Personal growth is something that benefits all of us. The more you understand how your program works, the more effective and confident you become. This article is lengthy because we humans and the program we continually grow are complicated. I am only touching the surface.
How we are programmed is worth knowing because we are creatures of habit. Habits can work for us and against us. Let’s discover what is meant by your program and personal growth.
How significant is personal growth to people?
An estimated net worth of the industry is $11 billion. Growth is estimated at 5% every year. In 2013, people purchased 11 million books on personal development books. Check this out: 9 Personal Development Industry Statistics or this one: The $10 Billion Self-Improvement Market
I’ll Begin with the Ego
A part of you that most people know so little about is often referred to as your ego (your consciousness of your own identity), an imaginary image of yourself, the id, your shadow, the subconscious, or the hidden psyche. I’ll call it your Personal Growth Program – Your own set of instructions that direct your conscious actions, influenced by your subconscious and created by you.
We Are Complex Beings
Humans are incredibly complicated, often governed by forces beyond our control, which makes it hard to change habits, even if we want to. Hopefully, this won’t stop anybody trying because there’s no guarantee either way. There’s no point to life if we stand still or fail to experience the many potential beautiful opportunities that present themselves to us regularly.
We have different realities
Our personal growth program is perplexing enough, and delving into it can be even more confusing. We can also add another complication because there are the physical and spiritual realities to consider. I can’t be sure if my views come from one or the other, more than likely from both, but who knows which is dominant? The following is an article entitled Knowing: The Power of Spiritual Reality and is well worth reading. Here’s another article to look at because it helps us broaden our horizons: Consciousness creates reality.
Note: There are plenty of excellent articles on Google covering this topic if you wish to explore more.
One way people verbalise the ego is through quotes and poems. There are lots of great quotes and poems written about the ego. They’re interesting reading because they help you understand your ego in so many ways. You’ll find many on Google.
“Egotism is the anaesthetic which nature gives us to deaden the pain of being a fool.” Dr. Herbert Shofield
“Our ego is our silent partner-too often with a controlling interest.” Cullen Hightower
“If someone corrects you and you feel offended, then you have an ego problem.” Nouman Ali Khan
“More the knowledge, lesser the ego. Lesser the knowledge, more the ego.” Albert Einstein
Everybody wants to change something
Most people I know, or have observed throughout the years, want to change or improve some aspect of their lives. Every day people discover aspects of themselves that don’t work for them. We have so many elements, and you’ll be aware of some of yours. People often prefer to blame others for a situation they’re in because it’s easier to do so, instead of taking ownership of their own personal circumstances. Blaming others for our situation is a regular human trait. It’s the Personal Growth Program in action, and yours is something you can learn to modify, change, or adapt.
I’ll stick my neck out and say you’re like most people and have parts of yourself that you would change if you could. There are, unquestionably, other aspects you might want to change if you could see yourself the way other people do. Of course, there are always people who won’t agree with this or say there’s nothing they would change.
Don’t read on if you believe change is impossible because I don’t want to waste your time!
Personal Growth Program – Food for Thought
This article offers understanding, food for thought, and possibilities to consider if you choose to, or, if you want to, change some of your behaviours and habits. Simple steps can cause change, and you can find help or ideas in many places. People often seek others who have managed to change their own personal growth program, but this isn’t guaranteed because we are all different. Horses for courses. Lots of people do find solutions that work, but far too often, they give up before they embrace their desired changes. Giving up is almost definitely the personal program in action, orchestrated by an individual’s conscious and subconscious ego. They say ‘No pain, no gain,’ and this is often true.
The fact is – you can change. Once you adopt a new behaviour, it requires strength, courage and blind determination, but you can eventually learn to adapt, providing you spend enough time working on it.
Small Changes Can Create Huge Outcomes
I’m not only talking about significant change because small changes can have a massive impact, like dropping something little in water and watching the effect spread. I have seen plenty of individuals take baby steps that have made a big difference to their lives. Sometimes change is just a choice to do something, until, eventually, it becomes a new habit introduced to your personal growth program.
I stopped biting my nails and smoking this way. At the age of 11, I stopped biting my nails. I began smoking when I was about 7 years old and quit when I was 28 years old. There has been no desire or craving for a cigarette since 1973. I have no idea how I got over those bad habits just like that. It is something I truly wanted to do, and I made it happen.
Please appreciate the following before you read further:
The information in this article is my view, and it comes from reading 100s of books about the mind, body, and soul, spending thousands of hours participating in workshops, and experiencing therapies and bodywork. Plus, I’ve actively spent years facilitating workshops locally and internationally on the topic of communication, resolving conflict, getting your message across, breaking through barriers, and team building.
Remember: everything written in this article is open to your interpretation and how you choose to relate to the information.
I believe that every person is unique and should find their own solutions to life. Something either works for you or it doesn’t. You must make that decision for yourself.
However, you must also accept that your personal growth program could be faulty, and you can only learn what does and doesn’t work, through yourself AND other people.
You can rarely do it on your own. In fact, what’s the point of life if you don’t connect with other people? I believe you can’t grow or expand without being in contact with other humans and, deep down, who really wants to stagnate? I know, I know!! There will always be people who don’t agree with this.
I’m not an expert. I have spent a lot of time gathering knowledge and experience about myself in different ways. I know my program a little more and believe the journey is endless. There will always be new things to deal with and learn . I alsoknow the journey, so far, has been worthwhile. I have resolved several issues that have dictated my actions throughout my life. However, as I keep learning about myself, I discover and appreciate how much more there is to life.
One fact I know for sure is that I’m happier and more relaxed, although you wouldn’t always think so, and now I have a much better connection with life. For example – when I get involved in an argument or debate, I find it easier to backpedal out of the situation without feeling discomfort. It doesn’t mean these situations don’t occur anymore, because they do. The upside is that I have learned to extricate myself and, at the same time, often diffuse a problematic situation, leaving the potential for a win/win outcome. I now see more beauty and experience plenty of fun in life.
The media love to present experts to us to explain or verify something. An expert is someone who has, or shows, knowledge, skill, and aptitude. It doesn’t mean they’re right. People often follow what experts say.
When people accept comments by presumed experts without verifying through all the available information, mistaken beliefs spread through our society like wildfire, which can be dangerous.
It’s useful to know what works or what doesn’t about you but be careful of adopting opinions from so-called experts. It pays to verify everything for yourself, whether it’s through friends, family, colleagues, the internet, etc. and don’t ignore your own gut feelings.
I Am a Perfectionist
However, although not an expert, I have just recently realised, and accepted that I’m a perfectionist, which doesn’t always serve me. I’m looking into all the areas of my life which are impacted by the need to get it exactly right. Naturally, this is all part of my personal growth program. Perfection makes it very difficult to write this article because I keep trying to improve it. Every time I read it through, I find things I want to change
Here’s some information about the brain because it helps to have a basic understanding of its functions. It’s also well worth looking on the internet to learn more. Our brain is very complex and contains a vast amount of data. But how accurate is this data? The information on the internet informs us of the various brain functions and the areas they control.
The following descriptions appear to be a basic understanding held by most people.
The most substantial part of the brain. It’s responsible for functions such as memory, reasoning, judgement, thought, and action.
Coordinates muscle movements, maintains posture, and balance.
Controls messages between the brain and the body. It manages heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and swallowing.
Experts say the amygdala is part of the cerebrum and is responsible for the fight or flight response, although it apparently can’t distinguish between a real threat or a perceived one.
A critical fact to appreciate because it’s probably the reason some things seem impossible to change. I suspect certain things are unlikely to change, but we won’t know this, and it shouldn’t stop us working on anything. It still doesn’t mean we can’t learn to modify our personal program.
Your Personal Growth Program Controls All Your Actions
I believe your program is responsible for everything you choose to do, which are dictated by your mind/memory. If you want to change any of your automatic responses, you must bring elements of your subconscious to the conscious mind. You can do this by analysing your outcomes or listening to how people experience you. Once you accept responsibility for any situation you find yourself in, you can choose other actions to achieve different results.
Any change requires lots of practice
It doesn’t just happen. You must practice and practice before it becomes a permanent feature in your consciousness, and then in the subconscious. Your personal program is always trying to prevent you because the new behaviour is beyond its current reality.
You could spend your whole life trying to understand yourself. However, if you’re aiming for 100% success, you probably won’t achieve that goal because your conscious mind has many states, and your subconscious, as we know it, is unlimited. Your personal program begins developing as soon as you’re born. Some people believe it could be before birth. Over time, it becomes more entrenched, mostly in your subconscious.
Our Memory Stores Every Experience Permanently
Your personal growth program dictates every decision you make based on your experience. Your program makes decisions based on information gathered since you were born. It learned what kept you safe in different situations and ensures the same responses when those circumstances happen again in the future.
It controls everything you do, so it will help when you expose part of it to your conscious mind, especially if you want to make any changes. Once you have this awareness, you can choose different responses, rather than reacting the way you always have done, assuming you would prefer a different outcome. It’s never too late to learn how to change.
When Did Your Personal Program Begin?
Your program is a set of instructions created by you, and it has been consolidated daily since you were born. Every decision you make about your experiences (provided that it fits in with your reality), is accepted by your program. The tendency is to reject information that doesn’t fit. Effectively what we accept becomes what we know as our beliefs or values. You agree or reject information based on your personal set of instructions (beliefs).
Remember, your program’s goal is survival. (A common view but not necessarily held by everyone). It does what’s required to keep us safe, based on the personal program you created. Decisions we made about experiences (when we were young), can be a problem, because they may have been valid at the time, but are no longer valid. We learn to protect these beliefs by defending them, despite their invalidity.
Someone in your childhood days says, “you are stupid,” and it becomes implanted in your mind. You may have been told this once or repeatedly, but it doesn’t matter how many times you hear it if you believe it. You may decide at the time that you’re stupid, or you’re not stupid, whether it’s true or not. What you decide about this experience is specific to you and often stays with you, impacting future experiences.
Generally, you would anticipate that, from then on, you would avoid making decisions that may give people the impression that you’re stupid. Other people could make completely different decisions from the same experience. Unfortunately, this belief impacts future responses, and we’re not aware of this once it’s in our subconscious. Bringing this into our conscious mind almost definitely requires external input.
We’re very trusting and gullible at a young age, and we believe what people tell us. Some of us can still be trusting and gullible, even as we age. Decisions you made as a child impact your future, so for example, when someone says, “you’re so clever,” you know you’re not because you believe you’re stupid. This belief makes you uncomfortable, and you can’t acknowledge the compliment because it’s not right for you. Even worse, you can lose confidence in these moments and behave below your expectations of your usual self. The good news – you can fix this inaccurate belief and learn to accept compliments magnanimously in the future. Again, it’s harder to do on your own; in fact, it’s virtually impossible.
A cat scratched you. You decide cats are dangerous. You may even decide all pets are dangerous. There are many different possible reactions to the same experience. You decide, from then on, that all pets are dangerous, and choose to stay away from them. We all know pets can be dangerous, but mostly we know they’re friendly and cuddly and provide lots of benefits to their owners. You can learn to understand this and overcome your fear. Other people may blame the cat and take it out on all cats. Some people may have enjoyed being scratched by the cat, and thinking of the possible future consequences for that person is frightening. Anything is possible!
We make so many invalid decisions when we’re young that dictate our reactions throughout our life. These include: “I’m difficult,” “I’m not likable,” “I can’t think,” “I’m a waste of time,” “nobody likes me,” etc. It’s possible to change these beliefs once you become aware of them. Likely, you’ll always have them, but you can learn to make different choices in the future.
The first step in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is acceptance. It’s a 12-step program in which people support each other while dealing with their alcohol issue. I believe you must accept, as in step 1, if you want to change something before you can do anything about it. Available statistics seem to indicate that AA is only mildly successful, and most people don’t achieve their goal, although many do appear to reduce their alcohol intake for a period. The results are a clear indicator of the difficulty of changing your habits (beliefs), but you mustn’t let it stop you trying.
You Behave Like a Robot
I say this to make a point and not to offend you.
Note: You’re who you believe you are, regardless of what anybody says. If you react negatively to anything, especially emotionally, then it must be worth looking into, because maybe there’s some truth in it.
The bottom line is that you live your life like a robot because you generally respond to situations in the same way you always do. For example: if someone shouts at you, you’ll react as you always do. For some people, they will withdraw, while others may attack.
You’ll generally always respond in the same way. Every time you have a specific experience, your response is, as a rule, the same. People who know you are familiar with the way you usually conduct yourself. If you want to shock them, change something you always do, dramatically, then notice how they react because it will be outside their personal growth program’s knowledge of you.
Behaving like a robot implies you repeat yourself a lot, and that gives you plenty of opportunities to identify what you would like to change.
A mechanical robot has a program developed by a human being. If a robot doesn’t react the way it should, then the program is changed until it does. It’s that simple.
But YOUR program is different because it has been developed and consolidated over many years and continues to evolve.
The older it gets, the more difficult it will be to change because you’re not aware of it on a conscious level, and the actions/responses it manages for you are automatic. Where the mechanical robot acts the same way in all situations, you don’t. You have more choices. You have many possible responses, depending on the circumstances. If you have one usual situation, you’ll usually respond the same way as always, BUT not always. Responses vary according to the given situation.
A robot can’t do this – yet!
You’re often unaware of many of your automatic verbal and physical responses, thereby making it almost impossible to make any changes even if you want to. Other people can play a part as well.
IT’S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO CHANGE WITHOUT INPUT FROM OTHER PEOPLE
You’re not always aware of how other people see you, and you can only find out if they tell you. And this can be by their actions, not just their words. You can ask, and this sometimes requires a little skill to get honest feedback.
There are times when you recognise your own behaviour doesn’t meet your expectations or doesn’t work for you. Then you have a conscious insight into a part of your program you might choose to change.
Unfortunately, your perception could be completely off track. You either let it go or decide to do something about it. But what? Our personal growth programs can be quite complex. However, during these times, we can consciously recognise that we want different outcomes.
We know people want change from what they say – Many can’t hear themselves
We know people want change. For example, more than half the people at work today say they’re dissatisfied. Reasons include salary, boredom, limited promotion opportunities, and security.
It’s almost scary to contemplate the numbers of people who are unhappy at work and/or dissatisfied with life. Check the internet, and you’ll find lots of information to support this. You’ll also find many of the reasons why.
We know marriages fail, yet we still get married. Why? Because we want something. I believe what we want in life is buried deep in our subconscious, and it drives us towards it. Some people know what they want at a conscious level but, when they achieve it, they soon find out it’s not always satisfying.
Many people created wealth, and there are hundreds of examples of rich and famous people who lost it all.
You ask people what they want, and they’ll tell you money or happiness. I believe they’re looking for love but don’t realise they already have it. They don’t understand they have to love themselves first. When you love who you are, you gain the freedom to be yourself, and then the world is your oyster. This saying comes from Shakespeare. One meaning is – “You have the ability and the freedom to do exactly what you want.”
Most of us want to change at some point, and there’s no better way than prying yourself open first.
Human beings create the robot’s program, and it’s easily changed. If you want a robot to behave differently, rewrite some code, and test the results to ensure your amendments worked.
Simple? But not so for you. Your personal growth program is mostly subconscious and is consolidating over the years. The older you get, the more entrenched your automatic responses become. Your program dictates everything you do or say, and it’s much harder to change, especially as you age because it has become so entrenched. First, you must make yourself consciously aware of elements of the subconscious and then you’ll gradually gain more access to the freedom you want.
Another way to compare your program with that of a robot will show you how much harder it is to reprogram yours. When people began creating robots, they didn’t have today’s sophisticated technology to write their program, and this became a problem because it got so complicated and almost impossible to fix after a while. Now we can rewrite the whole program much quicker, and we can create modules that interact with each other, making it far easier to change or fix problems.
Our Program is Complex
We don’t have this with our personal growth program, because ours is a mishmash of data, generated over the years. We can only deal with what we consciously know. People are doing this all the time with the current problems they face, and it’s why there are so many coaches and therapists springing up all over the place to help them. When we learn to deal with our current issue, we can often find some other point finds its way into our consciousness, and this sequence can continue indefinitely.
The process is commonly known as personal development and, hence, why I’m writing about what I refer to as our personal growth program.
I find many people have a much better relationship with life when they experience a breakthrough, and this makes the process of understanding your personal growth program worthwhile. However, there’s always a risk, and some people don’t break through for many reasons. One reason I know of is that the code in the personal program was created very early in life, and it’s so entrenched that it can be tough to shift or modify.
It’s definitely worthwhile travelling a journey that releases more of the whole complete you in your magnificence.
Maybe People are Afraid to Look at Themselves
I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re uncomfortable analysing themselves. Some say they don’t see any point to it. At the same time, they, and many others, express their dissatisfaction with life and/or work and want more freedom or money every day.
If you want to change, it comes from inside, but if you find it scary to investigate yourself, then don’t keep reading!
If you want change, you must know yourself better. You can’t do this without other people. They can add to the information that will guide your decisions towards making changes.
Your brain manages all your bodily functions, which effectively, keep you alive. I’m sure we also have a part to play in keeping ourselves alive. You’ll find lots of fascinating information on the internet that may be contradictory and confusing. I believe change for us is quite hard, if not impossible at times because our own instructions for survival are so entrenched.
People Experience You from Your Behaviour
Friends, family, and work colleagues eventually learn how you communicate or behave most of the time. When you deviate from your normal behaviour, they get confused. If you want to test this, then try speaking or behaving differently and see how these people respond when you don’t do as they expect.
Your program may have similar paths to that of other individuals, but everyone’s program is unique, like fingerprints, because nobody has precisely the same life as you or makes the same decisions. While it’s easy to change a robot’s instructions, it’s not the same for your personal program. Another way to test this is by asking questions about any topic and notice that all responses differ in some way. We already know that, don’t we?
When you ask people such questions, you might not like or agree with their answers. You can often make people wrong because they have a different perspective to yours. It’s time to allow people to have the freedom of their beliefs, even if you completely disagree with them. Anything they believe doesn’t hurt you because they’re just words and thoughts.
I’m learning that this kind of thinking, when people have different beliefs, has a lot to do with the disharmony in our world. Why can’t we allow people to have different views and work towards understanding in order to achieve more harmony?
We must remember that the above note is limited by one rule that everybody must abide by, and this is: “Anything you say or do must never physically impinge someone else”.
You’ll find thousands of books and a mountain of information on the internet showing you how to improve all areas of your life. The problem is – you don’t know yourself that well, and most of the information available works for the person who wrote it but there’s no guarantee it will work for you. Every human-robot is programmed differently. If the people who provide these solutions don’t personally know you and you don’t know yourself that well, then how will they know if it will work for you? Don’t take my word for it. Most people have tried something, so ask people what they have tried and if it worked.
I’m not saying don’t try anything, because there are plenty of ideas out there that may make a difference to you. I’m just saying that you should be selective when you do and take responsibility for making YOUR choices. Do your homework. Speak to people and search the internet for other opinions before you try anything. There’s no value in making someone else responsible for your decisions. Remember there’s also a lot of invalid, and misguided information available.
There’s no perfect solution, and you’ll find something that eventually works for you. It’s a crime and, maybe even sad, if you don’t give it a go because everybody wants something different. You have nothing to lose.
There’s value in understanding your personal program because it’s unique to you. You can only create change by observing yourself, and in collaboration with others. However, be careful with whom you select. If you seriously want to change, you need lots of courage, humility, excellent listening ability, and awareness.
Final Point – The Now
The only moment in life is now. We have billions of opportunities for beautiful now moments. Now moments are challenging to explain to someone else. For example, sometimes, I can hit a terrific shot when playing golf. I feel it, but I can’t explain it from within me. Others can see the outcome, but they have no connection to my feeling at the moment I strike the ball. The moment comes, and it goes. You can’t hang on to it. You may have more, but they never stay. Moments may set you free, but they never hang around.
Now is the only time you can enjoy. Trying to cling on to the moment or repeating the moment is a waste of time and impossible. You can duplicate the experience but never repeat it. You will have so many opportunities, for now, moments throughout your life, but if you insist on recreating a past moment, then you’re stuck. Life is now.
Get to Know your Personal Growth Program
This article took me weeks to put together. I don’t expect you to absorb it all in one pass. Hopefully, it makes more sense after being read a few times. There are almost definitely errors, repetition (sometimes intentional), and much to which you may disagree. I welcome your feedback and comments because we all learn from collaboration.