The world is a virtual classroom and simply by living in it you’ve learned practically all you now know about life. But sometimes along the way you may need a little “tutoring” to get to a higher “grade” or stage—especially when your organic or natural process becomes stuck or you are anticipating a major life change.
As a psychologist, I have yet to meet the person who does not have to help their natural maturation process along to some extent in order to stay on the path to their potential, in an area of life.
Virtually all of us have difficulty with something that to them may seem so easy for everybody else. For example, some people are generally happy and fulfilled career wise, but leave much to be desired with respect to their love relationships or their degree of self-confidence. In your case, perhaps these things are okay, but you often find yourself worried about how others perceive you, feel disconnected spiritually, or you are now even bored with hobbies you once considered fun.
If there are people you look up to for what you perceive as their ability to master an aspect of life that’s difficult for you, chances are you merely perceive them (whether or not with accuracy) as operating from a higher stage than you are. The same can be said for those you may look down upon as being representative of a lower stage in some life area or issue.
How can you determine what’s holding you back and climb to a higher stage? One way is to understand how we mature. Most of us at times have experienced the notions of success, happiness, fulfillment, and even spirituality; as paradoxical and confusing. But remember, our capacity for achieving those things develops within us – or matures – in stages, very much the way we physically mature in stages.
Each of us is born with certain seeds that give us an innately unique potential, along with talents and such things as emotional, spiritual, and even creative specifications. As we evolve through our interaction with the world, it becomes our nature to find and then manifest all of our distinct preferences. This process is what psychologist Erik Erikson (1963) called “finding ourselves”; and it is the essence of maturity.
Just as optimal body maintenance (barring death, disease, or accident) will ensure physical maturity, and learning will promote intellectual maturity, the psyche has definite needs in order to mature as well. However, as we grow, certain parts of us are slower to develop than are others, and may need to be helped along.
To do that, you need to find ways to recognize those less-developed parts of you, while optimizing your natural process so that you can reach your highest potential. And that can be done in each and every life area that you choose to pursue. In Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential, I outline many strategies to identify the problem that’s holding you back and resolve it in the shortest time possible. The first step is to recognize that this process is in your hands. That is— the ball is in your court to make your life exactly what you want it to be—regardless of what your life has been up until now.
This realization is true freedom; and each time you experience it with something new, you are changed forever!