Developing and Transforming Yourself
Do you feel fully motivated?
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi introduced Flow Theory in the 1970s after his surprising research led to his understanding that people are motivated when they are involved in intense activities that they are passionate about, and which gain their full attention. The attending self is very often on the prowl looking for meaning because it is the ego’s job to make sense of, interpret, interact with, construct images of and relate to the world and…. what a world we live in! There is no doubt that there are not enough words in the dictionary to describe this world that is so rich and full of diversity, challenges and often expectations that may well stifle the spontaneous, creative nature of a self that must go through several stages before it is fully developed, but it is such a beautiful world. You may truly wonder if you will ever reach that stage of full development, but you definitely cannot not have this as your goal – as your presence makes this world an even better place than it already is! Yes, read this last sentence again – and reflect on it as a truth!
Seemingly, psychologists like Maslow and Loevinger would argue that only the adult who has been through various stages of development can arrive at an integrated level where inner wisdom, deep empathy for others and self-acceptance will bring balance to a fully formed and matured ego, but spiral dynamics might underline the fact that as value systems and worldviews emerge from how the mind interacts with the world, humans are continuously learning to be, and you may already carry much more wisdom within you, than you are even aware of.
Martin Seligman, Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center supports cognitive-behavioral and social problem-solving skills like Ellis' Adversity-Consequences-Beliefs (ABC) model, that seeks to identify, evaluate, and so transform inaccurate beliefs that impact both emotions and behavior. There are a variety of strategies and techniques that can be used to solve problems and cope with difficult situations and emotions, and this is the motivation needed for you to awaken your potential. Assertiveness, negotiation, decision-making, social problem-solving, and relaxation, can take you further into the understanding that possibilities and potentialities are lying dormant within – simply waiting to be discovered. Believing in the existence of your potential is of paramount importance because there is enough empirical evidence in positive psychology that supports positive subjective experiences and positive individual traits, and this is good.
So how can you start developing and transforming yourself? Well, begin with defining your virtues and character strengths; mindfully enter present time and take a conscious decision to move beyond learned helplessness and constructs that hinder you rather than allow you to integrate. Learn to be more optimistic about life and to be grateful that you are here, at NYC, having been given this extraordinary opportunity to grow. The self does not develop suddenly but goes through many stages and levels of development, which is the exciting part. It is not an event but a long and beautiful process that begins with a clear understanding that you can choose what kind of person you want to be, and what kind of philosophy you want to have about life.
There are so many rich and wonderful ways to become more self-aware, so begin by taking time out in the day to stop for five minutes to look up at the sky and smile; give yourself a hug and thank your body for its incredible wisdom and inner beauty that is beyond even your own understanding; smile at a stranger; touch a leaf or the petal of a flower and become more fully present when you do some of these things. Sit down and wonder what else you can add to this list? Can your breath in deeply and allow your awareness that you are alive and well to become your motivation to develop yourself even further?
The more self-aware you become of your personality and your transpersonal self that has so much potential, the more you accept the challenge to become a global citizen, contributing to making this world a better place. You may not be able to change external circumstances but by entering the flow of a raised consciousness that is aware of the true inner potential needed to perfect the human condition, you will be contributing not only to your personal development but the development of your community and the world at large.
- Beck, E., Cowan, C. (2005). Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership & Change. John Wiley & Sons.
- Cook-Greuter, S. (2010). Postautonomous Ego Development. Integral Publishers. (Reference for Loevinger)
- Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2011). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Harper Collins.
- Maslow, A. (2013). A Theory of Human Motivation. Martino Fine Books.
- Seligman, M. (2017). Authentic Happiness. John Murray Press.