How To Unwrap Your Mind – Or Why Personal Development Sucks

Personal Development
Unwrapping Flower

First I like to welcome all of you who are excited and confused at the same time about the thought of unwrapping your mind. Haven’t you noticed that it was wrapped altogether in the first place? No, I don’t mean a nice wrapping with a nice ribbon around. What wrapping do I mean? I am talking about all the ideas, thoughts, beliefs and systems that fool you into thinking that you or the universe are limited, incomplete and need a fixing. Most of these ideas and beliefs you adopted from others at a very early age and since then they populate your nice little mind, cloaking it and make you feel small, worthless, not good enough, sick and in need for outside expert advice. Of course your might think that Personal Development is the answer to this dilemma. But wait and you might find out that Personal Development might increase your problems more than it might help you.

What has Personal Development really done for you (and me)?

Reflecting on my life and on a lot of my friends who are on any form of path (Spiritual, Mind Development, you name it), I wholeheartedly have to ask myself: What has Personal Development really done for me (and them)? Yes in several areas my life has improved dramatically. As an example: I am much more confident than I was 20 years ago. Question is only whether that would not have happened if I have not visited several seminars, etc.

However the real important question is: Is my life better than it was some years back?

That could be a tougher question to answer if you’re not only looking at certain areas (e.g. I improved my finances or my productivity) but at your life as a whole.

I would like to tell you, how I came to this domain name. It was born of frustration. I was frustrated about this whole concept of Personal Development. After having been on this path for nearly 30 years – yes, I started pretty early – can I honestly say that I have developed myself? Can anyone honestly say so, after some deep thinking? And what does “development” means in the first place?

What does Personal Development stands for today?

If you do a WordNet search you’ll quickly find out, that TODAY „development“ is associated with the act of improving. So the betterment is the benchmark of development.

  • Is my life getting better through Personal Development?
  • Is my personality getting better through Personal Development?

These are important and tough questions to ask yourself. And what does better mean?

Is Better really meaning that in the Now there is something missing and there is something (money, information, behaviors, etc.) that needs to be added?

In a nutshell – does Personal Development really means I am incomplete and can only be complete by adding new stuff to my Personality?

What is the real meaning of Personal Development?

Whenever I would really like to know the meaning of a word, I turn to the Online Etymology Dictionary.There you will find the following:

develop 1656, “unroll, unfold,” from Fr. developper, replacing Eng. disvelop (1592, from M.Fr. desveloper ), both from O.Fr. desveloper, from des- “undo” + veloper “wrap up,” of uncertain origin, possibly Celt. or Gmc. Modern figurative use is 18c. The photographic sense is from 1845; the real estate sense is from 1890. Development first attested 1756.

There you have it – “development” in its essence means to undo a wrap up. And that would of course mean that upfront there was a wrap up. Something that you need to take off to develop.

So whenever we are talking from now on about Development, we are NOT talking about adding new stuff, making something better or any of that.

We are talking only and exclusively about undoing something that has wrapped us up in the first place. So Personal Development should mean to develop / to unwrap those things from your Personality that hides the real Persona from showing up.

In that meaning, it is congruent with the ancient Greek aphorism “gnōthi seauton” (know thyself / yourself) that was inscribed in the pronaos (forecourt) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.

How Personal Development makes us sick.

Today especially in the Personal Development Industry the term “Personal Development” is often used to make us feel unfinished, incomplete – because we need to develop, we need to become better – and so we go for all the promises of the Gurus to fix us, to make us better, to make us complete at last. And that is the biggest illusion and scam that is used as the main marketing instrument in the first place.

They say – only if you follow me, you will get fixed, you will find inner peace (another one of their attraction words). And so you have to add their thinking, their methods, their programs to your incomplete mind to become a complete mind. And then – they release another program or someone else becomes the next Superhero of Human Development. And you realize that the holy gates of bliss are now even farther away lands for you. And so the path that you were following turns into a trip, where you are craving for another dose of the drug of those clever pushers of salvation.

How to escape the rut of Personal Development?

Don’t worry – I’ve been on this trip myself. I’ve been buying all the books, tapes, memberships, etc. But when it dawned on me, that adding all this information, trying to live up to their ideas only made me experience more stress and made me feel even more like a loser – that maybe the problem was not within me, but in approaching all of this as a problem.

Maybe I don’t need a fix, maybe I am already complete deep within me, maybe I don’t need to do all of this – to just experience bliss and peace of mind.

Maybe the best thing I could do is forget most of the teachings – and just remember my inner wisdom that will guide me far better than all external knowledge to the place where I am destined to go.

Maybe there is more power to un-learning all of that useless information than in learning any more new stuff (I really don’t like to say it – I love learning – but constant learning of new things can also be an escape from connecting with yourself)

How to use Personal Development Information?

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t say that you should refrain from learning or listening to good information. It is not the information out there that is causing the problem but our own approach to it.

I am a big believer in constant re-membering, i.e. learning. Did you know that education also has nothing to do with adding new stuff? If you look again at the Online Etymology Dictionary you will find the following for the word education:

educate 1447, from L. educatus, pp. of educare “bring up, rear, educate,” which is related to educere “bring out,” from ex- “out” + ducere “to lead” (see duke). Meaning “provide schooling” is first attested 1588 in Shakespeare. Educationese “the jargon of school administrators” is from 1966; educrat first attested 1968, usually pejorative, second element from bureaucrat (q.v.). Educable is from 1845. Educated guess first attested 1954.

To educate means to bring out that which is already within you!

So all the information that is out there only should make you re-member the knowledge that is already within you.

The information should strike an emotional chord within you. As if you met a long lost friend after several years in a foreign town. And it should feel easy and uplifting>

You might say that’s vague – but that only shows how far we have gone astray from trusting our innate feelings, which is natures best guiding system, when it comes to our own development.

Why is it, that some things I learned come easy for me and don’t need any discipline at all, while I have to force myself even after years to do others? We disassociated ourselves from the greatest motivation force in the universe – JOY – and used the other tool – PAIN – that our intellect somehow prefers, because we think that doing something painful, something that tastes like hard work is much better than something that feels like playing – isn’t that true if we look deep inside ourselves?

If I learn something that is enjoyable to me – then I feel light and not tired, passionate about it, and though there may be frustrating moments (like in any learning curve) my motivation is innate and doesn’t need any external stimulus.

Summary

To sum it up, here are some points to think about:

  • Trust in your own wisdom.
  • You should decide what information is relevant to you.
  • Others might give you information to remember your inner knowledge, but if it didn’t strike a chord with you, let it pass. Don’t feel guilty – not every information is necessary or even relevant for everyone.
  • Know that you should increase your levels of joy, love and harmony through the unwrapping of your own mind.
  • You are the one to create your awareness of things – take responsibility and don’t give it to others.
  • Know thyself is all you need to know.
  • You don’t have to be someone else. God and the Universe don’t enjoy copies – they produce so many originals in all species that following the path of someone else means not honoring your creator.
5 comments… add one
  • This is really helpful, I have always been thinking of not voice out what on mind because i always think people will commend me.

    • Patrick

      lobebe: Great to know that this inspired you. Hope you will continue to listen more to your own intuition when it comes to your personal development than to what others say or think about you. Get any information, try it and then look at whether it fits you or can be adopted for you. But don’t try to make yourself fit any system.

  • Michelle

    Hello,
    your words string a chord in me. How often have I thought that I am not enough and not right, because I cannot function like any book told me. Recently I came to the same conclusion as you. All things I need to know to live a fullfilled life is within myself.
    However it is really hard to take the courage to look inside me because all the guilt and believings stand in the way, but I know for sure that this is the only way for me.
    Thank you for your inspiring post.
    Michelle

    • Patrick

      Michelle: It’s a pleasure for me to remind you of your innate power and wisdom. I know that bringing up the courage to listen to oneself sometimes is hard, especially if you’ve loaded all the wrappings of guilt and mis-believings around you for years.
      But keep up trusting yourself – you can let go of those beliefs. Trust your own intuition. And try my 8 steps to communicate with your own higher intelligence. It’s a beautiful road ahead on your own way.

  • Hey I truly agree with this one. We have everything going on for us within, dormant and then all we inneed is to pick it up and just be and you have done just that reminding us of -what is!

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