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Personal growth: Moderation as a path to serenity May 1, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal development, Goal Setting and Realization.
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A lack of moderation or, more precisely, the presence of excess, in virtually any component of our personal development efforts can turn the positives in our self-improvement into negatives.

Examples:

  • Too much emphasis on meditation can result in a lack of necessary actions needed to achieve goals
  • Too much action, and not enough thought, can produce an undisciplined approach to our plan
  • Over-emphasis of the intellectually abstract can dull our appreciation of the concrete and practical
  • Always insisting on total consistency in our thoughts and actions can make us inflexible
  • Overdoing our search for self-knowledge can make us less empathetic towards others

We are more likely to achieve the results we want if we take a balanced or moderate approach in our efforts towards improvement.

The tendency towards spending too much intellectual and emotional energy (and time) on one particular aspect of our plan or program is often the result of feeling we need to overcompensate for what we perceive to be a negative in a life circumstance, or intellectual and emotional make-up.

Chapter 9 of Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching sheds some light on the negative results stemming from a lack of moderation:

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity. (1)

(1) The Tao Te Ching, as interpreted/translated by Stephen Mitchell, published by HarperPerennial, A Division of HarperCollins Publishers, 1991

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