you can earn - it's as simple as that. This is explained in much more detail in the book.
This chapter also helped me to clarify what my path is in life and what direction I want to take. It helped me to see even more clearly that if we really want to have financial abundance, that we must stop seeing other people as potential dollar signs, and must really focus on helping others.
As health (and particularly the optimum diet for humans) holds a particular interest for me, I was very interested to read this chapter. What really stood out for me was that although Pavlina is not afraid to include his opinion on the correct diet, he does not push us to eat a certain way. What he tries to do is encourage us to make our own intelligent choices about what diet is right for us by trying different ways of eating and listening to what our body tells us to know what works best for us.
As he says, for every popular diet that exists, there are books expounding the benefits, with numerous footnotes to studies that support eating that particular way, and there is a huge influence from advertising of what we should eat. So the only way to intelligently decide what way we really should eat is to trust our own intuition and to try different ways of eating before deciding which is the best for us. He gives many practical suggestions on how to evaluate the different options and make our choice.
This chapter has inspired me to "try on" different diets to see how they affect my energy, fitness, health and wellbeing, and I am already learning a great deal that I did not know before.
The principle of Oneness, which states that we are all connected, is something that I found extremely interesting and challenging to read. My personal beliefs have been that we are all separate independent beings, but by reading this chapter I can see that my view has begun to shift. It may take me many years to really understand this principle and apply it to my life, but I believe that I have started on this path, and that in itself was a worthwhile experience for me.
Many personal development books claim to be espousing a universal set of personal development principles, and many of these books can be helpful, but this book is different in that the principles are simple and yet extremely powerful. They can be applied anywhere, at any time, to any situation.
After reading this book you will see that you can take any area of your life, go through each one of the principles, and get a clear picture of what is the most intelligent action for you to take. You can also take a specific situation or problem that you are experiencing and apply the principles effectively.
There is so much more that I could say about this book, but it is not a substitute for the book itself, so I highly recommend getting it so you can see for yourself the huge benefits that this book can bring you.
Personal Development for Smart People is fast becoming my new bible for personal growth :-)
he used to have some reasonably practical advice on his website but now it's all about his ego and making money.
Edit: I had a look at his website for the first times in some years. He seems to have suddenly shut down his forum amidst lots of talk of banning anyone who disagreed with him or who had any influence.
I think that it somewhat vindicates my review!
These are likely aspects which you may have been unconsciously avoiding or that you now recognise need re-visiting for fresh insight. So to this end its fair to expect the reading of the book to feel uncomfortable at times as you are challenged to explore the truth of its key themes and subsequently recognise where you are in denial or failing to apply them wholeheartedly in your life. You may feel little pangs of panic from your lower self as it senses change knocking once more at your door, because, as you've likely already discovered, it does not matter how much personal work you've done ~ there's always another level to explore. This reaction is of course a very useful sign.
Steve states that he _"... set out to find the common pattern behind all successful growth efforts, to identify a complete set of core principles that would be universally applicable."_ and that furthermore _"First, these principles must be universal. They must be applicable by anyone, anywhere, in any situation. They must work equally well for all areas of life: health, relationships, career, spiritual growth, and so on. They must be timeless, meaning that they can still be expected to work 1,000 years from now, and they would have worked 1,000 years ago. They must be culturally independent: they need to work for all those living on Earth, as well as for people aboard a space station in orbit. They must work both individually and collectively, so they're effective for any group of any size."_
The result of that enquiry is the following themes:
* Truth: Accept reality and rid your life of falsehood and denial.
* Love: Improve your ability to connect with yourself and others.
* Power: Build your motivation and discipline to create the life you desire.
* Oneness: Stop fighting against resistance, and make the world your ally.
* Authority: Take command of your life, and learn to make clear decisions.
* Courage: Summon the inner strength to take action in spite of fear.
* Intelligence: Live authentically, and express your genuine creativity.
These themes are further clarified and explored in part one of the book and then looked at from a highly practical standpoint in particular relationship to the following key areas of your life.
* Habits: Create a daily routine that gives you a sense of flow
* Career: Build a career you're truly passionate about
* Money: Achieve financial abundance without compromising your integrity
* Health: Adopt health habits that empower your physical body
* Relationships: Enjoy loving relationships that help you grow
* Spirituality: Raise your awareness and live more consciously
He offers a wide variety of questions, challenges and practices in relation to these that when answered, tried and explored, have the potential to yield tremendous benefits in your life in terms of becoming more you, more real, and ever more deeply satisfied and fulfilled.
However at no point does he suggest that any of this is likely to be particularly easy, quite the reverse in fact, but he always maintains that the rewards are worth the effort and that with the right inspiration and personal alignment its not so hard to summon the resolve to meet any challenge honestly and courageously.
Steve Pavlina is obviously a very clever man, highly skilled in the use of his mind and applying it logically to any and every situation including mathematics, computer programming, chess, gaming or whatever and he is clearly highly intuitive to boot. To my perception his great strength lies in delivering, intelligent, linear, thought out, rationalised and intensely practical approaches and solutions to the difficulties we all face in creating deeply fulfilling, happy, meaningful lives for ourselves. This he does without any extraneous nonsense or embellishment,
It is a wonderful gift but can feel a little "dry" and that is about the only criticism that I'd level at his book. I felt at times like I was reading an _owners workshop manual for life_, it is perhaps more practical than inspiring.
I felt there was a huge amount of information about what to do but somewhat less there to actually inspire and motivate you to get on and do it beyond the inherent truth and wisdom calling you to action from the pages. Of course, this should be enough but I suspect that to a populace so currently gripped in victim and blame culture that there may be many who shy away from such positive action.
For those who are ready though its a massive gift and they will likely pick up this book and sigh inwardly..._"oh... at last, at last, thank you...". I'll certainly be ordering my hardcopy when I finish writing this.
Another wonderful aspect of his approach is not that he is saying _"be like me and you'll get great results"_ but rather that he is simply saying use these principals and apply them to You in Your way and You will get the results that You uniquely desire. Its highly empowering.
I highly recommend it.
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I haven't finished reading the book yet but it has so much good information in the part read until now that I felt compelled to write a review and let others...Read more