Personal Growth

The 3 R’s Of Personal Growth Manifesto Needs Your Vote!

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Update: Voting has now ended. Thanks to all who managed to vote for the proposal. I will let you know if the proposal is approved. 🙂

Personal growth isn’t as easy as some writers make it out to be.

But it’s not always the climb that wears us out, as much as it is the baggage we carry with us and the route we take to reach our destination.

And while personal growth may not be easy, there’s an easier way to how we are currently approaching it.

This is the message behind my manifesto: The 3 R’s of Personal Growth.

The manifesto is under development, and I’ve submitted it to ChangeThis as a proposal.

By voting for the proposal on the ChangeThis website, you will have a hand in helping me get the manifesto designed, and distributed to a much wider audience.

What’s ChangeThis?

ChangeThis is an initiative to help spread great ideas, and was inspired by Seth Godin.

Each month, ChangeThis presents a list of proposals they’ve received, and get the public to vote on the proposals they want to read.

The proposals with the highest votes will be designed and distributed by the ChangeThis team as a “living, breathing manifesto.”

For a longer description of what ChangeThis does, check out their FAQ page.

What’s the 3 R’s of Personal Growth Manifesto About?

The aim of the manifesto is to establish a foundation that helps readers make the most of the personal growth literature available to them, and offers guidelines for writers on how to make their content more useful to their readers.

Below is the description that accompanies my proposal:

Do you feel overwhelmed by all the information “out there”? Do you find the advice you’re coming across confusing? Are you feeling frustrated for not getting the results you want, after all the time, effort and money you’re putting into your own personal growth?

If so, then this manifesto could be what you’re looking for.

The abundance of personal growth information and resources has turned from a blessing into a curse. We are feeling more scattered than ever before. Trying to put everything into practice has led to a bottleneck situation where we can’t seem to get anything done without worrying about everything else at the same time.

This manifesto introduces the basics of personal growth we need to bear in mind to get the most out of what we read.

It’s a guide for readers on how best to approach personal growth literature and a call to writers to offer advice that contributes to the signal, and not add to the noise.

If the message behind the manifesto resonates with you, and you’d like to read the manifesto and help it spread, please vote for it using the following link:

Vote for the 3 R’s of Personal Growth Manifesto

I appreciate your support, and would love to hear from you in the comments section once you vote for the proposal! 😀

And please spread the word to friends, family, readers, and strangers on the subway, or walking down the street. I’m sure they’d love to make a positive contribution to the world! 😛

Personal Growth Map

Aligning Your Life Areas

Aligning your life areas

If I was to ask you:

What are the biggest challenges to life balance?

What would be the first reasons that come to mind?

It’s OK, you can take a minute or two to think about this…

What’s holding YOU back from leading a balanced life?

I’m willing to bet good (Monopoly) money that “lack of time” and “lack of money” made an appearance on your list, if not a prominent one.

But there’s an important obstacle to life balance that we tend to overlook and, therefore, don’t overcome.

And that obstacle is… friction.

Before we look at ways to remove friction from our lives, let’s consider why friction arises in the first place.

Why Do We Experience Friction?

Friction occurs when our life areas aren’t properly aligned with each other, or the activities we do within a single life area don’t serve a common purpose.

To make progress in life, you need to define what success means in each life area, and what it means for your life, in general.

If your goals clash, or you’re not acting in ways to reach your goals, then you will experience friction.

Suppose, for example, you hold the Spiritual belief that money is the root of all evil, yet success in your Professional life area means that you make money to support the lifestyle you want. Your Spiritual belief will either stop you from reaching your Professional goal, or you’ll experience guilt for the success you achieve in your Professional life area.

That’s friction.

You’re unable to enjoy and build on your Professional success because you’re making Spiritual compromises.

Every step forward in your Professional life area brings you a step (or two) back in your Spiritual life area.

While your financial wealth grows, your soul shrinks.

Not because money is evil, but because you believe it’s evil, and the contradiction between how you define success in your Spiritual and Professional life areas causes friction that undermines your overall well-being and your ability to experience life balance.

This is a common conflict many people experience, and there are many more common and uncommon ways in which we experience conflict and, therefore, friction in our lives.

Do you find it difficult to make sense of your Spiritual beliefs, because you hold many Intellectual objections to them?

That’s friction.

Do your Recreational activities involve eating junk food in front of the TV, yet you want to lose weight and achieve Physical health, at the same time?

That’s friction.

Do you recognize your Psychological needs to care for yourself and your emotional well-being, yet ignore these needs and make continuous compromises to strengthen Social ties?

That’s friction.

You can experience friction between all your life areas (and within them), and it’s this friction that can greatly undermine your efforts to lead a balanced life.


How Can We Align Our Life Areas?

I’m glad I asked!

Below are 3 simple tips you can use to align your life areas, and remove the friction that’s holding you back.

1- Explicitly define your goals:

What do you consider “success” in each life area?

To know where your life areas clash, you need to explicitly define what your goals are for each life area. You might be able to notice obvious contradictions, as soon as you write your goals down.

It helps to visualize success in each life area. If you were Spiritually successful, what would your life look like? If you were Intellectually successful, how would you behave? Go through all the life areas, and spell out what would make them successful.

Remember, you want to consider all life areas: Spiritual, Intellectual, Psychological, Social, Professional, Recreational, and Physical.

You will also need to define what life success is, and what it looks like. That is, what would make your entire life successful? What do you want your life to look like, and what would you like to accomplish in your lifetime?

Look out for ways your life goals clash with your goals in each life area, and possible ways your goals within each life area may clash.

Once you have your goals defined, you can think of ways to adjust your goals (or completely drop some of them) so that you would no longer live with contradictions between your goals.

I find it insanely difficult to sit at my desk and jot down a list of my goals, which is why I prefer to visualize what I’d like my life to look like. Holding an image in my mind, then describing that image is much easier for me than to come up with a list of goals. This approach might work better for you, as well.

2- Listen to your emotions:

The best indicators of friction are your emotions. While you might be able to overlook contradictions on an intellectual/conscious level, your emotions tend to point out that there’s something wrong in your system (even if they can’t figure out what the problem is).

This is why intuition can play an important role in your life.

By listening to your emotions, and being aware of any feelings of discomfort that can be attributed to inner conflicts, you’ll be able to acknowledge the existence of friction, and use your emotions as a guide to where the friction might exist.

You can ask yourself: How do I feel about this goal/activity? Why do I feel this way about it?

You’d be surprised by what you can uncover with this approach!

3- Figure out what’s holding you back:

While procrastination is commonly blamed on the fear of failure, the issue is a bit more complicated than that.

I can’t go through all the reasons for why we resort to procrastination, but one of the strongest reasons is friction.

If you don’t believe a task you want to do (e.g. putting ads on your site) is right, then you’ll put it off to avoid acting against your own values. The solution might not be to remove the task from your agenda, but to dig deeper to find out whether it is the right thing to do or not. Not just professionally, but morally, as well.

You don’t have to follow popular Professional practices. You need to check in with your own Spiritual principles, and make sure the practices don’t conflict with the principles. Either the practice is wrong, or your principle is wrong (or wrongly applied).

You might think that ads on your site are annoying to your readers when, in fact, your readers might appreciate knowing about products and services they would not have found out about.

Whenever you don’t feel inclined to get a task done, a likely reason can be that there’s a goal that is tugging you in a different direction.

Ask yourself: What’s holding me back from doing this? What do I think about it? Do I feel comfortable doing this?

You can discover areas of friction by being aware of the issues you don’t feel comfortable facing, or when you get “stuck” and don’t know what’s holding you back.

Personal Growth Advice Can Be Simple, But Not Necessarily Easy

I went through a time in my life where I ignored my emotions so much, to the extent that I became numb to them. I wouldn’t be able to answer “how do you feel?” with any depth. You might experience some difficulty with these tips, but I believe they are useful guidelines to work with, and they encourage you to learn important life skills.

Give them a try, even if they prove to be difficult at first. Removing friction in your life is a worthwhile investment you shouldn’t overlook.

If you have any tips to add, or questions to raise, the comments section is at your disposal!

Photo credit: –Mike–


Is The Rise In The Divorce Rate A Problem?

Separation Sculpture One of the trends that’s regularly used to prove that we’re living in dark and dangerous times, and that the situation is only getting darker, is the rising divorce rate.

But is it really a problem?

I can think of 3 positive developments that have contributed to the rise in divorces:

1- Women’s empowerment: Women haven’t always had a say in who to marry, let alone choosing to leave their husbands. That a wife can now exercise her right to leave a marriage is a very healthy development.

2- Exercising choice: Admitting that we’ve made a mistake is hard enough. Doing something about it is even harder. A divorce can be an acknowledgement that things aren’t working out, and the couple want to call it quits. People are realizing that they have a choice in how to lead their lives, and what they can do about past decisions.

3- Happiness matters: When couples break up because they’re unhappy, it means they value their happiness. In my book, that makes divorce a good sign.

So is divorce a problem or not?

My answer would be: It’s not even the issue!

Our obsession with the divorce rate is making us overlook the real problem we should be addressing. The rise in the divorce rate is only a symptom, which we can do nothing about, without tackling the problem that’s causing it.

Divorce isn’t the problem.

The real problem is: dysfunctional relationships.

People aren’t taking the divorce route to go somewhere, but to leave something. And that “thing” is a dysfunctional relationship.

Sadly, we’re being encouraged to get married, whether to start a family, settle down, avoid committing sins, etc., without being taught what a relationship involves and how to make marriage a home for happiness and not a prison of problems.

When I was 20 years old – and single – a religious scholar told me that I was already 4 years late to getting married!

Talk of marriage and its importance is very common. But advice on how to treat a spouse, what to expect from a relationship, and how to positively engage with problems are commonly overlooked.

Besides, “happiness” isn’t usually included in the marriage formula. It’s something you abandon during your initiation rites into married life. (That’s why guys throw bachelor parties!)

But happiness does matter, and we need to bring it back into the marriage formula.

One way of doing that is to look at the signs of a dysfunctional relationship – i.e. a relationship where one or both partners don’t see the relationship contributing positively to their life experience – and see how we can avoid the thoughts and behaviors that get in the way of a healthy relationship.

But Think of the Children!

When a parent contemplates a divorce, they’re often asked to think of their children before making a decision.

But as we’ve seen, divorce isn’t the problem. The dysfunctional relationship is. Divorce is just the (unfortunate?) result of a problem that isn’t being effectively addressed.

Children will be better off not living within a dysfunctional relationship, rather than have their parents set a negative example for them to follow when they grow older.

So don’t blame the divorce, and look at what can be done to fix dysfunctional relationships.

Your Thoughts

I’ll be writing a post on some of the signs of dysfunctional relationships, and would like to know what your thoughts are about this issue.

What have you noticed in your own relationship, or in other people’s relationships, that compromise happiness, rather than foster it?

And what do you believe can be done to improve relationships, so they can contribute positively to people’s lives?

Photo credit: Daquella Manera

Coaching Personal Growth

Why “Self-Help” is Misleading


The principle at the core of all personal growth (a.k.a. “self-help”) literature is:

Your life is your responsibility.

Your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions are under your control.

If you wish to grow as an individual, you must take responsibility for your success, and do what’s in your power to accomplish your goals.

This is a very liberating idea.

Rather than see yourself as the victim of circumstance and other people’s decisions, you can focus on your own abilities and the opportunities open to you to achieve happiness. People and circumstances can’t dictate how you feel. That’s a choice for you to make.

“Self-help” literature is intended to equip you with the beliefs and practices that make your life journey easier and more enjoyable.

However, it can also make things much more difficult for you.

“Self-Help” is Misleading

I’m not talking about the harms of bad advice, dangerous practices, or an unhealthy obsession with self-help books. These, and many more, are potential harms that we need to be aware of.

But what I’m talking about here is our understanding of what self-help means, and how to go about improving our lives.

The reason why self-help is misleading is that it gives the impression that you have to approach personal growth – and your life problems – on your own.

After all, you’re helping yourself out and taking responsibility for your own life, so why rely on others to do that for you?

For many years, this was an impression that was firmly ingrained in my subconscious, even though I would consciously reject it. One of my earliest posts here was about the value of coaching, but I’ve always refused to get a coach because I thought that I can – and have to – do things on my own.

It’s in the name: self-help!

But recently, I discovered what I’ve been missing out on all this time, and how getting a life coach can be a life-changing experience.

Life Coach or Magician?

Blogger and life coach Tim Brownson recently offered free life coaching for the winner of a contest he was running, and ended up picking six winners to try out his coaching at no charge.

I was one of the winners.

So far, I’ve had only 2 sessions with Tim.

They consisted of friendly chats over Skype. About how I was feeling overwhelmed with all the ideas I had for this blog (and other projects), and what I can do about being overwhelmed. Most of what we talked about I already knew, but Tim picked out a few tips for me to try out.

The result?

I hadn’t written a blog post for over 3 weeks before my first session with Tim. During the week after my first session, I wrote 3 posts!

After my second session, I wrote 2 posts and managed to complete a guide that I’ve been struggling with for over 2 months… in a week!

Since the first session, I feel much more relaxed about my work and can focus much more easily.

I still can’t quite put my finger on what Tim did, but it worked!

Interaction with a fellow human being, especially one who can understand what you’re going through and direct your awareness to the solutions you can use, is a powerful approach to self-help.

If you feel like talking to someone or getting a life coach, don’t let the name fool you: Self-help isn’t about doing things on your own.

It’s about figuring out what’s best for you and pursuing the things that can bring your life forward.

Even if it’s to ask others for help.

Have you ever felt the need to do things on your own, and ashamed to ask others for help?

Do you have any life coaching experience you’d like to share?

If so, then please leave a comment below!

Photo credit: caesararum