Resources for Personal Development

Over the years, my approach to human devel­op­ment has moved, along with my per­son­al walk, down a path clear­ly called “Per­son­al Self Respon­si­bil­i­ty.” I’ve jok­ing­ly said that I am the pres­i­dent of “The Cult of Self Respon­si­bil­i­ty.” I take this very seri­ous­ly, in a non-seri­ous way. 

Ours is a cul­ture based upon blame. We have learned that blam­ing is the first thing that has to be let go of, if you want to begin liv­ing in a more bal­anced, cen­tered and alive way. 

Fol­low­ing are 7 Con­fused Ideas, fol­lowed by 7 Pil­lars of Wis­dom. These foun­da­tion­al under­stand­ings form the under­pin­nings of the life we live and the approach we take. 

Rule 1: Confused People Think the World Has Done Them Wrong

This is the “coun­try and west­ern song” view of the world. Con­fused peo­ple assume that the rest of the world has noth­ing bet­ter to do but plot to tor­ment them.

The Phoenix Per­spec­tive:
nobody has us in mind all the time. Except ourselves.


Most peo­ple haven’t grown up. They vague­ly remem­ber what it was like to be a kid, when every­one loomed large and when adults pun­ished them when they were bad.

Back then, we all thought that the big peo­ple, and espe­cial­ly mom and dad, knew every­thing. And they were pret­ty good at telling us “What was best for us.” We learned to look out­side of our­selves for jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, for per­mis­sion, for hap­pi­ness and for the source of our prob­lems. Neg­a­tives seem to need a source, and, because we are reluc­tant to take respon­si­bil­i­ty for our lives and where we are and what’s hap­pen­ing to us, we blame others.

Peo­ple have bet­ter things to do than to dream up ways to tor­ment us. And even if it was true — that some­one was out to make us mis­er­able, we still have choice. We can choose our response. That’s what the word “respon­si­ble” means — able to respond.

The first les­son is: there is no one to blame for any­thing. Even as we make bad choic­es, (and we all do!) there is no point feel­ing guilty and blam­ing your­self (or your par­ents, your her­itage, or think­ing “the debil made me do it!”) Far bet­ter to exam­ine the process of what hap­pened and look for bet­ter ways of han­dling sim­i­lar situations.

If you don’t get this, you are doomed to repeat past mis­takes. Why? Because you haven’t learned to rec­og­nize them and to deal with them in a way that is of benefit.

To con­tin­u­al­ly think that some­one out­side of your­self is “to blame” for where you find your­self is to remain for­ev­er a child. Any­one can lead a rel­a­tive­ly hap­py life when noth­ing is going wrong. The per­son who has mas­tered her­self is the per­son who can deal with dif­fi­cul­ties as issues to be under­stood, chal­lenged and cor­rect­ed, all with­out blame, anger, recriminations.

Your first exer­cise: Talk to a friend or part­ner and ask them to list things you do that cause you dif­fi­cul­ties in your rela­tion­ships. Take note. 
Do not com­ment or defend your­self. Just listen.

sec­ond lesson

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