Relieve Anxiety

The Problem With Personal Growth Techniques

Empty Hotel RoomIf you are interested in experiencing positive change in your life, you’ve probably noticed there’s a lot of “secrets” and special techniques for doing that.  I have been deluged with more than my share of these offers and I try to sift through them to discover the real gems.  In this post, we’ll explore two mistakes that can hinder your search for “the secret” that will work for you.

As I witness the use of personal growth techniques, I notice two issues coming up again and again.  The first is this: Many of us search for the “ultimate secret” and never quite do what it takes for any of these techniques to work. 

Here’s how that could happen.  You have the idea that what you need is that “one special thing” that is going to give you inner peace, success, abundance, release from pain, super-health, etc.  You might search for “that” in a super-food, a special exercise, an emotional release technique, a meditation method, and so on.

You find something that claims to give you what you want, so you buy it.  You rush to try the technique without even reading the Introduction or learning much of what it is about.  You’re in a hurry for “results!”  You want them right now!

And . . . it doesn’t “do it” for you—at least, not right away.  You find that your mind is just as agitated as ever, you still feel negative, you haven’t lost weight, you’re still stressed, you’re still broke, and you keep doing that behavior that you just can’t seem to stop doing.  “Guess that’s not it,” you say to yourself.

Still hopeful, you might try it a few more times.  However, if it still doesn’t “rock your world,” you set it aside or send it back and ask for a refund.  Pretty soon, you’re back on the search for something that will work better.  I call this “the search for the magic pill” and it can be an endless search.  (Interestingly, many products bought on the “magic pill search” are never even opened!)

A second mistake can happen when you find a technique that you have a bit of success with.  Because of that, you end up obsessing over the technique.  You become a perfectionist about it.  You do it so much, or work at it so long and so hard, that you lose sight of the very experience that the technique points you toward.

The purpose of a technique is to lead you into an experience.

However, you can become so obsessed with “perfecting the technique” that you lose the experience you were after in the first place.  You get hung up on the tiniest details, on self-judgments about if you are “doing it right,” or on trying so hard that you lose the joy in the process, you lose “the point of it all.”  You end up “doing your personal growth” just like you’re “doing your life”—which is what made you seek a personal growth technique in the first place.

So, what’s “the secret” to personal growth, if it’s not in finding the best, most special, unique, one-of-a-kind, secret technique and trying hard to do it the right way?

In my estimation, it’s to understand the fundamental shift of personal development and spiritual growth and keep that in mind.  That is “the shift from ego to Essence.”  (Though you can certainly phrase this in a variety of ways.)

What does that mean?  It means to recognize that all the stuff that is plaguing your life is the result of identifying with your “small self”—your personal history of trauma, your story, your drama, or your negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  In short, “your stuff.”

Here’s the key: Your stuff is not “who you are.”

In Essence, you are an eternal, peaceful, loving presence who is an expression of the One Life that we all share.

You already are “that,” so you’re not going to have to try real hard at it—it’s more like recognizing what “already is” and understanding how to access “that.”  And “that” is the key to everything else that you are after!

You might find other words that describe different aspects of your Essential Being.  However, from my perspective, the foundation of personal development and spiritual growth is to experience “that” and grow from “there.”

Insofar, as a technique helps you more clearly connect to “who you are” and “the Source of your Being,” it may be helpful to you.  It might be something you’d want to do consistently to grow that experience in your life.  It might be highly worth practicing—and there are many great methods that can help you grow “that” in your life.

2 replies on “The Problem With Personal Growth Techniques”

Hi Kevin,
Great in depth explanation. It makes me wonder if part of the fear that we won’t do a technique right, is akin to an overall lack of confidence. An unopened package is like telling ourselves that if we don’t try it, we can’t do it wrong.
There is so much pressure to “do”, that it can be difficult to just “be,” and yet that may be where we need confidence the most.

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