The SLBC Reads Personal Development for Smart People

"Loving yourself unconditionally is the result of a conscious choice. You're free to make this choice in every moment of every day. You don't need to fulfill any conditions or satisfy any rules. But in order to make the choice consciously, you must get to know yourself. No matter what hidden qualities you discover, you're still worthy of love." - Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is one of the original personal development bloggers. He started his site, StevePavlina.com, in 2004 and still updates it regularly. The Self-Love Book Club read his book, Personal Development for Smart People, in May and based purely on the title, I was expecting it to be a strictly pragmatic read without the spiritual undertones of the other texts we've read so far. I was pleasantly surprised by how Steve combines a practical approach to applying personal development principles in everyday life with an understanding of human spirituality and interconnectedness.

This book is the product of Steve's collective reading and writing on personal development at the time of its publication. Through his work, Steve gained an understanding of the fundamental principles that underly all human growth, and life more generally. He defines them as truth, love and power.

The first half of the book is an exposition of these principles and the second-level principles they combine to create: oneness, authority, courage, and intelligence. He discusses each one in detail as well as how they play out in our lives and suggestions for developing them.

The second half of the book discusses these principles in relation to important areas of life: habits, career, money, health, relationships, and spirituality. Again Steve offers possible exercises for strengthening your habits in each area and each chapter builds on the next to create radical shifts across your entire life.

What I was most attracted to was Steve's existentialist perspective on the world. Having been arrested for grand theft at the age of 19 and struggling with an addiction to stealing, he understands what it's like to face seemingly hopeless situations. But he advocates a no excuses approach to taking control of your life and making positive changes. Throughout the book he asks tough questions of the reader so that you can start getting honest about where you are right now and start aligning yourself with the principles to create conscious growth.

For Steve, conscious growth - an intentional focus on personal development - is an act of self-love. It increases your happiness, deepens your relationships, and creates prosperity in all aspects of your life. He's clear on the fact that often it won't be easy - but it will always be worth it.

Based on a suggestion in the book, I'm starting a growth blitz - a series of 30-day challenges that focus on one of more of the areas Steve outlines. And it was so rich with insights and ideas, that I'm already planning to read it for a second time.