It is often my wont to scurry through the second half of a good book, so eager am I for the information therein, but with the "Practices" half of Steve Pavlina's Personal Development for Smart People, I couldn't do it.
I so appreciated the application of the seven principles to major life areas: habits, career, money, health, relationships, and spirituality. This is where the elegance and the simplicity of his personal development system shine. In his closing, Steve talks about values systems and how they must be universal in order to be efficacious. He's done his homework, and thought through every detail before writing this book.
Every bit of advice has been self-tested and found to work or not to work, and Steve says so. Up front. No equivocating. You gotta like that in a personal development person. Being one's own guinea pig is the best way to find out whether or if or how things work, and Steve isn't shy about his successes or his failures. At the same time, I never felt he was crowing inappropriately. Not once.
Anyway, what impressed me most was Steve's final chapter on Spirituality. Spirituality is, of course, my favorite area of human life experience. He did something that I'm pretty sure I didn't think was possible until I read his book: he created an essay on spirituality not contingent upon God.
I celebrate that! Some of us humans need God, no doubt about it. Others do not. The wise Mr. Pavlina suggests that we separate our identities from our spiritual beliefs. Oh gosh! There go all the religious wars on planet earth. It's so simple a solution that it's easy to miss. Of course! Of course! I am not my spiritual beliefs; I have spiritual beliefs -- like I have red hair.
"The ultimate ideal of any sound spiritual path is to be infinitely truthful, infinitely loving, and infinitely powerful. By extension, this also requires infinite oneness, infinite authority, and infinite courage. The ultimate spiritual pursuit is to strive to live congruently with all of these."
You know, I think even Bill Maher could agree with that!
Mr. Pavlina's book endeared itself to me further when, in closing, he writes, "As you use the power of conscious choice to bring your life into greater alignment with truth, love and power, the long-term result is spiritual wisdom and peace."
If you're interested in your own spiritual wisdom and peace as described above, this book needs to be in your hands.