Back in 2009, I had just recently graduated high school and joined a multi-level marketing company called ACN. The personal growth and self-help section extremely popular in MLM’s, and rightfully so, because the extent of your growth as a person is directly congruent with your growth as an entrepreneur.
And although I had never even remotely come close to succeeding in that business, it’s safe to say I had completely zero understanding of what personal growth was and joining ACN had changed my life forever as a result for introducing the self-help industry to me.
It did take me the next five years of suffering and misery to really dedicate myself to personal growth, but once I did life was never the same. In 2014, I had finally been fed up enough to dedicate my life to personal growth, but it wasn’t long until in 2015 I had accidently run into a spiritual audio called The Power of Now.
I didn’t really understand it at the time of reading it, but something inside me felt something deeper than I had been getting with the books I had listened to in personal growth, and I wasn’t sure what it was.
Fast forward about 3 months and I had gone through another situation of suffering, so I decided it was time to take the deep dive as I called it into The Power of Now again.
My life again will never be the same since.
I’ve been enamored with what the clear differences are between the two and how to balance them to extract and absorb the most potential and highest state of bliss possible in one lifetime from both psychological needs as well higher states of consciousness.
This is in no way, to put personal growth and spiritual growth up against each other as eliminating competition is one of the basics to higher consciousness, this will simply be a measurement between the two.
To get a clear basis of the difference, the clearest way is to take a look at the authors/icons in each. Now, when I say authors when it comes to spirituality, I mean that I’ve read online, little bits and pieces of all hundreds of authors in the “spirituality/new Age” niche and I’m referring to the authors that have guided me the closest to internal freedom, which is the main objective.
Back in 2009 when I started ACN, I was introduced to authors such as…
- Napoleon Hill
- Tony Robbins
- Jim Rohn
- Zig Ziglar
- Brian Tracy
- Jack Canfield
- Earl Nightingale
- Les Brown
- John C. Maxwell
- Stephen Covey
- Darren Hardy
These are a bulk of the most known personal and self-development gurus of which I’ve studied the writings and videos of each quite thoroughly.
In the spiritual realm…
- Eckhart Tolle
- Wayne Dyer
- Thich Nhat Hanh
- Byron Katie
- Ramana Maharshi
- Lao Tzu
- Anthony De Mello
- Alan Watts
- Ram Dass
- Pema Chödrön
It’s necessary to point out that, regardless if you’re more interested in becoming a better person, more motivated and ambitious or ‘being’ becoming more of who you are the deepest level (spiritual growth) that the ending is the same to improve the experience of your life in some way, shape or form.
However, with that being said there is a very different foundation and structure to the way that these teachings are centered.
Self-Development – is about rewiring the way that you think or shifting your paradigm as Bob Proctor likes to call it. Your paradigm is overall or average way that you’re used to thinking. Be it your looking to be more motivated, achieve success or to get along better with other people.
Spiritual Development – is not about putting more information in the mind and simply about realizing who you are, in the most absolute sense. It’s not about being against the mind, in fact it’s the opposite, the more you realize who you are, the better you will be able to use the mind.
Self-Development – Self-development is more logical based, a lot of could be looked as a positive psychology or even the scientific study of how to achieve and get along with people.
Self-Development does promote going to another level of logic however. You have your basic societal logic of going to school from K-12, followed by college between 2-8 years, then a career, a house and family.
However, Self-Development will encourage you to live a life on the deep end, going after your dreams and challenging the way humanity views a lifestyle.
The reason why it’s more on the logical side is because it takes into account the law of cause and effect. You put in action the cause and you get a direct effect out of it or the outcome.
Spiritual-Development – Transcends most logic all together. If you are on a spiritual path than it won’t make logical sense to the human mind because to realize who you are, you have to let the mind be quiet.
The reason it’s not logical is because the world will tell you that you have do this, do that and after that do this and do that to live a successful life.
Society equates a successful life with fulfillment. What is not logical is that the education systems, parenting and general society does not teach the most important thing in life is internal freedom.
And even if they did think living a successful life equaled internal freedom, it would be through doing, through action, through becoming and through being more than who you are now.
Whereas in Spirituality, the reason it’s not logical is because realizing who you are is the one constant freedom and who you are is found in this very instant, the fulfillment happens in this very instant. And that internal freedom your looking for requires no doing, no thinking, no believing, no pondering, it is here in the realization of the absolute you.
Self-Development – The sole basis of all self-based upon time.
In fact, in Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect he says that in order to create anything great that the passing of time is needed, that patience is needed for dreams to be accomplished.
In The Slight Edge it talks about how we live in a quantum of the leap society and that people expect instant results. Yet again patience, plus the seemingly insignificant choices that we make each and every day compounded over time will bear us the results on any ambitious journey we choose.
Spiritual Development – In order to realize who, you are in this instant, it means you can’t have time in order for you to be realized. It is the timeless essence of who you are.
In Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now is specifically about how time is an illusion outside of the mind, and that presence is the basis of all reality & existence.
Tolle explains that all peace in this life will ultimately come through ‘being’ and in other words in the full awareness of your presence. The connection between time and mind is that through allowing the mind to be quiet to the point where the mind is empty of all thought is the arising of conscious presence and pure timelessness.
Patience then is only a concept needed for the mind, an impatient mind is simply a mind that is needs the future to get here is quick as possible. It is a mind that believes its fulfillment lies in the future somewhere.
When the body is fully aware of its presence, then there is never ultimately a need for patience.
Personal Development relies on time to grow, whereas in Spiritual Growth ‘being’ who you are and have always been is perfection itself.
There is only one reason and one reason only to need time from spirituality and that’s if you haven’t already realized that you don’t need time to be fulfilled in this moment as this moment.
Self-Development – In Dale Carnegies historical book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” the iconic book of mastery on how to get along better with people, is about improving your personality.
Your personality includes concepts such as the subjects you’re interested in, your humor, how well you get along with others and how you view yourself (self-concept) relative to rest of the world.
Spiritual Development –
Gangaji take it away!
“In our traditional western understanding of psychology personality is often used as an indication of who we are as individuals. But personality is often a very superficial costume or mask that can easily be changed. If you want to change your personality there are many books you can read or workshops you can go to, or instructions you can follow.
There is nothing wrong with working on or changing your personality. It can be very useful. For instance, in order for human beings to gather peacefully in a room, it is helpful if their personalities have been conditioned enough so that there can be common, courtesy and respect. This is all in the realm of personality.
Working on personality doesn’t cause any harm, unless you somehow believe you are your personality. You may have already noticed that no matter how much you work on your personality or how great a personality you have finally achieved, you’re constantly frustrated to find the deepest fulfillment of yourself.”
Let’s also take it from Prince EA
“Personality, person coming from the Greek word persona meaning mask. It’s fake.”
As you see Spirituality is not about developing your personality, it’s about realizing that it isn’t who you are and by trying to develop it in the hopes that it will fulfill you, will only leave you in a constant state of lack.
More Important: Self-Development or Spiritual Development?
Speaking from experience.
We live in a logical world, where the use of the mind is an absolute need to get around in this world. Survival is needed and its essentially why were given a human mind.
Both are very interconnected, because in my spiritual development I have used a lot of the principles I have learned from self-development such as using The Slight Edge/Compound Effect. This is will sound contradictory as I had mentioned that can’t have time to realize who you are and the basis of The Slight Edge is built around time.
However, there are certain principles in spirituality to help the mind digest it so the mind will break down its walls of understanding what conscious presence is.
What I mean by this is this, it’s unlikely that you are going to just awaken at the snap of someone’s words, if you have been conditioned for a long enough it’s going to take consistent understand and consistently being reminded that the conscious presence is the one constant fulfillment.
Don’t let this think that you have to read and listen to spiritual audios on emptiness and presence for one hundred hours like I have. In fact, some people have awakened without a single book or word on the matter.
The point is this, in my experience I needed to people to guide and on a consistent basis, let awareness work through you however it wants.
The point is, I used personal growth principles to take my consciousness to level I could have never remotely imagined back in 2015.
What I will say is that personal growth is relatively necessary in terms of experiencing this world, the achievements you get financially, materially, experientially and with people are relative and that they are all passing, fleeing and illusory.
However, realizing who you are (spirituality) is the absolute importance, because without realizing who you are in this instant as this instant, then fulfillment will never come your way.
Realizing who you are requires, no doing, no ambition, no motivation, no help, no growth and no development and yet who you really are is freedom.