Steve Pavlina: Personal Development for Smart People

10/30/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Half way through this brilliant personal development bible, Personal Development for Smart People , all I could think was that those running for office ought to read and heed its message. Steve Pavlina has created a truly elegant, simple structure within which humanity can both foster and measure personal growth.

From the time he was nearly jailed to today, Mr. Pavlina has walked his talk. The owner and creator of the number one personal development website -- -- he recommends what he's tried and found true for himself. One of the most endearing parts of his system is that it works for anyone, anywhere, any time a human wants to take control of her or his life.

It takes a dedicated person to seek out a system that will work for everyone. I particularly enjoyed the story of the systems he discarded before these seven principles rose to the top. The book uses a triangle to arrange the three primaries, their three secondaries, and their ultimate combination.

The three primaries are: Truth, Love, and Power.
The secondaries are: Oneness, Authority, and Courage.
The ultimate combination is: Intelligence.

Use these seven to guide your life, and presto! Conscious growth results. And whilst that is most likely true, Mr. Pavlina addresses the dark side of experience as well. He is no shirker; instead, he acknowledges and names the struggle for conscious growth. As someone who has had a spiritual counseling practice for over 25 years, I know personally the wisdom of this practice. Without such acknowledgment, we can flail in the world of positive thinking for a long while.

This is Truth.

"Love," says Mr. Pavlina, "is the principle that enables you to progressively discover your true self." What connections in your life are you strengthening or weakening? Do they "teach you how to love yourself from the inside out?"

Genuine power requires that we accept total responsibility for everything in our lives, including our desires. "Only true desire summons true power." How right he is! And how namby-pamby so many of us are about our desires! We are afraid to want what we want because we fear that we won't get it, or that we will. Desire is the fuel necessary for action.

Mr. Pavlina treats Oneness, Authority and Courage as clearly as the first three, and the chapter on Intelligence is a banquet unto itself. At its end, there is a Conscious Assessment Questionnaire designed to waken his readers to where they are in the process of living the lives of their dreams.

One of Mr. Pavlina's dreams was to write a book. If this first is any indication, his dream -- to help all of us make our dreams come true -- has come true in a wonderfully truthful, loving, powerful, and generous way.