Back in the day, when I first started looking at what is now commonly called ‘personal development’ it comprised a few obscurely titled books that could usually be found in the ‘Occult’ section of the bookshop or public library.
This of course was in the BC age – ‘before computers’ – which probably now makes the year somewhere between 40 and 50 PC – and you can use that acronym any way you like!
The idea that you and I could actually ‘change’ ourselves outside the formal education system was considered a bit far fetched to say the least – despite the fact that the theories and philosophy of ‘personal development’ had certainly been around for millennia.
As the number of books available increased they became separated from the volumes on witchcraft and magic and were moved into a ‘self-help’ section – which didn’t really encourage sales as people were reluctant to be seen browsing that area and identifying themselves as in need of ‘help’.
So the ‘Personal Development’ industry came about.
Since the Seventies, and extrapolating back to the ‘beginning’, Personal Development has been primarily about providing people with information through books, lectures, workshops and now via electronic media, that they could use, or not, to ‘improve’ themselves.
There was, and still is, very little hands on, practical and productive education available in this sector.
It has always tended, with exceptions’ to be rather ‘take it or leave it’ – “this is what you should do, go do it”, leaving it up to individuals as to whether they put this wealth of ideas, theories and philosophy into practice or not.
The Network Marketing industry in particular, has been responsible for introducing ‘personal development’ to millions of people by thrusting books, audio recordings and live ‘motivational’ presentations upon them and expecting them to ‘improve their attitude’ in the hope that they will perform better.
But unfortunately, without giving them any help to put things into practice.
The thing is, as you and I know only too well, it’s one thing to read a book, watch a video, or discover a great new idea, but it’s another to take action and put any of this into practice.
You see, the problem is that the personal development philosophy comes up with ideas and paradigms that conflict with those you are I are subjected to on a daily basis.
It’s well nigh impossible to avoid being subliminally programmed with all sorts of things in the world around us. Even if we avoid the media we’re constantly bombarded with advertising and opinion and the more we are exposed to all this the more likely it is that our subconscious will form paradigms reflecting this environment.
Unless we do something about it.
The more frequently we see or hear something, and that’s not about reading or listening, the more likely it is to become a paradigm, or a programme or ‘app’ in our subconscious – we can’t help taking this stuff on board.
So you and I need to frequently and continuously ‘re-develop’ the real estate in our heads.
Either by changing or replacing what’s there or by building on new ground – and there’s always space in our heads for something new!
But there’s a snag.
It’s quite difficult, maybe impossible, to do this by yourself.
Just in the same way as it’s impossible for sportspeople to win championships by themselves, you and I need other people to help.
You and I need coaches, we need mentors, we need teachers and perhaps most of all people to be accountable to making sure that we do implement the new ideas and philosophies we need.
Even those of us who are coaches and mentors need coaches and mentors, and so on.
Yes, we can put the new structures in place, we can know what it is that we need to do, and we can even have a massive intention to do it.
But without a blueprint or plan to actually put this into practice and without coaching to help us implement that plan, nothing is going to happen.
As Trevor Mills one of my old mentors used to say, somewhat jokingly – “A plan is useless until it deteriorates into action”.