Friday, March 5, 2010

Personal Development for Smart People: Introduction

The first book I will discuss here is Personal Development for Smart People written by Steve Pavlina.

Personal Development for Smart People is divided in two parts. The first part introduces the seven principles truth, love, power, oneness, authority, courage and intelligence. The second part applies all these principles to the different domains habits, career, money, health, relationships and spirituality. What follows are my short notes on the seven principles.


The aspects of truth are :
  • perception : Recognize where you are and what you like and dislike about your life.
  • prediction : Compare your predicitions with reality.
  • accuracy : Accept the vagueries of life but strive to make it as clear as possible. Don't deny risks but manage them intelligently.
  • acceptance : Fully and completely accept the truth and the consequences of your predictions. Never pretend to yourself.
  • self-awareness : Become aware of your strengths, weaknesses, talents, knowledge, biases, desires, emotions, instincts, habits, ...
Some blocks to truth are :
  • media conditioning : Truth conflicts with profit. Time spent in media consumption is time lost from direct experience.
  • social conditioning : You need to release erronous and inaccurate beliefs. Self-trust more important than social conformity.
  • false beliefs
  • emotional interference : Strong emotions can corrupt your ability to perceive reality accurately
  • addictions : Make it harder to accept reality and reinforce ignorance and denial
  • immaturity : Lack of experience.
  • second gain : Temporarily benefiting from embracing falsehood.

You need to learn to embrace truth and relinquish falsehood. Truth enhances growth, falsehood destroys it.


The essence of love is to decide to connect. You should deliberately decide which connections you'll strengthen and which you'll allow to weaken.

The aspects of love are :
  • connection : Can connect with groups, objects, places, ideas, values and activities. Freedom to connect and disconnect. The initiative is up to you.
  • communication : Mean to express love. Best relationships have enough common ground but are stimulating growth in new directions. Purpose is to create a connection. In person communication creates a deeper connection.
  • communion : Deep sense of bounding. True purpose of relationship is self-exploration. Loving yourself unconditionally is the result of a conscious choice.
Some blocks to love are :
  • disconnected mind-set : Wrong believe in separation. Resolve this by trying to imagine that you're alreay connected to everyone else
  • fear of rejection : Makes minor interactions feel like gigantic threats. Only way to fail is to refuse to try.
  • incompatibility : Allow yourself to let go of anything that no longer resonates with you. Letting go is an essential part of personal development
  • lacks of social skill : Probably a lack of experience. Foster the conditions to allow your natural communication style to emerge. Begin with the most compatible, comfortable, loving group you can find.

Love enables you to discover your true self. This is accomplished by initiaiting connections with others. The purpose of relationships is to teach you how to love yourself.


Power stands for the ability to consciously and deliberately create the world around you.

The aspects of power are :
  • responsibility : Accept total responsibility for your life, it's inescapable. Solve your problems proactively. Be willing to do what is necessary to create the desired outcome.
  • desire : Fuel of power. Never deny that you want what you want. Only true desire summons true power
  • self-determination : You're completely free to decide what you want and you never need to justify it. You're only constraints are your decisions and their consequences.
  • focus : Focus your attention on the current moment, it's the only place you have real power. Set goals that improve your present reality.
  • effort : If you aren't driven to act, means your intentions are weak.
  • self-discipline : Willingness to do what it takes to achieve the results you want regardless of your mood. It keeps you moving when unmotivated, lazy, bored, ...
Some blocks to power are :
  • timidity : God who declares, "let me be powerless".
  • cowardice : Practice of using your power to feed your fears instead of your desires.
  • negative conditioning : Misled to believe that power is bad or evil.

You aren't here to be weak, you're here to shine. Accept responsibility for your life. Problems are there to help you grow.

Oneness = Truth + Love

Being connected is your natural state. Oneness is knowing you're already connected.

The aspects of power are :
  • empathy : You must commit yourself to do good.
  • compassion : You're connected to everyone, no one is undeserving love.
  • honesty : Lying to others is no different from lying to yourself. Hold yourself to the standard of truth.
  • fairness : Fairly balance the individual needs with the needs of the larger whole.
  • contribution
  • unity : Leave thoughts of separation behind. Responsibility for everything in your environment.

Relinquish thoughts of separation. Allow your consciousness to expand beyond the limitations of your ego.

Authority = Truth + Power

Truth without power accomplishes nothing, power without truth generates wasted action. Blend knowledge and action to produce intelligent results.

The aspects of authority are :
  • command : You are in command, you make the decisions, you take the actions. If you fail to claim authority over your life, someone else will surely claim it for you.
  • effectiveness : Correct decisions ? Correct actions ? Experience is the best teacher of effectiveness.Be willing to make decisions that may fail.
  • persistence : Failure is an unavoidable part of succes. An expert is a person who has failed enough to succeed. Efforts will pay off, as log as you keep learning and growing.
  • confidence : Deep believe in your capacities. Deep soulful recognition of the truth that you're a powerful being.
  • significance : Focus on what really matters to you.

You're the final authority of your life. Get in touch with what's most important to you in life. What really matters to you ?

Courage = Love + Power

Power is the action component and love is the motivational force of courage.

The aspects of courage are :
  • heart : Does your path have a heart ? Courage instead of false security.
  • initiative : Wait for nothing, actively create what you want.
  • directness : Don't loose time and energy trying to avoid rejection. Even failure is positive, you faced your fear.
  • honor : Take action to honor your path.

Face your fears. Summon the courage to follow your dreams.

Intelligence = Truth + Love + Power

The aspects of intelligence are :
  • authenticity : Just be yourself.
  • creative self-expression : Tune in to your primary message (truth), connectedness makes you wanting to share (love) and power is necessary to cultivate a medium that suits your message.
  • growth : Most intelligent thing you can possibly do with your life is to grow !
  • flow : Flow results from conscious thought and action in the direction of your dreams.
  • beauty : You'll see the beauty of all personal growth challenges when you see them trough the lenses of truth, love and power.

Truth, love and power form the essence of human intelligence.

So this was for me the essence of the 7 principles from the first part of Personal Development for Smart People. I hope it is useful for you and I welcome any comments.

Next post in this series is about Becoming more truthful.

No comments:

Post a Comment