People Skills, Communication Skills, Problem Solving, Personality & Maturity Skills
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Self-improvement – The Real Deal

    Beware, because self-improvement may not be what you think it is. 

    ‘I count him braver who overcomes his desires, than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.’ – Aristotle.

    self-improvementMany of the people who come to see me have previously attended self-improvement courses.  And after coming to understand what I explain to them about their core temperament, they realize that all the stuff they were doing before was at such a surface level, that it was actually ineffective.  To help put this into context, take a look at the schematic below, which comes from the slide set I use in the personality assessment sessions:

    Behavioural Emanation

    If you are trying to become a better person by doing these surface level self-improvement courses, then at best, you are really only playing around with persona stuff.  And this is all well and good, provided you are buying these courses on that basis.  But most people aren’t buying these courses on that basis.  They are buying them thinking they will make them a better spouse and maybe help ensure the security of their marriage.  They are buying them thinking they will get help in becoming a better all-round person, which will make them a better friend, parent, boss or co-worker.  And to some extent, trying to improve your relational capability will go some way to oiling your social machine.  But doing so without any knowledge of your underpinning attitudinal inclination…or your underlying pattern of emotionality and mentality…or even your basic temperament, is like playing blind man’s buff.  BlindMansBuff
    And this is why most people miss any real opportunities for growth and development.  
    They are so busy being distracted by all the surface persona stuff of life, that they miss the specifics – they miss the underlying truths that are specific to them and their growth along the continuum to maturity and personal enlightenment.

    ahaIt is these specifics that create the ‘Aha Moments’ of life.  That is, if you’re not too busy being distracted to notice them.  It is something of a paradox that it doesn’t take long to have an ‘aha moment’ … and so it doesn’t take long to miss one either. Moments when you see things differently and then begin to feel and think differently.  Moments when your same-old…same-old pattern gets interrupted and you notice something special in the unexpected.  Moments when you get to see the deep issues that lie below the surface issues.

    People spend many hours on self-improvement courses not realizing that it isn’t hours spent that matters … it’s moments lived.  Moments lived outside of what you normally think and feel and do.  Moments that surprise you and even shock you.  MomentHourGlassMoments when you finally ‘get’ something outside of the box of your subjective, even selfish, thinking processes. Moments when someone says something that you would never even have thought of, let alone come to understand about yourself.

    RolePlayWhat’s more, many of these so-called self-improvement courses involve ‘contrived exercises’ or ‘role playing scenarios’ that are very generalized so as to be recognizable to a lot of people…but they are so non-specific as to be ineffective for anything more than surface learning for you as an individual.  These kinds of courses can be likened to ‘simple rote learning’ compared to the ‘deep and profound education’ that you really need, in order to be able to master your ‘warts and all’ self.  If you do not learn to master your deep self, you will only be kidding yourself that you are becoming a better person…all your learning will be illusory…and all of your so-called ‘changes’ will really just be more of the same old persona habits, only in different guises, with different labels.  

    Ironically, if you do not learn to see through your persona to your deepest self, you will only ever be a slave to that self and you will never learn to become the true master of it.  Real self-development is actually incredibly confronting – and it really needs to be – because in order to develop, you have to be able to take stock of your true self…and appraise it…and then correct even the most self-centered of its misconceptions.  It is one of the enduring ironies of life, that you need to be selfish enough to look out for your own best interests…and yet selfless enough to be able to see past yourself to others, so that you can learn how to get along with them.  This is well-nigh impossible without some kind of objective outside help – because you just can’t see the wood for the trees when you are subjectively looking at yourself.  mirror It’s a bit like looking at yourself in a mirror … you really only get to see the surface you…and front on…and only through your own eyes.  Much better to get a more in-depth, 360 degree look through someone else’s eyes…and the more objective those eyes are…the better. 

    self-analysisBut you also need someone who won’t judge you.  You need someone who simply gives you the objective facts, enabling a judgment of yourself, by yourself.  And the only way for you to be able to change yourself, is for you to be able to see more of yourself…and more objectively…so that you can decide what you really do and don’t need to change.   And it is in all of these layers that you need transformational information – not just in your surface layer … because you can’t effect deep and meaningful change, with surface information.  In short, you need to discover who you really are deep down, so you can find out who you really are capable of becoming.  In the final analysis, you actually can’t become something that doesn’t align with who you really are deep down…and any attempts to do so will only end in you feeling awkward and false.

    And this is why I advocate true self-awareness.  The kind of awareness that includes your character as well as your persona, MindQuestion0your selfishness as well as your selflessness, your deepest behavioural preferences as well as your foremost learned behaviours.  For we are all social, as well as private, individuals … and we need a holistic look at ourselves before we can even begin to know where to start on the road to self-improvement. I have a quintessential story that goes with the main schematic above, which you really need to hear, in order to fully appreciate your true self in all your complexity (not to mention all your relationships in all their complexity).  Hopefully, I will get to share that story with you in person some time … perhaps a time when you feel you are ready for some of the real deal answers to many of these sorts of complexities. 



      A problem shared .... is a problem halved ... and a problem shared with the right person ... is a problem solved!

      Steven Bailey-Brown

      Human Dynamics Facilitator

      45 Ventnor Avenue, West Perth, WA 6005
      Mobile: 0403 969 527