Invading the taboos of personal development
Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind wants to start a revolution, if he hasn't already, "based on authentic action - a social movement of people liberating themselves through living on their own terms. He wants us to de-compartmentalize our lives and start living in complete congruence with our selves.
What this entails is a cessation of all pretension. Don't compel yourself to be or appear to be a different person when with company and a different person alone. Don't distinguish between yourself at work and yourself while playing or having fun. Let that which is "you" flow throughout your day and throughout all situations of your life. In other words, let all of your action be truly yours - authentic and on your terms, not in any way dictated by the norms and expectations of others.
This is a powerful idea and it resonates incredibly with what I want to convey on DoublePlusHuman. In fact I think this idea contributes to a revolution the size of which even Jonathan Mead himself might not be fully aware of yet. It is revealed in the answer to this simple question: What if we take "authentic action" and "living on your own terms" to their logical conclusion?
What if we take it all the way?
Typically whenever I read about self improvement and personal development it either covers general attitudes usually promoting such ideas as positive thinking, focus and taking action or it is more specific advice pertaining to such issues as finding what you love to do, management of your time and productivity or building a successful business. All of it conveniently routes around two among the biggest factors of personal development: political and religious beliefs.
It is as if these two things do not constitute a huge part of what each individual is as a person, as if these two things exist in some other realm that is so sacred that it should never be touched. I suppose they are omitted because it's a "safe" thing to do. "Whatever you say, don't delve into people's religious and political beliefs." That seems to be the unspoken rule among even the most outspoken of personal development coaches and gurus. It is as if there is a hidden contract between them and their readers: "I wont show you mine if you don't show me yours." So they remain mutually oblivious to some of the most fundamental parts of what fuels their thinking, yet they hope to "guide" one another to personal success.
One might argue that this is a matter of tolerance as if the mere act of honestly expressing your political or religious opinions is an act of violence against those who disagree. What kind of "tolerance" is it that keeps everyone quiet? No, it is not about tolerance so much as it is an irrational taboo based on fear. It is the fear of conflict, fear of having to untie some of the ugliest knots of human mentality, the fear of having to do the REAL work in personal development - the truly world changing work.
All of that, however, makes it all the more important to do just that, to delve just into these waters, to make personal development into a discipline that explores everything that makes up who you as a person are without compromise and with no stone left unturned. The question is how willing and brave are you to do that? How willing are you to question your deepest convictions? If not willing enough then your "personal development" probably wont develop you very far because you'll always remain stuck to what you were too afraid to question.
The same questions apply equally to those who like to give advice and those who receive it. We are ultimately in the same business, the business of helping people evolve and thus helping the world change. Can you really take that responsibility with honesty and integrity?
To go back to the matter of "authentic action" and "living on your own terms" and the question of what the logical conclusion of these ideas are let's think about them in the context of politics and religion, these great taboos of personal development that nobody seems willing to touch.
Just think about these questions.
Is your government really letting you act authentically and live on your own terms? If you live on your own terms then what about the law?
Is your religion conducive to you acting authentically and living on your own terms? If you live on your own terms then what about "god's law"?
If your political views or your religion flies in the face of you being authentically yourself and living on your own terms how can you reconcile the contradiction? Do you choose to subject yourself to whatever the law says? Wouldn't that be living on "their" terms rather than yours? Or maybe do you choose to pretend that "yourself" is defined by compliance?
I will leave you to think about these questions, if you're brave enough to dare. You can try to answer these questions in the comments below.
Image by megwills.