Part 2 of this review is here
Steve Pavlina is a huge inspiration in my life. I am writing this web page because of him. Steve is the creator of the web site www.stevepavlina.com. His web site is named Personal Development for Smart People and that is also the title of his new book.
Steve was kind enough to convince his publisher to give away about 420 free review copies of his new book to bloggers and web page owners that could prove they were trying to write something.
So, I got a free book, that I would have bought anyway, (THANKS!) and I also get to review it on my web page (which I would have done anyways….THANKS again!) and not only that…if Steve feels my review provides value to the world…he will link to my site….(OMG!!! THANKS!)
The link is a huge boon to a web page like mine, because Steve’s site receives about 2 million hits per month, so here is hoping I provide a lot of truth, love and power alignment with this review…but wait…I might be jumping ahead a little.
Personal Development for Smart People: First impressions
I was really excited to get this free book to review…and of course excited to read what Steve would put in a book. I read this book in about two weeks, but I was more than half through it in the first two days.
I was able to read it while riding on the Metro during my commute…so that was about two hours of reading for a couple of days. Before I got the book, I was worried that I would have trouble finishing the book before the the end of October…it’s the 2nd of October and I finished yesterday.
I think you can tell by now, that I am a Steve Pavlina fan, so I am doing my best not to sound too “gushy” with praise…but I have to admit the truth…I have a hard time being objective or critical with anyone…and Steve is kind of a hero of mine, so I will probably sound like a Fan Boy during this review…
…I will do my best to point out aspects I didn’t resonate with or disagreed in the book.
Personal Development for Smart People: Part I
The book is divided into two Parts. This page will focus on Part I, and I will cover Part II on a separate page.
Part I is about the Fundamental Principles of Personal Development which are:
4. Oneness (Truth + Love)
5. Authority (Truth + Power)
6. Courage (Love + Power)
7. Intelligence (Truth + Love + Power)
Now, on the surface, this doesn’t seem all that new. Most books of this sort, use some sort of framework to outline and provide structure to the ideas in the book.
Steve’s outline in Part I provides the framework and is echoed (a lot!) through out the whole book…this might sound tedious…but I liked it.
One of my complaints with other Personal Development books, it that there is so much to remember….with Steve’s ideas you can read the book and then remember a couple key questions that will help you in any situation…i.e.:
“Where is the heart in this?”
“Am I aligned with truth, love and power?”
That’s cool…I like “easy to remember”.
Steve is working from a highly conscious state all the time. So, he is as close to a “Whole Brain” thinker that I have ever come to know.
Steve started out his life as a primary left-brain logical type thinker…but over the years, he developed his right-brain intuitive/creative side as well.
This “blending of the brains” type of thinking, along with a deep knowing and love of himself and others, allows him to happily and lovingly give of himself everyday.
I don’t consider myself a whole brain thinker…I use one brain at a time for the most part…but I am working on it.
I have said before that one of my goals in life is to wake up and want to enthusiastically jump out of bed and be honestly excited to go to WORK! Steve does this everyday of his life!
Try to imagine how cool that would be to live like that for ONE day…and then realize you COULD do it everyday…that is real life inspiration right there baby!
His spirit shines brightly through on all the pages of this book (as it does on his web page) and it is challenging and simultaneously inspiring.
Personal Development for Smart People: Truth
I was most challenged by the chapter on truth…about the truth about myself. Admitting the truth to myself is not an easy thing to do…but Steve let me know that step one is just to accept the truth even if I don’t have the power to change in right now…
..I can work on making it better for the rest of your life…but at least look at myself in the mirror and admit the truth…the whole truth about myself and accept it as is.
Here is short quote from Chapter 1…simple and yet very powerful:
“Genuine personal growth is honest growth. You can’t take shortcuts through the land of make-believe . Your first commitment must be to discover and accept new truths, no matter how difficult or unpleasant the consequences may be. You can’t solve problems if you don’t admit they exist. How can you achieve a fulfilling career if you won’t admit that your current job is wrong for you? How can you improve your relationship situation if you refuse to accept that you’ve been feeling empty and alone? How can you better your health if you won’t accept that your current habits don’t serve you?
I love that paragraph…it reminds me of what this Air Force Colonel who was talking about a person that was going to be discharged from the Air Force for being over weight. He said as if he was the person being discharged,
“I want to stay in the Air Force…if I could just put down this piece of pizza!”
I think if the person really wanted to stay in the Air Force, they would have lost the weight…perhaps, they truly wanted to get out.
I faced some truths about me…I wanted to cut down on my drinking…I want to be an “Event” only drinker for now…not a beer after work guy.
I don’t have problem with beer…I just don’t like that habit…I gain too much weight and if I drink more than a couple, it is harder to get out of bed and ride my bike.
So, if I limit my drinking to event only the I can plan to tend to the hang over on a day off and still try to get a work out in later on in the day…that’s not perfect either…but it’s better.
Steve also makes a lot of suggestions for clearing potential “Blocks to Truth”.
My favorite is media fasting.
“A great way to reduce the impact of media conditioning is to go on a 30-day media fast. For 30 days straight, keep the television turned off and avoid all newspapers, magazines, and online media sources. Unplug yourself completely and see what happens.”
I stopped watching most TV around 2003 when we moved to LA from England. Cable was just to expensive, so we get very basic cable bundled with our internet (local channels only…no ESPN even…or CNN).
We watch TV via Netflix on DVD and online.
My life is much better after cleaning out all the advertisements…I just don’t need to hear about new products to make my life better…I’m good.
I never liked newspapers or magazines…I get a ton of them…but I rarely read them…they came from from left over frequent flyer miles…now we have stacks of unread magazines in the house…great!
I read online news, the Motley Fool, and I really like Sirius Radio…music with no commercials! I also get my NFL radio broadcasts for all the games (that I can take in the car) and Deepak Chopra all day on Saturday.
Personal Development for Smart People: Love
The love chapter is awesome…I tried to write a page about love and it is just funny…but Steve does a great job of defining love and recognizing it’s fundamental importance in life.
Here is a small quote to let you sample what I am talking about. This is the opening paragraph of Chapter 2: Love.
“Love is the second principle of personal development. Obviously love is an emotion, but it is much more than that. One of the fundamental choices you face in every encounter is the choice to approach or avoid. You can try to connect with people, or you can pull away from them. You can immerse yourself in your day’s work, or you can procrastinate. You can approach any person, place, or thing with the intention to connect, or you can remain aloof and keep your distance. The decision to connect is the essence of love.”
When I was reading “A course in miracles” I went through a “transitional phase” in my life.
For a long period time…many months…I loved everything and every moment…I projected love all the time and saw love coming back at me as well.
This time was a huge amount of fun…I actually performed everyday miracles at work and had a great time doing it.
One time (…but not a band camp…it was at my Former Air Force IT job) I had to swap out a voice mail server. The old server broke…but my predecessor choose not to buy the service contract.
I needed a new server, so I arranged for the service contract with the voice mail service provider.
So, while the check was in the mail so to speak…the service provider sent out a new server for us to install, but could not send out a technician to install it until the contract was finalized and paid…but I needed to get the voice mail working again.
I figured…meh…how hard can it be? I don’t need to know what to do or what to say to work a miracle…I just need to want what I want and show up and see what happens.
So, I asked one of my new troops to help me…she had less experience in computers than me…but she was very mature and fun to be around and I figured it would take some time and I wanted some company and a hand to talk on the phone in case I need to call the service provider.
Right away, I found a CD with documentation which outlined the whole procedure. We would have been done before lunch if I hadn’t missed a small step in the procedures and forgot to write down a password. The only way to re-set the password was to do it all over again…no big deal, just took the rest of the day.
I loved that day…my troop was amazed…and frankly I was to. It was really easy and a lot of fun to just “jump of the cliff” and see what happens.
Now, I understand that this is not a world class event…but so what?…there was a task in front of me, that in the past world have caused me to be fearful and most likely procrastinate as long as possible…
…but because of my love projection miracle mind set…I just accepted and thought…”what’s the worst that can happen?
Really the answer to the question was…”we still won’t have voice mail” and since we didn’t have voice mail at the time…the downside was the same as doing nothing…so any success would be great and if we didn’t figure it out…at least we would have learned something.
Steve would say that I aligned with love and immersed myself into the project…I loved it until it was finished…and that is a true statement.
Reading Steve’s book reminded my how fun and exciting life can be when you align with love…I need to do that more often.
“Power is the third principle of personal development. It is you ability to consciously and deliberately create the world around you. When your power is weak, you can’t effectively satisfy your needs and desires, and you become a victim of your own environment. When your power is strong, you successfully cultivate a life of your own choosing, and your environment reflects it.”
This is the first paragraph of Chapter 3, Power…I love that definition. He later lays out a challenge again saying:
“The triad of truth, love, and power and can serve as an incredible force for good. When honest, compassionate people remain powerless, and only dishonest, uncaring people acquire power, we all suffer for it. The world is well served when those who are aligned with truth and love gain the third element. If you can be such a person, then I encourage you to consciously develop your power, since that decision benefits us all.”
When put in this light, I fell compelled to work more consciously to develop my power…not just for me…but to help my country and the world shift from a fear and dishonesty based system of power to a truth and love-based system of power.
Steve also describes a person like me. I am a person that is aligned with truth and love but I don’t have much power. I have more power than some people, but not much “worldly” power…which Steve is talking about.
Last night I watched Michael Moore’s new film called “The Slacker Uprising” about how Michael “almost” got enough votes in 2004 to get John Kerry elected.
It’s a fun movie to watch…and my wife couldn’t believe that Kerry lost…I know he did and the movie was set in the past, but the number of people that Michael Moore inspired to vote (mostly for Kerry) was quiet staggering.
So, why did he fail?
Was Michael Moore fully aligned with the truth? Maybe…maybe not. Was he fully aligned with love….maybe…maybe not.
He definitely aligned with POWER. In 2004, on college campuses…Michael Moore was like a Bob Dylan or a John Lennon…there were girls asking him to sign their boobies (I think I would have…but he declined…boo!).
Perhaps, people that are fully aligned with all three of these principles will help successfully turn our country and our world toward truth, love and power (or TLP for short.)
Personal Development for Smart People: Oneness
“Oneness is the principle that results from combining truth and love. Whereas love is the ability to connect by choice, oneness is the recognition that being connected is your natural state. Love is choosing to connect. Oneness is knowing you’re already connected. Oneness has no specific target; its omnidirectional feeling of connection to everyone and everything at the same time. Oneness is pure unconditional love.”
Oneness is the first of the secondary principles. Steve tells a brief story about his first experience of oneness.
I had a similar experience again, while I was reading and doing the exercises within the course of miracles.
Steve says that once you have had an experience of true oneness, you are forever changed…and I agree with him. After I experienced the knowing that I am not contained by my body and am connected to everyone and everything, I have forever transformed into a new entity…
…I became a butterfly…as Jed Mckenna might say…or I might say “I am cookies” if I am in a Buffy sorta Joss Weedon kinda of mood.
I still need to meditate for a few moments to remember oneness…but I don’t need to say ahh for 20-30 minutes…I can remember the truth of oneness in a few quite moments sitting at my desk at work.
When I am tired, hungry, or emotional…or intensely focused on a task…I might tune out of the fact of oneness and act a little less connected, but I have not forgotten the truth of oneness…I have just turned down the volume of the oneness radio station.
Steve suggests some activities that might help me experience oneness, such as:
A form of meditation called “Oneness World” where you “…imagine what it would be like to live in a world where everyone lives in alignment with oneness.”
He also suggest that I spend time in nature…which is neat…because I already do that one. I love being out in the world, and in nature. I even love being in the concrete jungle some times…but I really prefer nature.
The sounds and smells of nature always rejuvenate my spirit and help me turn up the oneness radio dial.
Steve also suggests physical contact…I have this one down as well…my friends know that I don’t need a beer to want to hug someone…but if I have a few beers then the hug monster is really strong and powerful…very few people have the ability to escape the hug monster in full force.
I also hug my wife as often as possible…hugging and other physical contact…reminds us that we are connected and one…without really being consciousness of why we are making the contact.
Look at sports teams. Those folks are always touching each other…because touching helps them tune in too each other and increase their performance and their ability to “sync up”.
Just the other night I experienced a little “oneness” in my life…it happens to me quiet a bit, but this was sort of special.
Steve does Personal Development for Smart People…I might do PD for Drunk people…I have many experiences while meeting people in bars.
So, I rode my bike to the beach, to get in touch with nature…really…then after listening to the waves crash, I remembered that I was close to a favorite bar of mine that has a lot great microbrew beer (I no Steve doesn’t drink…and I do…I’m ok with that.)
While at the bar, I meet a great couple, and we start jamming out to the blues/rock band and they invite me to their table and we start talking.
After a while, I think…wow…I need to leave if I am going to make it home on my bike without getting killed on the way home…so I start getting ready to go.
The couple then offers me a ride in their truck if I stay…so I thought…oh what the hell.
After that, we really started sharing and I found out that he is still feeling a lot of pain from discovering his son after he had committed suicide years ago…I didn’t say much…but I said death was an event…not a real state and that he could let him go and he will always be with him.
We all cried and got another beer…then I got a ride home and we exchanged phone numbers.
These are the types of experiences I have had since connecting to oneness.
I had mild hangover they next day…not to bad…but that is the payment for drinking…not really worth it…I know, I’m working on that.
I was kicked out of the same bar a long time ago, for talking to another dude’s girl friend…I honestly don’t remember what I said…I had to much to drink…but her boy friend didn’t like what I said and the bouncer very kindly asked me to leave…
…so I left…I waited outside for my ride and then had to go back in to close out my tab.
I vaguely remember that the girl was crying in her beer about the way her boyfriend treated her…it is interesting that drunk people talk to strangers in bars about things they won’t share with their best friends…or boyfriends.
I’m not sure if the booze does this…or a connection to oneness…or both.
Personal Development for Smart People: Authority
“Authority is the principle derived from truth and power. Truth without power accomplishes nothing. Power without truth generates wasted action. The principle of authority teaches you to purposefully blend knowledge and action to produce intelligent results.When you live without authority, your default behavior is to squander your time. You may acquire some knowledge, but you won’t apply it well. You may take some action, but your movements will be chaotic and unfocused. You have the potential to live a powerful, self-directed life of your choosing, but until you step into your true authority, this potential remains a fantasy.”I really like the How to Increase you authority section of this chapter…there are only three sub-sections: 1) Orchestrate Small Rebellions 2) Triage 3) Experiment.
“A small rebellion is an act of free will with minimal negative consequences”
I love doing small rebellions…like when I tell people that I enjoy being in traffic on the freeway after work…because I am alone and it’s quiet…which is true…I enjoy the quiet time alone…but most people just HATE traffic.
I don’t watch much TV…or listen to the news. I don’t get upset about little things that go wrong…but I do my best to empathize with other people feelings.
Steve tells a story about how when he was a kid, he turned in math homework done in crayon…that’s funny and cute…but a little annoying…his teacher encouraged his creativity.
Some day, I am going to work without matching my shoes and belt…I’m going to do it…just watch me!!!
Personal Development for Smart People: Courage
“…When your mind predicts a positive long-term outcome but a negative short-term outcome from a course of action, courage is required to bridge the gap. If you want to leave an unfulfilling relationship, quit an uninspiring job, or restore an unfit body to a state of health, the long-term outlook may be wonderful, but you can also expect short-term challenges as you transition. Courage is the application of power to break through short-term challenges in order to achieve long-term goals.”I work in an unfulfilling job. I use truth to accept that. I use courage to get up at 4:00 am most everyday to work on this web page, so I can create my new source of income.I have a fulfilling relationship with my wife, but I can use courage to make it better and to be more loving and connected.
My body is less than optimal (which is a nice way to say “unfit”)…but three times a week I use courage to ride my bike 12 miles one way to work and about 7 miles home…that not only takes courage it also takes Ben Gay sometimes!
Personal Development for Smart People: Intelligence
“Our universal principles give rise to the following definition of intelligence: Intelligence is alignment with truth, love and power. There is an elegant simplicity to this definition. In order to behave as a “smart person” in any area of your life, you must bring yourself into alignment with truth, love and power. If you use these principles to guide your life, you will live intelligently. When you violate these principles, you turn your back on intelligence.”
So, the next time things don’t go my way, I have a list of questions to ask myself:
Was I aligned with truth? Was I aligned with love? Was I aligned with Power?
Want even more??? You are really crazy…ok…
on to Part 2…