Personal growth is assumed by many people to be something of value. It includes things such as finding your identity, improving your awareness and attention, building your talents, being wealthier, happier and realising your dreams.
It seems also to go hand in hand with Positive Psychology where indeed attitudes have changed to make therapy more like coaching. In particular, the experiential approaches such as Eugene Gendlin’s “Focusing” tend to be the key exploratory models.
Underlying all these approaches is the assumption that “progress” (ie personal growth) is something to be valued and chased after. I think that in itself is something to explore in a coaching session. I personally think there is more to life than that assumption.
I start with listening and deep focus on my client’s intuitive rather than reasoned side of their mind. How they feel is always more important than how they think, as life is indeed something to be experienced and not merely analysed.
The philosopher Socrates, via Plato, who said:
Paying attention and having awareness are primary attributes of being awake and being conscious. They are critical to everything you will ever achieve in your personal growth.
If you do pay attention you may be lucky enough to have an adventure into the unknown that is a great opportunity for your personal growth, albeit with some risks too. But life without risk is not much of a life.
“Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality.”
– Susan Sontag, American writer
To miss out through inattention is almost certain to bring you a lifetime of bad luck. In fact, inattention has been described as a cardinal sin in many cultures!
What is Really Going On?
Paying attention is a kind of mindfulness. It is being in the present. Following your passion in life is also a form of mindfulness often referred to as “flow” or a peak experience.
Everyone is travelling their own life path. But inattention may lead you to become distracted, side-tracked or lured elsewhere.
You have to remind yourself to stay attentive to who you are rather than become distracted by what you are doing. Filling your life with activities is a way of avoiding paying attention or being yourself. It’s mindless and an easy drug to get addicted to in this world of action and attention-grabbing technologies.
Missing out on the more sublime experiences of life will leave you forever dissatisfied.
As Mark Strand, Canadian Poet said,
“We’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention.”
So are there any things in your life right now that you would like to change?
Do you think you have any control over the actions you take?
So what’s the problem?
For example… a Lack of Money: If you lack money then you have to ask yourself how you have been behaving in your life to date. Because there is plenty of money in the world. And the fact that you don’t have enough of it is because of the things you have either done or not done in the past.
So if you keep on doing the things you have always done in the past then, I’m sorry, but nothing is going to change for you.
And the only way you can change the things you do is to change your personal philosophy because that way you think is what determines what you will or will not do.
Once you are prepared to change then different things will start to happen and you then at least have a chance to make more money. But if you don’t change then everything will stay the same… more or less.
So changing your personal philosophy is critical to each and every change you want to make in your life.
Think about it.
“Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out.”
– Jim Rohn
Your personal philosophy guides you at all times on “what to do next” and then to take action on that too.
It may come from a deep study of the human condition or simply from your real life experiences.
The Human Condition
Here the human condition means “The characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality.” (from Wiktionary.org)
And it is your responses to the human condition that make up the millennia of growth of Personal Philosophy that relates you to yourself, society, nature and beyond.
As a personal philosopher myself, I am not concerned with abstract concepts but with practical everyday questions posed by our existence. I try to guide my clients from painful problems to new opportunities, from anguish to happiness, and from suffering to success.
By finding a new balance in your life, harmony is restored.
Personal Quest Guidance
Personal quest guidance always involves existential considerations. The goal here is to find a mind’s eye viewpoint that allows you to come to terms with the process of living life. And a failure to find such a viewpoint that is in accord throughout your whole body is both difficult and can only be temporary as time marches on.
Some major disharmony in your life often needs to be resolved by a re-adjustment of your viewpoint along with likely changes to your external environment.
In my experience, I find that people always try to do the best they can within the limitations of their viewpoints. However, there are times when the mismatches are so great that their behaviours look quite out of place, and it is clear that their viewpoints are no longer tenable. Recognition of this is the first key part of the change process.
Sometimes as the guide I will take you on a mental journey of self-exploration that identified various mismatches, particularly, for example, the uncomfortable bodily sensations that accompany an inner sadness. It often becomes clear that people will try to avoid those things in their lives that they have not fully acknowledged. (The psychologist Carl Jung called these daemons)
These issues often lie at the core of “a block” that people need to understand so that they can achieve a breakthrough.
Again, by finding a new balance in your life, harmony is restored but at a new and re-energised level.