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Three months ago I began talking about the Cycles of Complexity – those big and little problems that life throws at us almost constantly, and I’ve talked about all of the tools that we have, and skills that we can develop to get through them and get better, stronger, and wiser. The tools are Ethos (which is your philosophy of life mixed with your mindset,) Intention (which is your goals, mission, and vision,) Efficacy (your ability to carry out your intentions), Agency (your actions and activity of carrying out your mission,) Adversity, and Elevation (your ability to become more than you are after reflecting, revising, and remixing your life.)
We covered all of these tools – and that never means it’s over. Complexity keeps coming our way, adversity keeps coming. There are always new goals, and new skills, better mindsets, more actions, and more elevation.
I wish that life wrapped itself up in neat little packages, but it doesn’t do that. It’s a guess. It’s all a learning process to become better.
It’s a cycle, it’s a wheel. It just keeps coming. And you can let it roll over you, or you can do what it takes to figure it out. That’s what personal development – self-improvement – is all about.
The experiences that you go through, in and of themselves, are not valuable. But you can give them value – you can take all you experience, reflect on it, and invest it into all of these tools we’ve been talking about. Invested experience is the most valuable thing on this earth. To say, “I love that and I want it to keep happening,” or, “I never want THAT to happen to me again,” those are both good reflections, worthy of investing into your own future, and doing the work to keep the first one happening, and keep the second one from ever happening.
You begin a project, and need to learn something. You do poorly, reflect on what’s going wrong, and fix it, and then complete the project. That one single process relates to your Ethos (you reflected because that’s part of your character), your Intention (why are you working hard at this in the first place), your Efficacy (you saw what new skill you needed to learn and you learned it), Agency (you are in motion, doing the work), Adversity (what went wrong), and Elevation (you learned, you fixed the problem, and now you are more than you were before)
You can experience elevation at any time: Overcoming adversity, learning a new skill, taking a step forward in a relationship, working at a new productivity habit, learning how to ask for a raise, so many ways. The point of life is to continually elevate yourself to higher and higher levels, higher and higher learning.
As you go through all of this, reflect on your balance in life. I can’t tell you how many times an imbalance in my own life has thrown everything off. I would get so fired up to work on my album, I’d be in the studio every day for hours. I didn’t come down for dinner, I’d stay up late and be tired all day, and spent no time with my family. I missed a piece of their lives for about four months because I didn’t balance things. And what I thought was so important turned out to matter so little to my life – and the things that I was ignoring and putting aside – my family, my relationships – those are the things that make life worth living.
So make sure you are not suffering from imbalance. Count the cost of the goals you set, count the cost of the skills you build. Make sure you build your life in balance of all things – your relationships, your health – mental, physical, and spiritual, your impact and your work, your finances, your lifestyle, and your self-improvement. It’s a tricky thing to balance all of these, but it’s worth the work – it’s worth every bit of effort you put into it. Make sure the life you are creating for yourself is the one you want – the life you’ll love to be living.
Don’t miss the beauty, don’t miss the sunsets, don’t miss the smells and the sounds – use all of this personal development stuff to style your own life into what you want it to be.
Remember, you don’t have to do any of this. You can stop at any moment. You can give up your goals, relax your efforts and just stop. And there is no right or wrong here, there’s no judgement against you for how you choose to live the life you have. You are free to choose it as you will.
That’s the most beautiful part of all these ideas and concepts, to me. I am free to choose not to do them. Which means when I set goals, and work hard on myself, and try to become something more, I am not bound to do it, I’m not forced. It’s all coming from me, and that’s one of the best feelings ever.
So let’s start back at the very beginning, pull out your journal, and decide what you want to do, what you want to be, and what you want your life to be like. Then get ready to go through these cycles of complexity.
After you write it down, let us all know you did on Facebook in the Ideas and Concepts group, the link is in the menu – if you’re feeling bold, and you want some accountability, let us know what you wrote down. It’s a great community of supportive people, come be a part of it.