The Most Important Thing

oneAs is obvious from this website, I’m a big enthusiast for self-development ideas. But not in a million years to I have enough time to follow up on ALL the self-development ideas I run across, or even all of the really good ones.

So I have an idea for collecting a list of the the ONE (or perhaps two or three) self-development ideas in each area of life that make the most difference. What one think could a person do, in each particular area, that  – if they had no time to do anything else – would be the best investment for the time and energy spent?

And I’d like to start it out with self-development as a whole. What ONE think, of all the other things that a person could possibly do – would make the most difference overall to improve their entire life. I have a few ideas myself, but I’d be very interested in feedback from any readers. What one thing to you do (or have you done) that helps the MOST in your life?

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26 thoughts on “The Most Important Thing

  1. ok Keith you got my attention! In my opinion, the one most important thing a person can do to improve their life is to develop an open mind. We are born with no opinions or preconceived ideas, but these things are taught to us, molded in us as we grow up. I have found it to be very freeing to let go of what one initially believes to be “the truth” and become open to all ideas. Approaching every new discovery with curiosity and willingness to search, one will learn, grow, and become your true self.

    I want to add to this an equal importance to Love. Using Love of self and love of creation to guide our journeys will make the truth of any new idea more apparent and will reveal the connection of all things within creation.

    Hope this helps,
    Love,
    Susan

    • Interesting. Those weren’t at all the ones I had in mind, yet it’s very hard to argue with either of them. Hmm… this isn’t as easy as I thought it was.

  2. ok Keith you got my attention! In my opinion, the one most important thing a person can do to improve their life is to develop an open mind. We are born with no opinions or preconceived ideas, but these things are taught to us, molded in us as we grow up. I have found it to be very freeing to let go of what one initially believes to be “the truth” and become open to all ideas. Approaching every new discovery with curiosity and willingness to search, one will learn, grow, and become your true self.

    I want to add to this an equal importance to Love. Using Love of self and love of creation to guide our journeys will make the truth of any new idea more apparent and will reveal the connection of all things within creation.

    Hope this helps,
    Love,
    Susan

    • Interesting. Those weren’t at all the ones I had in mind, yet it’s very hard to argue with either of them. Hmm… this isn’t as easy as I thought it was.

  3. The most important thing for me is the realization that things are what they are and wanting them otherwise is an ego trip that does me no good. I am NOT in charge. I should have that tattooed somewhere. It helps.

    • I don’t mind so much wanting things to be otherwise. But only if we start from the absolute acceptance that things are as they are at this moment. From there, we can take action to change the situation. But only if we are willing to work with the situation as it presents itself, rather than as we wish it were. If I’m stuck in the mud, I want to get out – but if I flail around in protest and rage about my situation, I only make it worse. Once I relax and admit I’m stick in the mud, I can plan my escape.

  4. The most important thing for me is the realization that things are what they are and wanting them otherwise is an ego trip that does me no good. I am NOT in charge. I should have that tattooed somewhere. It helps.

    • I don’t mind so much wanting things to be otherwise. But only if we start from the absolute acceptance that things are as they are at this moment. From there, we can take action to change the situation. But only if we are willing to work with the situation as it presents itself, rather than as we wish it were. If I’m stuck in the mud, I want to get out – but if I flail around in protest and rage about my situation, I only make it worse. Once I relax and admit I’m stick in the mud, I can plan my escape.

  5. The most important thing is to understand that you are not your emotions, your thoughts, your body, your job, your clothes, your mind, your opinions, or any other material thing. You don’t have to define yourself by those things, you don’t have to be bound by them. Just because you feel angry, you don’t have to BE angry, or act on the anger. You don’t have to defend your opinions, or assume your thoughts are any more important than any other thoughts floating around out there. You can be really free if you realise and embrace this understanding.

    • Detachment. An excellent suggestion. Cultivating the “witness” can probably solve more personal problems than any other practice I can think of.

  6. The most important thing is to understand that you are not your emotions, your thoughts, your body, your job, your clothes, your mind, your opinions, or any other material thing. You don’t have to define yourself by those things, you don’t have to be bound by them. Just because you feel angry, you don’t have to BE angry, or act on the anger. You don’t have to defend your opinions, or assume your thoughts are any more important than any other thoughts floating around out there. You can be really free if you realise and embrace this understanding.

    • Detachment. An excellent suggestion. Cultivating the “witness” can probably solve more personal problems than any other practice I can think of.

  7. I’m also weighing in on self-acceptance – the ability to truly be able to say ‘I know who I am’ and to be happy with that instead of striving to be ‘special’.

    • Yes, that’s the trap of “self-development”. The feeling that there’s a long process to undertake before I’m finally good enough to allow myself to be happy. But if one begins with utter self-acceptance, creative play with the possibilities is a lot of fun.

      • yes – and it frees you to direct your energies into being better at being yourself, rather than being better at being what other people want you to be.

    • I find it easier to practice self-acceptance when I remember that this “self” that I’m so involved with is essentially just a character in an ongoing and very complex soap opera. When I look at “her” (i.e., “me”) in that light, I can appreciate the quirks and flaws and good qualities, too.

      • Ah yes … I recognise this as the strategy I use to get over that awful ‘cringy’ feeling when I’ve done or said something really stupid or embarrassing. It helps as a reminder that although I might be obsessing over my faux pas, its effect on the other person or people probably is fairly inconsequential and most likely they haven’t given it another thought beyond their initial response of the moment.

  8. I’m also weighing in on self-acceptance – the ability to truly be able to say ‘I know who I am’ and to be happy with that instead of striving to be ‘special’.

    • Yes, that’s the trap of “self-development”. The feeling that there’s a long process to undertake before I’m finally good enough to allow myself to be happy. But if one begins with utter self-acceptance, creative play with the possibilities is a lot of fun.

      • yes – and it frees you to direct your energies into being better at being yourself, rather than being better at being what other people want you to be.

    • I find it easier to practice self-acceptance when I remember that this “self” that I’m so involved with is essentially just a character in an ongoing and very complex soap opera. When I look at “her” (i.e., “me”) in that light, I can appreciate the quirks and flaws and good qualities, too.

      • Ah yes … I recognise this as the strategy I use to get over that awful ‘cringy’ feeling when I’ve done or said something really stupid or embarrassing. It helps as a reminder that although I might be obsessing over my faux pas, its effect on the other person or people probably is fairly inconsequential and most likely they haven’t given it another thought beyond their initial response of the moment.

  9. Hard to pick just one! I would have to say forgiving others. Forgiveness is extremely powerful when given unconditionally.

    Practicing non-attachment is huge as well…

    • Forgiveness is certainly high on the list if for no other reason than that UN-forgiveness is about the most potentially destructive thing you can do, spiritually. Even beyond forgiveness, I think we need to practice complete and unconditional acceptance.

  10. Hard to pick just one! I would have to say forgiving others. Forgiveness is extremely powerful when given unconditionally.

    Practicing non-attachment is huge as well…

    • Forgiveness is certainly high on the list if for no other reason than that UN-forgiveness is about the most potentially destructive thing you can do, spiritually. Even beyond forgiveness, I think we need to practice complete and unconditional acceptance.

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