Personal Development with Advanced Life Skills

personal excellence

Have you noticed that we live in a culture that seems to prefer flash over substance?  Sadly, this mentality has also crept into the fields of life skills and personal development.

Personally, I do not believe in a shallow, one-dimensional approach to personal development.  The whole concept of Advanced Life Skills was created specifically to provide the means for a personal evolution that begins deep inside, on a core level.  This is where all true personal development starts.

Your priorities really matter

There are dozens of techniques aimed solely at attracting wealth and achieving your goals.  I have no problem at all with such pursuits. In fact, I often cover those areas in my articles. What I do have a problem with is any method that promotes the misconception that those life skills alone will give you a life of joy and satisfaction.

Wealth and success are important but they represent the flash of personal development not the substance.  Instead of commanding your main focus, such things should be viewed as the natural byproduct of positive changes that occur internally. By definition personal development is about you as a person.

Focus on internal peace and harmony

From my experience, it doesn’t really seem to matter where people are socially, economically or physically.  Most people do not feel truly satisfied with their life. Without realizing it, much of the problem is the result of focusing in the wrong direction.

If you focus on the things that contribute to connecting with your true self, your world will change automatically.  The more ‘in tune’ you are with your core values, passions and motives, the easier it is to attract good things into your life and live in a constant state of personal development.

Choose personal development substance over flash

Happiness is more desirable than wealth.  Relationships are of greater value than a career.  And a sense of purpose is more satisfying than secular achievement.  Focus on those and the rest will unfold naturally.

I like money as much as the next guy.  But I also realize that money only solves financial problems.  Please believe me when I tell you that there is no shortage of unhappy rich people.  I know this because I have worked with a lot of them in my coaching practice.

Many of these people bought into the illusion that once they acquired enough money their life would be happy and rewarding.  Consequently, the attainment of wealth is often a hollow victory. True happiness comes from inside.  It comes from a deep sense of inner peace and harmony that is fueled by constant growth on a personal level. That’s why it’s called personal development.

Don’t settle for a life of trade offs

Another popular misconception is the idea of scarcity.  Life does not need to be a trade-off. The expression, “that’s the price you pay” is often used with reference to someone who sacrifices their family life in pursuit of a lucrative career.  This implies that you need to choose between the two because you cannot have both.  This is simply not true.

Losing everything that really matters to you is not the price you pay for making money.  It is however the price that many have paid for choosing to put financial growth ahead of personal development.

Creating value opens the door to abundance

As our own awareness and appreciation grows we begin to see that creating value is the fastest path to greater happiness.  If you want better relationships, then you should look for ways to add value to the relationships you have.  If you want a greater emotional or financial return from any endeavor, learn to contribute more value to it. If you want to grow toward personal excellence, you need to identify and live in harmony with your core values. All of these fit neatly into the concept of personal development.

Once you embrace the idea of giving, you become connected with the flow of abundance all around you. Giving is a very powerful and often overlooked way to bring both happiness and abundance into your life. This is one of the seven steps covered in my book TRUE SELF.

But what if…

Maybe you don’t feel that you are in a position to create value.  Maybe you don’t feel very valuable.  Let me assure you, the problem is not a lack of value because you are extremely valuable. It’s just that you are not yet fully in touch with your true value. There are specific exercises in TRUE SELF to help you discover your real value and unlock your potential to contribute.

TRUE SELF is designed to teach you specific life skills that you can put to work in your life immediately.  These are skills that will enable you to begin transforming the quality of your life right now. Bottom line – I don’t want you to settle for ordinary, you deserve extraordinary!

Why not make this year THE YEAR

What possible reason could someone have for turning their back on simple adjustments with the power to enrich the mental, emotional, physical and financial quality of their life experience?  And yet, for some reason many people choose to settle for the life they’ve been handed rather than create one they truly desire.

My personal goal and the motivation behind this blog and my book and my home study course is to create true and lasting value for everyone involved.  The more you learn and incorporate these life skills into your thinking process, the more you will experience an increase in the quality of your life.

Rest assured, a life of continued and meaningful personal development is not an impossible dream.  It’s really a simple matter of learning and applying Advanced Life Skills.

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  1. Jarrod January 12, 2010 Reply

    I totally agree that focusing on your internal state is where a large portion (if not all) of the focus should be on.

    Everything we experience in life comes through our internals, if you are not aware of what is going on in there you are in for a world of pain.

    • Jonathan January 12, 2010 Reply

      Hey Jarrod, thanks for your supporting thoughts. My whole approach to personal growth is based on Identifying your true self first, before taking any other steps. I believe that internal harmony should be the foundation for all progressive personal change.

  2. Eduard January 13, 2010 Reply

    I agree. Our society does encourage shallow personal development, if any :) It’s more about appearing cool than changing yourself on the inside. This is why probably more people read books about how to appear confident than how to be confident. Interesting approach in this post Jonathan.


    • Jonathan January 13, 2010 Reply

      Hi Eduard, for some reason, especially in the US, it seems like the facade is more important than the reality. You summed it up nicely with “probably more people read books about how to appear confident than how to be confident.” That’s pretty telling when you reverse engineer it and realize what it tells us about prominent priorities.

  3. Carol King January 13, 2010 Reply

    Well said! We only have to browse the magazine aile at the supermarket to see just how many wealthy miserable people there are in the world. Focusing on balance and putting our energies into the service of others is what brings lasting happiness and flowing wealth.

    • Jonathan January 13, 2010 Reply

      Hi Carol, I have worked with many unhappy wealthy people. Seems there wealth didn’t provide the happiness and satisfaction they were hoping for. Learning that money only solves financial problems was a painful lesson in some cases.

      Thanks for making the connection between serving others and happiness. In reality, happiness is a byproduct of giving. That’s why so many who pursue it directly (selfishly) come away empty handed.

  4. John January 13, 2010 Reply


    I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts here. It reminds us of the importance of building a proper foundation. In personal development, two of the most important basics are:

    Set the correct life priorities, as you have clearly expressed, and become as physically fit as is practical.

    Simplistic? Yes — but powerful. These two simple steps provide the right direction, and the right quality of mental and physical power to succeed.


    • Jonathan January 13, 2010 Reply

      Hi John, thanks for mentioning “become as physically fit as is practical.” This one is absolutely vital yet often overlooked. Being as fit and healthy as possible changes every aspect of our life, even the ones that seem unrelated.

      I have watched scores of people transform their lives because they finally decided to get in shape. The benefits spilled over and changed the way they thought and acted. Their self-confidence and self-esteem skyrocketed, and they were filled with new optimism.

    • Josue Cano January 17, 2010 Reply

      Jon, your exercise recommendation really resonated with me because I’m very passionate about my fitness at the moment and something so important in my life right now. Just wanted to share that. I don’t exercise to keep my weight off or to look better or to fit in to the Hollywood perceptions created by media…I do it because it gives me pleasure. If you could write something about that I would love to read it.

  5. Steven Aitchison January 13, 2010 Reply

    Perfect timing, perfect post!

    I am a huge believer in providing value to others before even thinking about going for the money. I’ve realised over the last few years that going for the money first never works, but helping others achieve what they want will always bring you happiness and, rather paradoxically, money.

    I would urge everyone to buy Jonathan’s book as it really teaches you everything about changing your life for the better.

    • Jonathan January 13, 2010 Reply

      Hi Steve, thanks for your support, friendship, and the book plug. Don’t know if you recognized this article or not. It’s actually a modified version of the introduction to 7 Simple Steps.

      With all the positive energy focused on making things happen this year, I really wanted to help as many people reach there goals as I could. Obviously, the best way for me to do that is to get them into the book. I love blogging, but you can only help so much with blog articles. The real power is in the book and all the self realization exercises.

  6. Mike King January 13, 2010 Reply

    I really like this Jonathan. I was actually a bit surprised at a few of the first comments about flashy personal development but I realize how right you are, that just never stood out that strongly to me before. I actually notice and remember many blogs I’ve stopped reading in the personal development sector because of those shallow promises and simple answers to life continually being posted. It’s just not that easy to stand alone with those promises when your priorities and life don’t support them in the first place. And really, I don’t think they help the PD industry as they offer promises that will only end up being unfulfilled.

    • Jonathan January 13, 2010 Reply

      Hey Mike, great to have you here. There is no doubt that the personal development niche and industry are hot right now. But the reason is because so many people are looking for real insight. The last thing they need is expensive empty promises. Happily, there are some really great PD programs around and I appreciate the ones built on substance.

  7. Lana January 13, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan, I’ve been thinking to get your book for awhile now, I am definitely getting it now. Practical self realization exercises – this is so “me”:) Thank you!

    • Jonathan January 14, 2010 Reply

      Hi Lana, I see you got 7 Simple Steps! I will be anxious to get your feedback. This is going to be really fun, welcome aboard.

  8. Amit Sodha January 14, 2010 Reply

    It’s like the whole ‘quick fix’ mentality too. Poeple want a quick fix to their problems and that often stems from the lack of recognition or enjoyment of the journey. I’ve often found that no matter how hard people try and show on the outside that they’re something they’re not you can pick up on it very quickly whereas people who are genuinely calm, relaxed and congruent always shine in the room.

    • Jonathan January 14, 2010 Reply

      Excellent observations Amit, I agree 100%. When people are just putting on pretenses, there is often a incongruity about them. On some level we can feel that things aren’t quite what they seem. Internal disharmony shows!

      You touched on a fundamental reason for the choice of flash over substance, the quick fix. It’s a mentality of ‘as long as it looks like the real thing it’s good enough.’ We live in a world of imitation everything, including imitation personal growth?

  9. Zeenat January 14, 2010 Reply

    I am with you on this a 100%. I personally have seen how people want to achieve success at any cost. Somehow the definition of success has become so low morality wise…that its just inconceivable for me.
    I prefer to think that excellence should be the parameter for success….rather than the other way around.
    With excellence success is inevitable…but success doesn’t necessarily mean excellence. right??
    love this topic :)

    • Jonathan January 14, 2010 Reply

      Hi Z, it’s really sad that the accepted definition of success has come to mean financial wealth rather than success as a person. There are people who excel at being parents, marriage mates, friends, and scores of other real human endeavors. But, if they are not rich their success is not acknowledged.

      On the other hand, someone who excels at making money but makes the people in their life miserable is called successful. We all need to shed that ‘flash’ mentality and recognize and pursue real, personal success.

  10. Robin Easton January 17, 2010 Reply

    Hi dear Jonathan, I LOVE this article and the comments as well. The kind of thinking that you are expressing here is almost never heard anymore. Not in this grounded-common-sense way. Our world has become almost the opposite to everything you express here. However, I do find that slowly people are looking deeper, wanting something with more substance and meaning. Particularly meaning. I’m not saying I see it in everyone everywhere I go. I don’t. But I do see people expressing a desire to want to move toward a more meaningful life…and asking themselves WHAT that is. Most don’t yet know, but at least they are asking. So this is a REALLY important article. Well done my friend. Hugs, Robin

  11. Josue Cano January 17, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan this is truly the best article I have ever read from you ever. Perhaps one of the best so far I’ve read period. It resonates with me personally because I can think of someone who is all too flash and hype and it’s upsetting me. Choose substance over flash. I totally understood the power of that message. In a world with so many flakes and fakes we are craving for substance and not inflated perceptions. At this point, we don’t even want perceptions…we want what’s real. Thanks Jonathan

  12. Stan Young July 13, 2010 Reply

    Hey Jonathan
    Excellant post I really enjoyed your down to earth approach on this subject.

  13. Kai November 9, 2012 Reply

    Was good to find your blog. I am trying to find my own way and enjoy reading different perspectives. I also try to process my learnings through writing, without trying to make money with it :)

  14. Shamsudin Hakim November 9, 2012 Reply

    Finding your true self is what life is all about for me. I’ve struggled with this concept for years and kept struggling and falling into the same things over and over again until I realized I didn’t know who I was. Once I found who I was, I was able to live a much better life and all those material things I was chasing came naturally without me having to do much else other than be myself.

    Thanks for your blog. This is inspiring for me because I too am on a journey to help as many people as I can find who they are outside of what the world says they are, so they can live a life of power.

  15. Karen November 17, 2012 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I agree that our priority shouldn’t be on the materialistic things. I will add that I also believe that our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. While our belongings, or our looks, or even our connections don’t matter, the way we take care of them does. Because we can’t “be” one way on the inside and another on the outside. The truth will always come out. So if we value ourselves then we value every part of our life and overall we seek balance.

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