The field of “personal development” hadn’t quite reached my consciousness before this summer, when it becaome a new topic of fascination.  Of course, since ideas generally make our reality (i.e. why positive people are happy) it makes a good deal of sense. My current understanding of the topic is Personal Development means consciously examining and subsequently working on your lifestyle, habits, work/career, relationships, & spirituality.

This flows down to improving your organization skills, eating patterns, sleeping patterns, interpersonal tics, etc…

some of the blogs I’ve recently enjoyed on this topic:

www.stevepavlina.com

www.zenhabits.net

www.illuminatedmind.net

www.43folders.net

As a person who enjoys making lists and plans, it’s been pleasant to read and try out some of the productivity tactics suggested-  but it also seems evidenced that there are some philosophical schisms between the organization/’getting things done’ approach and a more spiritual path.

(when I refer to spirituality, it’s always in the contemporarily understood concept of tao or buddhism, which are both philosophy and spirituality.  Our general cultural consciousness understands these approaches as eastern, though the same ideas do flow through many western philosophies and spiritualities-  just not the well-known ones.)

for instance:  in a productivity path, one would wake up at 5am every morning with an alarm, and plan out the day’s work, getting the least appealing stuff done first, and tracking how well one could stick to the plan.

in a spiritual, or detachment path (not the greatest phrase, being a negative-  need to rephrase that) one would let the day unfold as it will, with the only goal of being present in the moment every moment. This doesn’t mean doing nothing-  just that if one is fully present, the right thing to do at any moment will present itself.

I have personally tried both paths at many times over my life, and found the latter works best for me.  A productivity approach, focused on tracking stuff and left-brainedness, often leads to rather OCD behaviors that are unnecessary-  tracking all calories/exercise, dollars spent (outside of business), sense of failure if plans don’t exactly work out…

whereas a present-ness path still allows one to get everything necessary done, and the actions occur when there is the least resistance.

it’s just much easier to pursue the productivity path, because we are conditioned to try to control everything.  I’m curious to read further and see if anyone has described how they mend this schism.

Posted by:brook delorme