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Creating Happiness: Tools for Improving Your Life by James Carr - HTML preview

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Personal Development

 

What did I get myself in to?

 

You’ve started a project, but this is a project that never ends. This is new a path in your life that you not only want to go down, but you need to. This is a lifestyle change and a change to the way you think about everyday decisions. It is a realization of your true potential, your desires, and lifetime goals. If you’re one of the many people that don’t already know what they want out of life, we’re going to find that out. You will discover yourself and I will help you get motivated to take the first steps to achieving your goals.

 

You will find things in your life, big and small, that aren’t perfect and you will find ways to fix them. You will find things that you want to completely change. You will raise your standards, set goals that might seem unreasonable, and you will execute actions that are so powerful that you will cry when you succeed and prove to yourself that you’re capable of amazing things. You will meet those goals because you will have unlocked your true potential, which is on a level that you never thought possible. You can’t afford not to make this change.

 

The topic of personal development is very broad. It involves improving many different aspects of your life: knowledge, skills, awareness, leadership, values, social, relationships, wealth, health, potential, confidence, talents, and identity. One could probably write a series of books for each of those subjects, but what I plan to do is give you some understanding, some motivation, and the tools you need to improve on all of those aspects and also develop way of thinking that will stick with you for the rest of your life.

 

If you’re reading this book then chances are you are already aware of the phrases “personal growth” or “personal development”. These are often associated with various social stigmas about self-help. You might have heard these terms when referring to pseudo-scientific new age thinking systems like The Secret or The Law of Attraction. Well you need to disassociate the term “personal development” from anything except what it actually is-the act of growing yourself and improving your life.

 

The Law of Attraction: or so they say

 

While we’re on the subject of Law of Attraction, I have to explain this system and the hype it has created in recent years. The overall message that these ideas portray are indeed positive and have worked for many people. My problem with them is that they are over-complicated explanations for extremely simple subjects, presumably to create content and justify selling the product. I have a problem with over-complicating something for the sake of marketing when the right thing to do is the exact opposite: simplify something with the intention of helping people.

 

I have read many related books, including The Secret, and the overall message is the same throughout these books-think positive. That pretty much sums up The Secret in two words. The claim is that by thinking positive and focusing on what you want, instead of what you don’t want, you will bring yourself closer to obtaining what you want. Well there is so much more to it than that and you’re fooling yourself to think all you have to do is think positive.

 

The program goes on to explain how thinking positive is scientifically proven to give you what you want by relating it to Newton’s Law of Attraction. Well I hate to break it to you but Newton’s “Law of Attraction” is actually the Law of Universal Gravitation and deals exclusively with physics and nothing more, but I digress...

 

The actual underlying message of the Law of Attraction is actually quite useful and has truth to it-but I don’t give them credit. When you continuously think positive, your life will be much better. This isn’t due to Newton’s laws, but simple psychology. By thinking positive, your mind brings your level of awareness to focus on those things and you start to notice them.

 

For example, have you noticed that when you buy a car you start noticing that same model of car more often? Your mind is focused on that type of car whereas you ignored it before because it had no importance. But now your mind has given that type of car some level of importance, since you own one of them. If we were always aware of everything around us, we would go insane!

 

By focusing on reaching your goals instead of paying your bills, your mind is focusing your energy and effort towards meeting those goals. You will also begin to subconsciously adjust your actions and decisions to meet those goals. If you just sit and think about your debt and wallow in sadness, that’s what you will get and nothing will improve.

 

That is the message being portrayed with these Law of Attraction programs, however, in my opinion the execution is poor, deceptive, and caused a lot of negativity and criticism towards the personal development and self-help communities. We should re-think what positive thinking does and look at it from a more rational perspective. Don’t let the stigmas around The Secret or Law of Attraction deter you from investing some time into researching self-help and personal development.

 

Clarifying Self-Help

 

Not only do I want to clear up any misunderstandings with the topic of personal development, but I want people to understand that to get what you want, it takes more than just positivity. Just because you think positive, the universe isn’t going to magically bring you what you want. There isn’t an invisible force, driven by your thoughts, that pulls material goods towards your life. The universe doesn’t owe you anything.

 

I also want to clarify that self-help is not a solution to all of your problems.

Even though the purpose of self-help is to give you the tools and knowledge to help yourself overcome challenges, it does not mean you should just “suck it up” and ignore severe problems. We all need a little help sometimes and it is perfectly OK to ask for it. Signs of depression or PTSD, for example, are often not cured by any sort of self-help. In fact, trying to cure yourself can often make the condition worst. You should know when to consult with a therapist or other mental health professional.

 

Think of self-help also as a tool to understand how to distinguish severe problems that require medical attention from just making adjustments in your life to improve your way of living. Positive thinking is still important and so is personal development, as long as you understand its limits. It’s very powerful on a psychological level and it is one of the many tools that you need to unlock your full potential and earn the things you want in life, but it is not a replacement for medicine. Just be smart and be safe.