Monday, June 28, 2010

How to Help Your Personal Evolution Pick Up Speed

Public schools should teach evolution.

NOTE: I’m not referring to all that reptilian brain, vestigial organ, monkey-into-man stuff.

I’m talking about personal evolution.

Much more valuable subject.

THINK ABOUT IT: The word “evolution” comes from the Latin evolvere, meaning, “to unfold, open out, expand.”

Can you think of anything more important to your growth as a species than that?

Me neither.

Let’s explore a collection of practices for helping your personal evolution pick up speed:

1. Abandon the lifeless. When I turned thirty, I made a conscious decision: Surrender to the next chapter of my development as a person. Instead of turning thirty years old, I viewed my birthday as an upgrade to the 3.0 version of myself. I even memorialized the evolution by ordering orange silicon bracelets to commemorate this life change.

The cool part is, wearing that bracelet every day keeps me accountable to the best, highest version of myself – which I’m becoming. It also keeps me away from the lesser, former version of myself – which I’ve abandoned.

In fact, the bracelet is so effective that I’ve decided to order a new one each December to symbolize the growth theme for following year. Have you made a public commitment to relevant action?

2. Activate an aggressive growth campaign. Regularly ask yourself three penetrating questions:

(a) Which behaviors are preventing you from making progress towards becoming the next best version of yourself?
(b) Are you actually changing yourself or just changing the mask?
(c) Are you actually changing or just becoming more of what you were?

You might consider writing them on sticky notes and posting them around the house. By keeping the questions in front of your face, you help lay the groundwork for your next initiative. That’s the awareness-based secret to helping your personal evolution pick up speed. What reminders will you use to keep yourself growing?

3. Don’t assume you’re in charge. Instead, deal with whatever life presents itself to you. Because whether or not you want to admit it, whatever happens next is exactly what is supposed to happen. Accidents are not. As I learned in Shakti Gawain’s Reflections in the Light, “Life always confronts you with whatever you’re hoping you don’t have to deal with.”

The good news is, everything that shows up in your life can be used. All you have to do is ask the ultimately leverage question. Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?

4. Accept the prescriptions of nature. Certain things are going to be inevitable features of the landscape. Whether it’s your age, geography, health or personal disposition, evolution is learning to accept the unchangeable.

For example, I can’t play team sports the way I used to. In my twenties, I’d regularly participate in volleyball, basketball and kickball intramurals after work. Not anymore. I’ve come to terms with my own vulnerability.

And I recognize that, as fun as they are to play, it’s not worth hurting my (apparently) fragile body during a Sunday game of kickball to feel my knees ache during a four-hour workshop on Monday, thus letting my audience down with a less-than-best performance. Bummer. I had a cannon from third base. Are you a practitioner of unconditional self-acceptance?

5. Gradually release the old. Determine what you would like to have room for. Then, create the space you need by heeding one or more of the following pieces of advice: Avoid outdated frameworks. Conquer obsolete fears. Discard old scripts. Dismantle outmoded assumptions. Dispose irrelevant presuppositions. Eliminate useless answers. Reject aged procedures.

In the same way that productivity is about what you avoid, personal evolution is about what you discard. Sure, it’s hard to let go of a part of yourself – especially something that’s working. But sometimes you have to destroy yourself to reinvent yourself. What are you holding onto that no longer serves you?

6. Learn to love what’s good for you. One of the saddest days of my life was January 11th, 2010. That’s when my dentist gave me (and my teeth) an ultimatum: Stop eating sweets and start flossing – or endure an extremely painful surgical procedure.

As you can guess, my answer didn’t require much thought. Sometimes all it takes for a guy like me to evolve is the threat of excruciating pain.

Lesson learned: Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. Although I secretly miss Twizzlers like a long distance girlfriend. God damn it. What do you need to learn to love?

7. Risk looking at what’s not working. First, give yourself permission to have difficult conversations with yourself. Summon the self-confrontational courage to look at your life squarely and candidly. Try asking yourself the key question: “If my life were perfect, how would it be different from how it is today?”

Next, notice what answers, feelings and bodily responses arise. Write them down. Then, consciously commit to narrowing that gap.

Remember: Don’t let the pursuit for perfection stop you from trying. Become skilled at dropping the rocks that are slowing you down. Are you stuck doing what’s not working?

REMEMBER: The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.

If evolution follows involution, start on the inside and watch what happen on the outside.

Who knows? You might even like the new version of you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Have you surrendered to the next chapter of your personal evolution?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, "14 Things You Don't Have to Do Anymore,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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