Formal requirements getting in the way of your dream career?

•August 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Formal requirements for career progression are a common barrier to professions in which a degree or a certificate of equivalent standing is a mandatory stepping stone for future growth.

The obvious challenge in obtaining the satisfactory prerequisites in education and work is the system’s general lack of flexibility in accepting substitutions.

For instance, many people who come to the United States from foreign countries and wish to practice medicine find that the US system is extraordinarily rigid in accepting foreign qualifications.  High-ranking medical practitioners can easily find themselves in a position where none of their previously existing professional accreditation are accepted by the new system.

In any instance, two aspects of overcoming the formal requirement barrier are crucial:

  1. Timely preparation, which includes a thorough research of the target system’s rules and standards, formal requirements, and key individual(s) whose expertise is commonly accepted as credible and trustworthy.
  2. An accelerated completion curriculum;
      a) Your limited resources will need to be very closely managed (perhaps with outside help) in order to make satisfying the requirement plausible; so consider an adviser, a mentor, or a social circle of people who possess the degree, certification, specialized training, practice, or experience which you are pursuing.  Without this network, your chances for insider knowledge are minimal, and you are likely to miss key opportunities or loopholes that may exist in the inner circle.
      b) The principle of concentration of effort suggests that it’s best to fulfill requirements full-time and as quickly as possible – anything worth doing is worth doing sooner, rather than later.  If you have the means to go to school, training, certification, or intensive self-study full-time according to a structured curriculum, do it.  There is no substitute for immersion. Many people fall for the false security of part-time efforts thinking that they will “do it in the meantime and finish it when I get the chance.”  Seldom does everything go exactly according to plan.  Assuming that your career is the direction you’ve committed to long-term and the requirements pending are milestones for getting there, you must commit the full spectrum of your available resources to the pursuit of that opportunity.
      c) Consider all possible substitutions or alternate routes to see if in the long-term it may be more economical to invest in the alternatives.  In other words, if the very thing you are trying to accomplish (a degree, position, or career direction) is a stepping stone in itself on the way to something else, and you are being blocked by formal requirements outside the scope of your available resources, it may make sense to pursue the end results via alternate means.

Though the circumstances of each situation are going to be different, several common principles can safely be accepted:

1.  Again – anything that’s worth doing is worth doing sooner, rather than later. You never know when or how the circumstances of your life may change and the window opportunity will close.
2.  There is no substitute for immersion!  Do not put off doing what you really want to do for the sake of shoulds.  By doing so, you compromise your position in the world both in the practical sense of putting off achieving, as well as in the spiritual sense of foregoing that which is most important for the sake of something less important.
3.  “Different is better when it’s more effective or more fun.”  ~ Tim Ferris, 4-hour work week.  Do not assume that the only way to do what you want is through satisfying the rigid formal requirements.  Challenge those assumptions by recognizing that the modern world awards multiple unique opportunities for doing old things in new ways that did not exist yesterday.  Even more will exist tomorrow.
4.  Know your stuff. Obviously, this should go without saying and should really be #1 on this list.  Unless you are well versed in the rules and standards of that which already exists, you cannot find creative ways to bend them.
5.  Carry on in spite. Do NOT allow present-moment restrictions paralyze you from pursuing the desired direction of growth you have selected for yourself.  Find ways to adapt and continue learning and expanding your perspective even if your reach is temporarily restricted.  New direction will present itself only if it is constantly tested.
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Seeing your own stagnation as a signal of the changing tide

•August 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

We’ve all experienced the feeling of being stuck, unable or unwilling for whatever reason to do anything right (or so it seemed). This is called stagnation. All in all, stagnation is not a bad thing.  It’s frustrating, certainly, and not productive, but the reality is that every field has these moments, and they are an unavoidable step on the path towards sustained growth. They can be an indication that old notions – ones formed before you had sufficient experience – are continuing to govern your actions when you yourself, as well as the environment you function within have changed enough for them to no longer be applicable or optimal. Some of the reasons we become stagnant in our tasks, duties, goals, and personal lives are:

  • Not seeing the possibilities; if the monotony of the daily “grind” has become so mundane that we can no longer rise above it and see the horizon of reward and possibility;
  • Burnout and exhaustion; it has been said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity (Albert Einstein).  Too much of the same thing will tire you and undermine your strength, unless you are perfectly free and rewarded by the very process;
  • Lack of adaptation; not being able to, not seeing the necessity for, or not wanting to make the necessary changes to grow and adapt.

Reverting to the fundamentals
Regardless of the reason for your stagnation, it will be necessary for you to re-gain the proper perspective of the context in which you are now facing your adversity, and to find a fresh new way of dealing with the situation.

One step back for two steps forward
This may mean that you have to momentarily take a step back to re-discover your personal principles and what it means for you, personally, to act more genuinely from within them. Plain and simple, it may be time to stop and say: “Ok. First of all, how did I get here?  Second of all, what does this mean for me? Finally – How can I make the appropriate changes to continue moving forward?”

THE BOTTOM LINE
Stagnation is temporary. You should only fear it if you’ve stopped adapting and rising up to the challenge. Then again, if you’re reading this, you’re at the very least preparing yourself to face the challenge in the first place.

How the Principled Approach™ can help you
The Principled Approach™ focuses on re-defining your intentionality, direction, and definition of achievement to ensure that the effort you take is not forced, but natural, dynamic, and ever-changing. With a soft, flexible understanding of your challenges, you will adapt based on need and momentum, not according to dogma or rigid practices that may have worked in the past but have failed to provide you with a satisfactory level of achievement today.

Responsibility: terrible burden or wonderful proving ground?

•August 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Responsibility

The challenges of what’s called “life balance” are abundant. Modern living, particularly in the Western world, places higher and higher “upkeep” demands on our lifestyles – reducing not just our net available time, but the available attention we can afford to direct towards any given thing – to a minimum.

In the context of skill development and the pursuit of mastery, the word “responsibility” takes on a new level of significance.

For most people, the creative challenge is to balance the amount of working time with the amount of personal time for rest and recreation. But focused intrinsic growth and skill development requires more than just free time. It requires the integration of anindividualized practice and personal principles into all elements of living – both skill-related and otherwise.

For the individual who is committed to reaching higher levels of excellence in any field, there is a sort of “creative discipline” requirement, without which talent remains just raw potential, and skills continue to lay dormant.  Someone once made the distinction between “potential energy” and actual “kinetic energy”, which is energy that has been transformed into its physical equivalent in the world.

The Resistance Phenomenon

For the individual in pursuit of mastery, the need for balance between “upkeep” responsibilities – or necessary tasks for the maintenance of one’s lifestyle, such as work or taking care of one’s family – and the responsibility to one’s urge to learn, build, or otherwise create something new is more pronounced than it is for the average person.

In addition to the difficulties surrounding “necessary” objectives in daily life, there is a phenomenon that is at work around every individual who is involved in conscious growth in any area. It has many faces, but the easiest way to describe it is as a sort of invisible force of resistance that operates whenever we begin to apply effort to accomplish something new.

Anyone who has experienced an initial surge of inspiration in a new undertaking is familiar with it. After a while, a sort of blow-back occurs, and the daily duties of “upkeep” tend to swarm over us, seemingly resisting the very notion of pursuing something new or something other than the status quo. It’s a feeling distinctly recognizable as though everything is conspiring against our efforts.

The need for practice

Now, merely taking time to rest and be idle is no longer enough. But making ourselves slaves to self-imposed duty isn’t the solution we are looking for, either. The necessity for practice becomes immediately apparent.

The word Practice does not refer to habit or repetition as it would in the case of a mechanical skill. It refers to an all-encompassing, all-inclusive conscious implementation of chosen principles on a continuous basis; the same way we call a doctor’s work the practice of medicine, and a lawyer’s work a practice of law. It is understood that to practice a profession is to commit to the highest level of knowledge and skill acquisition on an ongoing basis. At this level, there is no such thing as completion. The practice continues forever, until we expire or willingly decide to do something different.

The establishment of a conscious practice consists of taking three major steps towards overcoming the metaphysical phenomenon of the world’s resistance:

  1. Cultivating intrinsic motivation;
  2. Demonstrating the highest level of commitment;
  3. Adhering to the Principle of Concentration of Effort;

All of these things will be discussed in much greater detail in the upcoming resource of The Personal Achievement Foundation; an online guide dedicated to people for whom lifestyle learning is a way of life.  Look for it under Barriers to Growth here:  www.achievementfound.com

The important lesson to remember is that we can crumble in response to the burden placed on us by existing responsibilities, or we can recognize that the circumstance of our life is a reflection of the cause and effect relationships we have created for ourselves with our action, thought and intent.  If we do the latter, the opportunity exists to use our burden as a proving ground for the tests and trials that have befallen on our path.   Sometimes, that is exactly what we must do.  Instead of “dealing” with it, we can choose to look deeper and evaluate whether there are any hidden lessons in the fabric of our reality, and whether we’re meant to experience the burden until we can introspect more consciously and resolve the mechanism by which it is created.  In this way, we “prove” to ourselves and the world that we have derived the necessary meaning and thereby eliminated the need for the burden to exist.

This may not necessarily mean that the responsibility itself is resolved, mind you, because certain responsibilities are just a fact of life.  However, if we can learn to accept them, understand what has troubled us, and continue practicing our position in life in spite of the challenges imposed by it, then it will mean we have grown stronger, more sophisticated, and more adept because of it.  This is what’s meant by the words “proving ground”, as the potential exists for inner resolution that reaffirms the right reasons and motivations behind the actions we take, and continue to take, in our practice.

Overcoming financial hardships on our path to progress

•August 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

There are 2 major ways in which finances can inhibit continuous pursuit of knowledge and conscious growth;

  1. Not being able to afford the resources necessary to pursue desired activities and path of growth. An example of this may be not being able to afford further education, or having excessive debt that ties up too much income causing one to miss financial opportunities. This category is the less severe of the two types of financial barriers.
  2. When the standard of living is so low that all time, effort, and mental focus must go towards survival, with nothing left over for the creative pursuit of growth.

This category is more severe because it is the mental asset that’s capped out, rather than its monetary equivalent in example 1. Whether due to too much stress, a state of overwhelm, or depression and withdrawal from conscious effort, this situation can keep one from even approaching his or her creative growth effort, which is dangerous, as it has the potential of wearing down and trapping people who otherwise have a lot to offer in the monotony of catch-up routine.

Financial barriers can be some of the most difficult to overcome because they are deeply rooted in a person’s unique circumstances and outlook on many different issues; money, work, level of financial self-discipline, and the existence of specialized knowledge and planning. In any case, no individual should despair. The new paradigm creates tremendous potential to remedy these problems with highly cost-effective strategies, provided the desire to do so is really there.

Solutions
On the path to resolving financial constraints that limit learning, one will have to rely heavily on the following traits: the Creative Discipline to come up with alternative solutions.

Critical steps to be taken:

Level 1

  • Assess your circumstances to determine what kind of resources (and how much) are necessary for you to continue propelling yourself forward. (IE, do you really need $ right now or can you find access to information and people who can aid you without it?)
  • It may be necessary to “scrape” old contacts and resources even if nothing appears to be immediately available.

Level 2

  • Begin by challenging old patterns that may have failed to serve your greatest interests. Refer to The Path of Mastery. Recommended resources: Napoleon Hill and Robert Kiyosaki are both excellent authors whose work has helped countless individuals worldwide alter the way they think about and view the subject of money, work, and wealth. Whether you benefit from them personally or not, what’s important is that you make an effort to change the old patterns that haven’t worked out in the past.
  • Meet with a financial adviser. This step makes it real. By taking the time to find an adviser and meet with them, you a) take the time out of your day, and b) collaborate with another person for the accomplishment of an important task. Taking these actions creates powerful consequences for the resolution of your problem that may not be immediately apparent.

Level 3
Level 1 & 2 due diligence;

  • Apply The Principled Approach TM to derive your own unique personal principles for financial management, control, as well as overcoming of existing financial barriers.

The Financial Bottom Line
Finances are a common and significant barrier. But it’s also true that the most frequent cause of financial hardships is some form of neglect of financial affairs. One will find that tremendous progress can be made (both in action and in feeling) about one’s financial situation if a mere seven consecutive days are spent working on objective milestones like Level 1-3 above.

Learning to leverage failure as a precursor to success

•August 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Key concept:

Failure is subjective, meaning that it triggers different things for different people.
Failure in any form often seems contagious: bad things and disappointments in life all tend to come all at once.
Ever wondered why that happens?
Actually, it has to do with our own predisposed expectation, and several key universal concepts that play into it.
The failure trap.

When we over-focus on adversity, what actually happens is we sharpen the senses with which we experience that adversity in our lives.

It’s a reinforcing our acuity to adversity and failure.

Analogously, if you look for the color green, you will see a lot more of it if you hadn’t been looking specifically for it.  And, you’ll see even more still than if you had been looking for the color red (or, something else that requires a focus)
The same thing happens with issues that present themselves as challenges.  With every one you examine (or experience) closely, your capacity for this experience grows and deepens.

Eventually, you start thinking along the lines of “what else could go wrong?”
That question is an active search for something else to go wrong.

Mind you, not only you are certain to find it, but you will also overlook all the things that might have been right in the process.
Like the color analogy, you will not even see or acknowledge the color red when you are looking for green.
Failure is the result of mental conditioning that leads to examining one’s life progress, goals, etc based on what they are not as opposed to what they are.* This is a dangerous path, and if not careful, will eventually lead to a dark place that is hard to come back from.  Actually, every time we think this way, we experience an erosion of personal standards.
Erosion of personal standards

How?

As you  actively take focus away from your (everyday!) successes, your internal parameters towards what success/failure is become skewered (shifted).

Now, we begin to settle for less because you are afraid to fail, and therefore are less effective at building on and adding up on successes to reach a higher level of achievement and personal standards.  What begins to happen is instead of working on succeeding, we begin to work on not failing.  Even though the two may seem like the same thing, they are principally opposite of one another.

We lower the bar so that we don’t “fail” as often, as hard, or as obviously as we feel we feel we do, and in that avoidance deprive ourselves of opportunities to take a step outside of the comfort zone, learn, expand our repertoire of skills by making mistakes and error corrections, and, eventually, compromise our depth.

This “erosion”, in reality, is a cheating of our true self, because at heart I have to believe that we would rather succeed than settle.

With the Principled Approach™, we consciously rebuild our perspective and outlook on the world.   We derive principles of experience from failure and condition ourselves to see (and use) them as stepping stones rather than blockades.

*This trap is applicable to relationships as well – seeing what’s not there while ignoring what is.

Mastering our unique individual perspective

•July 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

One’s perspective is potentially the biggest component of the Labyrinth of Adversity, affecting all aspects of thinking and judgment with respect to people and situations.  It has the capacity to utterly entrap in or spontaneously disillusion us from all of our limitations, as well as the capacity to change unpredictably due to circumstance or seeming chance when our understanding or level of mastery over it is not yet developed.

Perspective is influenced by the combination of all of the Labyrinth’s internal issues, in addition to the combination of all external factors in any situation and our unique individual reactions to them.

It is one’s unique, all-encompassing way of interacting with, and perceiving, the surrounding world (or, more specifically – the immediate environment in any given situation).

What is perspective practical terms?

Well, on the one hand it’s simply “outlook”.  (from Latin “perspicere”, to see through)

Life perspective, however, is not only the outlook onto the outside world – but also the ability to “perceive” or to understand the underlying meaning behind the events and objects that occur within it.

Why, for instance, when you think back on “good times” in your life, you do not recall the exact specifics, such as the tasks that occupied your attention at the time, but instead the feeling of situations, people, and states you found yourself from day-to-day or in a given moment?

Because those were the underlying, more significant factors that existed underneath the details, which – now from a distance may appear trivial, insignificant, and fleeting, even silly.

Yet, ironically, we find ourselves often consumed by the details to such an extent that we don’t examine, appreciate, and experience directly the more important factors until later, when we refer to them only in our memory.

Developing proper perspective on the relative importance of events and experiences assures that we react appropriately to all situations in light of both the current circumstances, as well as our true and genuine bigger selves; the part that will not ultimately be concerned with minutiae and details.

DEVELOPING PERSPECTIVE

A key aspect of developing perspective is open-mindedness, which can also be described as a state of reserved readiness. In addition to influencing the way you see and react to phenomena around you, perspective determines what you focus on, think about, how you feel, the way you spend your time, and whether you evaluate the things you do in your life against the context of what we call the “life level”.

The “life level” perspective is a very high, far removed, and generally detached from the details that occupy our attention throughout minutes, hours, and days.  The “day-to-day” level perspective an in-the-moment, centered attention to the details and ongoing happenings of life.

Both have their place in our existence, and both are necessary if we are to have the complete spectrum of fulfillment and experience. It’s a question of recognizing the appropriate outlook that’s necessary at any given juncture, and having the ability to instill it in ourselves through conscious practice.   In this way, it will serve us rather than dilute our experience and cause us to dwell on the unimportant as the meaningful and significant slips quietly by.

Using outside resistance as a launchpad for progress

•July 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It’s not unusual for all new ideas, plans, and actions to encounter some measure of resistance from established systems and the people within them.
To some extent, it is inevitable that they must be tested against that which is already in place before they can be accepted.  This has been true of all great visionaries and leaders of the past, but is also equally true of ordinary ideas emerging into ordinary life experiences.

The vast majority of people change course at the first sign of this resistance, unable to cope with the discomfort of things not going exactly as envisioned.  It’s unfortunate, since within this temporary discomfort lies the potential for new and untapped opportunity, education, and growth.

This resistance can be a stimulant for vigilance and flexibility, if approached with creative intent and the anticipation of multiple error-corrections, likely need for contingencies, and the willingness to continuously extract new and relevant specialized knowledge from your experience.
Resistance can also be a signal impending growth and the need for timely adaptation.

SUBCONSCIOUS RESISTANCE

There is another type of resistance to speak of, and that is the subtle subconscious resistance of our own intuition.  Oftentimes, we do not even realize that what’s really happening is that we’re purposefully avoiding, resisting, or withholding effort or attention from a particular issue or goal.

This intuitive “distancing” is an indication of a misalignment from your original intention.

When we begin to place constraints and tie obligations to our actions by saying: “I set this goal for myself, I HAVE to do this and I’m going to FORCE myself even when it doesn’t feel natural”, that’s when we begin to stifle our creativity and erode the natural direction of our desires.  The fact is, sometimes you have to stick with it to make it happen.  Other times, however, it’s not that simple.  Why trap yourself in patters that no longer suit you?  There should be no reason to stay locked in arbitrary commitments.
“Arbitrary,” in this case, means unsupported by rationale or naturalness of direction, but rather resulting from a prior commitment – the original reasons for which may have already changed.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Don’t mistake subconscious resistance for laziness!
Commitment to a goal is good, but over commitment to a particular course of action can eliminate alternatives which may be better suited for you in light of recent experience, circumstantial change, or subsequent personal growth.  Remain open, be flexible, and most importantly – be willing to let go of old presuppositions about how things “ought to” be.  Often times the way we believe things “out to be” is illusory.  There are often no actual limitations on the possible outcomes aside from the ones which are self imposed.  Let the subtle pressure of outside resistance alert you to your edge of practice, and uncover the appropriate method of outgrowing it.