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If you’re a regular visitor to this blog then no doubt you are either interested in or invested in the concept of personal growth. Like me, you probably have a handful of people that you turn to for advice or inspiration to help you grow, make change and become more awesome.
One of the patterns I have observed since becoming part of this personal growth community over the last four years is the esteem in which we all hold our own role models and figures of influence.
For me it’s people like Tim Ferriss (yep you could have guessed that one!), Mastin Kipp, Seth Godin, Richard Branson, Maria Popova, Murray Masarik / Real Education and Eric Tonnigsen that I turn to for direction and influence. Globally, I see figures like Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Anthony Robbins and John Demartini having a massive influence on people’s decision-making and life choices.
Now here’s a bold statement:
All of these people, (and this includes me), are wrong.
Consider this quote from George Box:
“All models are wrong, but some are useful.”
You see each of these people are presenting a “model” of the world. They are presenting personal abstractions of the truth, their own subjective interpretations of reality and what they believe to be true.
One of the great dangers I see in the world of personal growth and in my own experiences is that we can tend to put our trust in these “gurus” to hold all of the answers for us.
Particularly when we are facing problems or when things that aren’t working out in our lives, we can prolong finding the answers to our problems and defer our happiness until one these gurus delivers the answer for us.
We look to others to “fix” us.
I’ve witnessed this amongst those around me and I’ve experienced it myself; “once I do this workshop or attend this event or speak to this person etc.., then everything will be better. Until then, I’m stuck.”
Gurus do not hold the answer to our problems.
The next workshop, retreat, guided meditation or self-help program does not hold the answer to our problems.
The only person with the answer to our problems is….
One of the concepts that I’ve come to embrace recently is the idea of mirroring. If you follow this concept then you accept that the whole world is a mirror of our reality.
For example, when we see a behaviour in someone that we don’t like, we are in fact seeing the mirror of a part of us that we don’t like or accept.
Likewise, when we are drawn to someone or attracted by something about a particular person, we are in fact drawn to a quality in that person that exists in us.
And so it is with personal growth. When we turn to a guru or a particular growth experience to provide answers for us, the answers that we find are inherent truths that have always existed in each of us. Things that we deeply already know and have always known, yet it takes the mirror of a guru to make them visible to us.
I am in no way dismissing any of the influential figures I mentioned earlier or anyone who acts in the service and support of others. It is impossible to travel through life without support. It’s also important to have the courage to know when to seek support and when to look to others with broader life experience than us to give us guidance.
But it is even more important for us to never give our power away to anyone. This means seeing our gurus for what they are. Wise and experienced “mirrors” for revealing our own truths to us.
There is a danger once we have had a life-changing experience facilitated by a guru that we can begin to put these people up on a pedestal. We can be quick to sign up to the next workshop or program, hand over thousands of dollars and seek to enlist all of our family and friends to also follow this guru. Suddenly it is no longer a choice but a compulsion.
Only YOU know what’s right for YOU. You have incredible power and freedom of choice to determine what you need at this particular moment and you have the power to make wise decisions to determine the right kind of support to help you discover the truths about yourself that you inherently know.
I encourage us all to be judicious, remain open-minded and embrace our own unique journey in determining our own path for personal growth.
With every guru or personal growth program that you come across, ask yourself “is this right for me?” As with all learning it’s important to take what’s useful and leave the rest. Follow the message, not the messenger. Be the author of your own masterpiece.
The key to your freedom is in your hands.
Be your own guru!
Til next week, Be Awesome!
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