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Personal growth and the unavoidable perils of living May 26, 2017

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal growth.
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Sometimes in our ongoing quest for the ideal life in our personal development and self-actualization efforts it can seem like we are too often going uphill, running into obstacles, stumbling, and making little progress.

We encounter failures and mistakes; emotional “ups and downs” – some of them severe – all of which might make us feel as though our self-improvement efforts are not on the right path.

In the resulting moods of self-doubt, we seriously question ourselves and our capabilities.

However, consider this comment from psychologist/psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung:

“When one follows the path of individuation (1), when one lives one’s own life, one must take mistakes into the bargain; life would not be complete without them. There is no guarantee – not for a single moment – that we will not fall into error and stumble into deadly peril. We may think there is a sure road. But that would be the road of death…Anyone who takes this sure road is as good as dead.” (2)

Jung, who personally went through a period of intense mental and emotional upheaval and stress, which he sometimes referred to as his “illness”, also noted:

“I have also realized that one must accept the thoughts go on within oneself of their own accord as part of one’s reality …the presence of thoughts is more important than our subjective judgement of them. But neither must these judgements be suppressed, for they are also existent thoughts which are part of our wholeness.” (3)

(1) In Jungian psychology, also called analytical psychology, individuation is the process in which the individual self develops out of an undifferentiated unconscious – seen as a developmental psychic process during which innate elements of personality, the components of the immature psyche, and the experiences of the person’s life become, if the process is more or less successful, integrated over time into a well-functioning whole. [Source of definition: Wikipedia]

(2) Carl Jung from his posthumously published biography, Memories Dreams, Reflections

(3) Memories, Dreams, Reflections

— Dennis Mellersh

Personal growth: The significance of limitations May 25, 2017

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal growth.
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In our quest for maximum self-actualization, individuation, and personal development, there is a danger in our not recognizing our limitations; and in turn, not setting limitations on what we can realistically expect to accomplish.

It’s an especially difficult challenge for anyone with ambitious and eclectic interests.

The reality of time

We are limited by many factors, but the chief restraint is time.

When we look at the time available for self-improvement efforts after meeting just work and family responsibilities, for example, there are not many hours available to us.

Additionally, of course, the time available to us decreases as we get older.

Yet, this does not stop many of us from taking on an unreasonable load of self-development goals on our lifetime to-do lists.

The desire to be an expert

We are all largely familiar with the general axiom about acquiring basic expertise in any discipline: the 10,000 hour time-investment rule.

That does not sound like too much over a lifetime, but consider that 10,000 hours represents about 250 steady 40-hour weeks, or five years, devoted solely to the area we want even basic expertise in. Ten years or more, part-time.

So, there’s no defeatism in simply recognizing that we are not likely going to learn to play a musical instrument with even basic expertise. We simply don’t have that amount of time available.

But we don’t need to be experts

If we want to study and practice less than 10,000 hours, we can learn an instrument well enough that it adds to our appreciation of music and enriches our lives.

The same reasoning applies to the amount of work we are willing or able to commit to any area of our personal improvement efforts. We don’t need to gain expert status in any particular field in order to gain personal growth benefits from it.

— Dennis Mellersh