The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between

4 Stages of Growth*

*This is quite possibly the longest blog post that you will ever read – If you actually do read it from beginning to end, please comment below as I would like to know your opinion – whether or not you agree with me.  Thanks.*

Have you ever seen someone that has wanted to achieve a goal, such as fat loss or to stop smoking?  Have you ever wanted these things for yourself?

On the other hand, have you seen people that live an extremely healthy lifestyle, who get more done in a day than you do in a week, and have absolutely no desire to smoke, or any other “bad” habit you might have?

Do you know what the difference is?  Is it because you are “weak” and they just have “superhuman discipline?”  I don’t think so.

Most of the people I talk to, know I like to break things down into categories.  This is one of the reasons why I love the Stages of Change model of behavior.  It postulated that there are 6 levels of change (pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and recycle) and within each level, there’s a different method that works best for that level.  For example, many people in the pre-contemplation phase won’t even admit that they have a problem.  This person could smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day, smell like a walking cigarette, spend countless money on the habit, yet tell you that they don’t have a problem, because they could stop at any time, if they wanted to.  They just “don’t want to.”

Some of the best methods for a person in this stage would be to show them examples of people such as themselves who have had horrific health problems due to smoking.  To give them literature on the matter of smoking and the costs.  In other words, the best methods for the person in this stage of change is more thoughtful in nature, as opposed to an action-oriented step.  Having this person go into a smoking cessation program without the requisite desire to stop will cause failure.  Therefore, in order to move onto the next stage, contemplation, the best methods are geared towards having the individual actually realize that he or she might have a problem.  Before that gets acknowledged, any action process will typically be in vain.

It’s definitely a smart theory and it definitely has it’s uses.

Often times, on this blog, I talk about people who could use those methods, the people that don’t like to exercise or are just getting started with exercise.  Many of the posts have been geared towards those in the first 4 categories, pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation and action.  Now, “Action” may seem as though it’s a more advanced stage, but really, people who start to take action are at a very critical junction and if they realize that they “hate” the action, they more than likely recycle back into the pre-contemplation or contemplation stage where they can stay for quite a while.

With that said, this post is really about Transcendence – Transcendence from the every day “grind” and into a thought process that realizes that there is so much more to be had from life.

What I mean is this, I believe that as there are 6 stages of change for someone trying to change a bad habit, there are 4 different levels of life.  I believe these levels of life, categorize all of our individual struggles, along with the struggles of humanity as a whole.  Let me elaborate.

I feel that the first phase is the “Suffering” phase.  Unfortunately, I feel most people never move out of this phase.  This is the phase where most people blame the world for their lives.  Sure, they might make a modicum of improvement in one area of their lives, but for the most part, they feel “stuck.”  This phase is categorized by lack of initiative and a lack of desire due to limiting belief that they won’t be able to achieve what they truly want.  To be fair, don’t think I’m judging harshly, as I feel I’m only starting to move out of this phase.  But it’s been an arduous journey.

The second phase is the “Power” phase.  A lot of people think they’ve made it when they get to the “power” phase.  This phase is categorized by the beliefs that you are in charge of your life and that you have the power to shape and shift any and all aspects of your life.  You work steadfastly towards a goal and bam!, a couple of months later, you’ve achieved it.

It’s a satisfying feeling and many people that get to this phase rarely move past it, because they feel secure in who they are and what they, as a person, are able to achieve. What most people don’t realize, when they are in this phase, though is that they are just starting on their journey and shouldn’t be ending it.

The third phase is the “Partnership” phase.  A lot of people who are still in the first or second phase try the “partnership” phase and fail at it, blaming the failure on the partnership itself and not looking inward at the causes of those failures.  This phase is categorized by working with someone who has a shared vision of what you both want to achieve.  Much more is accomplished in a partnership than any power that you can individually weld.  Most of the top companies are started with a partner.  To feel truly human, you have to know that you have someone you connect with on a deeper level.  You can tell this difference when it comes to parents who truly have a partnership when it comes to raising their children.  There’s a shared vision of what they both want from having the child, as well as how they will actually raise the child.

Now before I get a comment about how you can be a good parent either way, to which I agree, the bottom line is if you want your child to actually believe in a true partnership and connection with another person, that comes directly from your relationship with the other parent.  The most important thing that I’ve seen come from a two-parent home versus a one-parent home, where there is a true connection/partnership, is that the child turns out to be much more willing to work with people to achieve mutually agreeable ends – as opposed to going it alone.

The fourth phase is Transcendence.  This is when you realize that it’s not all about you.  Life isn’t about suffering or overcoming suffering.  It’s not about getting all the power or even simply partnering with someone else for mutually agreeable ends.  It’s about doing what’s best for everyone involved.  Two people from history really stand out when I think of transcendence -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Benjamin Franklin.

In Jack Bogle’s book, Enough, he talks a bit about how the word entrepreneurship has been skewed to mean maximal profit, without too much regard for the overall well-being of what is honorable.  He quotes Ben Franklin, and lists many of his accomplishments which he gave away freely, as saying, “Knowledge is not the personal property of its discoverer, but the common property of all.  As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously.”

To back up that point, he quotes Adam Smith, the author of The Wealth of Nations, which has basically defined free-market capitalism.  Despite being the author on “free-market capitalism” Adam Smith also talked about The Impartial Spectator.  He is probably most famous for his “Invisible Hand” concept and to quote Smith:

“Every individual intends only his own security; by directing his industry in such a manner as to produce its greatest value, he intends only his own gain but is led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention…promoting the interests of the society more effectively than when he really intends to promote it.”

Although that concept is very well known, his concept on the “Impartial Spectator” is rarely known.  I believe the Invisible Hand concept talks to more the 2nd phase of Power – Corporations and power. Despite that concept, I think he gets to the point of Transcendence much better when he talks about the Impartial Spectator:

“[The impartial spectator] calls to us, with a voice capable of astonishing the most presumptuous of our passions, that we are but one of the multitude, in no respect better than any other in it; and that when we prefer ourselves so shamefully and so blindly to others, we become the proper objects of resentment, abhorrence, and execration.  It is from him only that we learn the real littleness of ourselves.  It is this impartial spectator…who shows us the propriety of generosity and the deformity of injustice; the propriety of reining the greatest interests of our own, for the yet greater interests of others…in order to obtain the greatest benefit to ourselves.  It is not the love of our neighbour, it is not the love of mankind, which upon many occassions prompts us to the practice of those divine virtues.  It is a stronger love, a more powerful affection, the love of what is honourable and noble, the grandeur, and dignity, and superiority of our own characters.”

It is the love of what is honorable and noble – the best within ourselves – not for our immediate ends or what we hold dear, but instead, what is absolutely “right” for us to do in order to move the world along towards a greater end.  There are so many examples from history of this occurring, from Lincoln, Gandhi, Franklin, etc.  What’s sad, is that there are so few examples happening today.

These 4 Stages of Growth can be seen, not only on an individual level, but broken down into individual habits.  To use exercise as one example, many people first think of exercise as something that causes suffering (Stage 1).  It’s “hard to do” and you get little from it.  The next phase is where people start to realize that they have control over their bodies.  They can make it and mold it into their ‘best’ bodies, despite what other people are doing (Stage 2).  From there, they start to realize that life can be more than simply going it alone and they find a group of people or friends who have a shared vision of what they both want to achieve and help to push themselves further and stronger than they could ever do on their own (Stage 3).  Beyond that, they also enjoy the workouts more.  The final phase, is really where exercise transcends beyond the physical and the realization that not only does exercise effect your body, but the way you think, your mind and those effects give power to your life overall (Stage 4).  It adds so much to this last group that they feel “off” without it.  It’s not that they’re worried that they’ll gain weight or feel fat, but that they are not complete without the bodily knowledge bestowed upon them from the exercise and their ability to move their bodies as they best see fit.

On a different level, the 4 Stages of Growth can be seen on a macro scale.  For much of human history, mankind has been in the suffering phase.  Life has not been easy.  There have been many wars and just to obtain enough for general sustenance was an all day event.  Over the past 100 years or so, mankind has started to realize that they had the power to create what they will from their thoughts and efforts.  Mankind has risen dramatically during this time.  But as they have done so, they have failed to move onto the next level.  For mankind to simply stay at the “Power” stage of growth is dangerous.  There are too many variables that we simply don’t have control over and never will.  It’s a better phase from the first one, but it is definitely not the end all, be all towards growth.  Recently, more nations have started to realize that they are much more interdependent on each other than previously thought.  Globalization is the key phrase thrown around which is really about the third phase and partnering.  The problem is that many people who are trying to partner are doing so coming from a mindset of the second phase, the “Power” phase.  Globalization, or true partnering, would definitely move this world forward.  I’m scared that although the “stronger” nations would be able to move onto partnering, there are still too many nations in the “Suffering” category and that conflict of interest leads back to the “Power” category.  If this world is to truly survive on a long-term, macroscale basis, more people need to move to the 4th category, the transcendence phase, where more people are willing to do what is “right” overall – what is right in their hearts.  I just don’t see the world moving towards that end quick enough though.  In other words, more “Power” will be centralized, less will be dispersed and it will become a self-sustaining cycle until something we can’t control breaks down and it all goes awry.

With that said, how does one move along these Stages of Growth?

All of these phases will follow a similar arc or path.  You have the unconcious incompetent, conscious incompetent, conscious competent and unconscious competent. In other words, you may not realize that there is another phase while in the unconscious incompetent part of any stage.

Once you are made aware of it, you realize what you didn’t know and are in the conscious incompetent phase.  If you decide to actually try to move onto the next phase, which is not only a hard decision, but is hard to see through to completion, you will move onto conscious competent.  And if you do see it through to completion, then you are in the unconscious competent phase.

Random note:  Do you want to know a secret?

The biggest difference between those born into a family that is truly in the third stage (Partnership) along with being wealthy versus someone born into poverty and hardship, is that the person who was born into hardship has to work from the bottom of suffering up to move to transcendence.  The individual, starting from Stage 3, if they have learned through modeling their parents and finding a purpose to strive towards will not have to work nearly as hard to reach the Transcendence phase.  Although this might seem like a bad thing, the bottom line is that if you’re strong enough to raise yourself out of the suffering realm, you are less likely to stay at the “Power” phase.  Whereas someone that was born into the “Power” stage is less likely to become aware that there is more out there than simply “Power.”

So back to the question, what is the best way to move through the Stages of Growth?

Phase 1 – Suffering.  Many people start and end here, sadly.  The main reason is that they either don’t accept that “suffering” or pain, frustration and disappointment is a part of life.  They don’t accept that not everything will work out as planned.  Instead of working steadfastly on changing their circumstances, most people in this phase simply complain or deaden their experience through mindless activities.  Now don’t get me wrong, we all need some ‘escapes’ from time to time, but to consistently live your life as a way of escaping one’s reality is not the way to make a life.

A lot of the psychological theories are based upon this first stage.  Rational Emotive Therapy with it’s concept of overcoming Low Frustration Tolerance for anger and procrastination is one way of learning to accept and therefore move past the suffering.  Psychoanalysis is based upon the premise that if you can assimilate your past, accept it and take steps to move past it, you will move into a more powerful place in your life.  The Trans-theoretical model of change (stages of change model that I presented at the very beginning of this post) is based upon getting to a point of empowerment, past the suffering of a specific vice (smoking) or behavior (overeating).

In my summing up of 2010, I explained how I spent a considerable amount of time changing a lot of limiting beliefs – over 400 in total.  This process was just a way to allow myself to move past this initial phase – to move past suffering, blaming and frustration to a place of acceptance, strength and the ability to live life as I best see fit.

Therefore, the best way to move past this initial phase, if this is where you are starting from (not everyone, but most, will start here), is to recognize that it’s going to require work – Period.

You will have to do things differently.  You will have to become aware of what is holding you back.  You will have to actually think about your life, the bigger picture and choose a method that works for you as a person.  The bottom line though, is that it requires work to move through the phases of learning that I described earlier.

Here’s the summation of Phase 1 – Suffering:
Unconscious incompetent – You complain all the time, blame others for your predictament and are “frustrated” with certain aspects of your life, but you don’t take any steps to improve your situation.
Conscious incompetent – You recognize that you are suffering and want to change it.  Most people only recognize this in one area of their lives, but at least it’s a start.  You realize that you can do things differently, but haven’t actually started yet.
Conscious competent – You start to take actions that are different.  You try to look at things through a different lens.  You recognize that no one is going to shove food or cigarettes in your mouth if you don’t do those activities with them.  You start to think differently, but you are still thinking about the change throughout the whole process.  If you can accept that you will experience “thinking about” the change, that it won’t come about naturally most of the time, and that you’ll have to put in some work, then you are on your way to the 4th phase of…
Unconscious Competent – You have been able to change either a specific habit or a perpetual thought cycle, which allows you to automatically believe that you have the power to shift any aspect of your life.  This is also the Unconscious Incompetent phase of the 2nd phase, Power.

Phase 2 – Power. Most of the people that don’t start in the suffering phase, start in this phase.  As with the “Suffering” phase, many people that start here, will end up here.  This phase is really the American ethos phase.  “We will be bigger, faster, stronger.”  “I can do it all on my own,” and, “I am where I am today because of all the work that I’ve put into my life.”  While all of these statements are something to strive for and are worthy of praise, it’s not the end all, be all to life.  It is in fact, that those statements are worthy of praise, which causes them to be a double-edged sword.

What I mean is that since people do get praised, and hence rewarded, for going it alone, people will tend to stay in this phase.  And probably more emblematic of the problem as a whole is how fiercely they will debate that this is the ONLY way of living and any other method of living is wrong.  And since that way of living is wrong, it is because others are “weak, lazy or incompetent.”

It’s that pervasive mindset, along with a larger scaled, profit/power only motive when it comes to making money or striving for any goal that causes people to lose their sense of “right” and “wrong.”  When that occurs everything is game and long-term thinking, planning or even simple consideration gets thrown out the door.  Ever since 1980 when the Supreme Court ruled that life can be patented, a slew of questionable practices in fields ranging from agriculture to pharmaceuticals to family doctors has started down a self-justifying slope of moral bleakness.  No longer is farming simply about high quality food that can feed a growing population, but instead producing as much food as possible for as cheap as possible.  No longer is medical research based around what are the best preventative and low-cost measures to ensure the health of patients, but instead how to make as much money as possible while promoting the drug of the moment.  No longer is practicing medicine simply about caring for the person in front of you, but about saving your ass from lawsuits and feeling a need to yield to the reciprocity effect by promoting less-studied and therefore less understood medical procedures and medicine.

Eventually, this stage of growth becomes shrouded in a challenge of “going after what I want” versus “doing what is right.”  Somewhere in there though, growth beyond the simple profit or “Power” motive can shine through.  Let’s go through the process for phase 2.

The main challenge for those in this second phase is to be willing to be hurt, to give their all and to possibly fail without building a wall up.  The main problem with people in this Power phase is simply put in one word – Trust.

They have to trust others, but more importantly they have to trust the feeling in their heart that what they are striving for is “right” – for a true human connection – despite what may actually come from their efforts.

Unconscious incompetent – You don’t see anything wrong with life being all about the profit/power motive and you think that anyone that does is a “socialist” and should be forced to leave America.
Conscious competent – You realize that humans will not always see the bigger picture when only looking at the profit/power motive.  Sometimes, they get caught up in the moment and their personal goals.  As such, they don’t recognize that although they’ve gotten really good at making money, they don’t have anyone to talk to when one of their parents dies.  They start to recognize that maybe it’s not all about profit and power, but that we might all be interconnected.
Conscious incompetent – Since they’ve always been striving for more – more money, more power, more recognition, more fame – they’ve failed to learn how to listen in a conversation.  They’ve forgotten that life and the world doesn’t necessarily revolve around them and hence they have to learn to listen, to take things slowly.  They have to start to learn to actually build relationships with people – not for what those relationships can give to that person – but for the connection of one soul to another.  During this time, it is still something you have to work towards.  The person may not like the inability to be “in control” of the situation and they might feel insecure about giving up control.  If they can though, if they move those feelings of insecurity, they will move onto the last phase of this stage…
Unconscious competent –  This is where they allow the feeling of indebteness to another – not because that person will leave them or love them any less if they don’t put themselves in service of the other – but because in their heart, they wouldn’t have it any other way.  If this is you, then you would actually feel responsible for the well-being and happiness of another…and you actually embellish the feeling.  This unconscious competent phase of stage 2 is the unconscious incompent phase of Stage 3 – Partnership.

This second phase of Power is really what Ayn Rand was talking about in her philosophy of “Objectivism.”  It is also, sadly, what many people tend to believe modern day capitalism is all about.  Cognitive Behavioral Theory is really the psychological theory that mainly deals with giving the Power back to the individual by facing their fears and taking actions now.  Forget the past and only take the steps necessary to overcome a weakness.  Classical conditioning can readily fall into this phase also.

Phase 3 – Partnership. This phase is categorized by seeing past the “what’s in it for me” priority (despite what others may say though, the “what’s in it for me” is omnipresent – it just doesn’t have to be the priority) and onto a priority of “how can we make this work?”   It moves beyond the narrow point of view of primarily thinking about yourself as in the Power phase and expands to thinking outside your own self.  You are a part of something larger than yourself and are a partner towards a mutually agreeable end.

An example would be Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen teaming up for the Chicago Bulls.  Take away either of them and both would probably have not achieved the level of greatness that they were individually possible of.  Co-founders of companies such as Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google fame are other examples of this phase in action.

In a much less known scale are simply two parents that want the best for their children.  The problem of course is that many people want what’s best for their children, but stay in the Suffering or Power stages of living and hence are not in the right place to actually do so.  The child will pick up more from what the parents do than what the parents say.

I used to have a co-worker that was in this stage and it never ceased to amaze me in how easily she could get people to shift their thoughts and actions towards a better life.  The whole time I worked with her, I was trying to figure out what she did differently.  The fact of the matter is that she didn’t “do” anything differently.  She simply thought differently.  It wasn’t about her or her need to put her ego first.  It was about the other person and being able to genuinely help the other person – not because of what the person could do for her – but because that’s what brought her a deep sense of happiness.

To be happy for others success and happiness is all too rare in our society.  Don’t get me wrong, when people see, read or hear feel-good stories on TV or in books, they may be happy, but have someone you know do better than you and all of a sudden it becomes a game of comparison.

The biggest challenge of the Partnership phase, in being able to actually get to the Transcendence phase, is knowing that any individual relationship may not be the most important aspect of life.  Is it important?  Absolutely.  Is it the most important?  I don’t think so.

For most people, if they actually do get to this third Stage – Partnership – then they have lived a truly blessed life.  There is nothing wrong with getting to this phase and stopping.  In fact, there is not anything inherently wrong in being any particular stage and stopping – the problem comes when you are too close-minded to actually know that there is the possibility of something more.

With that said, sometimes, and I believe if life is to be lived completely and wholly, you have to be willing to sacrifice your most important relationships for what you believe in your heart to be true.  This doesn’t mean that those relationships can’t survive, but they can’t be the main priority.

Justice, truth, honesty, love, honor – these things come first.  For a world where some people don’t put these things before any relationship, before what may happen to them individually, is a world where all hope is lost and apathy reigns king.

In defiance against that apathy, let’s look at how someone might move through the different phases of Stage 3 – Partnership:
Unconscious incompetent – At this stage, you are just realizing that you can put someone else’s hopes into your hands and you are somehow alright with that.  You are perfectly content with staying right here and don’t believe that life can offer you anything better.  That love, deep and true, is the best thing in life and nothing that will ever happen will be greater or that there is a more worthy cause in the world.  This is not necessarily a bad philosophy to live by – it’s just not one that is grounded in the reality of this world as a whole.  No one says that you have to live by the reality of this world as a whole, but what typically happens when you don’t is that reality has a way of sneaking in and messing up the best laid plans and intentions.  (That’s a really pessimisstic point of view – sorry).
Conscious incompetent – At some point, an issue that effects the lives of you, your partner and what you are trying to achieve come into play that has the potential to destroy everything you think is “right” about life.  In the 1940’s it was the resistance towards Nazi Germany and the desire to fight for freedom across the globe.  For some people now, it’s living and spreading the message of global warming.  For Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, it was about equality.  It’s at this point you recognize that you might have a relationship or a “partnership” with someone in a company, where you might have to shift that out as the top priority in your life.  Not because you care any less about the person or even the relationship, but because there is something larger than even your love for another person, because there is something larger than running a business that employees people.  Often times, that larger “thing” is something that effects everyone, including you – in the 1960’s and 70’s it was nuclear war.  This is where you are starting to see that the world is not perfect and as you’ve moved through the Stages from Suffering to Power to Partnership, you realize that you have to Transcend it all and do what is “right” for everyone involved.
Conscious competent –  The reason why the Transcendence Stage is rarely achieved is because it takes gall.  It takes guts.  Most importantly, it takes Faith – Faith in humanity.  Faith that your efforts will not be in vain.  Faith that what you see as wrong will eventually be set right.  As Gandhi said, “Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”  It is that faith that whatever you do may seem insignificant, it is of the utmost importance that you do it.  That you, no matter how “small or insignificant” are part of larger system that will help spark the change that you truly believe in.  This phase of Stage 3 is characterized by the desire to try and balance your relationships, along with the cause for which you truly believe in.  It’s a tricky part that has you either stuck to Stage 3, a compromised partnership for Transcendence, or an ending of the partnership.
Unconscious competent is when you give your life to a cause.  You have officially moved out of Stage 3 and moved onto Transcendence.  Your life is given in service to what you believe to be “right.”

I want to make something abundantly clear before I talk any further about Stage 4 – Transcendence.  Everyone that has ever entered this Stage has been flawed, has been human, and although there are people who may find “dirt” on those individuals, the bottom line is that it wasn’t about “them” any longer – it was about the cause for which they gave themselves.

The psychological theories that are most relevant to Stage 3 – and the embodiment of autonomy along with partnership – are Social Learning Theory and Self-Determination Theory.  These theories postulate that we are social creatures, able to remain autonomous while still modeling and needing relationships for full growth.  Add learning into the mix and you have a much more “humanistic” individual.  With that said, I’m not sure where to put the Humanistic approach to psychology, espoused by Carl Rogers, as it deals more with suffering but heals through relationships.

And finally…

Stage 4 – Transcendence. This stage is categorized, above all else – Love.  Non-adulterated, non-specific love.  Since I can’t adequately describe it, I’ll use two quotes from people in this stage:

“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Where there is love there is life.” ~ Mohandas Gandhi

How does someone fully move through the phases of Stage 4 – Transcendence?  As anyone else does – slowly, over time and with awareness.
Unconscious incompetent – You don’t even realize that you have “Transcended.”  You won’t get any special gift or medallion, but you’ll know in your heart that of everything you could possibly be doing on this earth, you are doing it.  The cause for which you are struggling moves past your desires and you can’t fathom doing anything else.
Conscious incompetent – You recognize your cause, have given your life to it, but you also recognize that by partnering with someone else, you may have the ability to help even more people.  You realize that you have to do more work, then simply doing believing and working on your cause.
Conscious competent – You seek out partners, for your cause.  This will be an “unnatural” feeling as though you are trying to sell others for a cause which you believe mind, body and soul in.  It’s a difficult transition, but by the time you have moved to the last phase of this stage, it is no longer awkward, but something that has become a part of you.  This is when you enter…
Unconscious competent – Others seek you out because they believe in your cause.  It is at this moment, that you are swept up in the wave of the cause.  Most likely, you will be tired, worn and ragged, but more than likely you wouldn’t have it any other way.  You are fully used up by life in a cause that you truly and fully believe in.  That is the difference between those that have simply reached Stage 4, and those that have reached this Stage of Transcendence, and have made a lasting difference.

The only psychological theory that really tries to discuss Transcendence is Abraham Maslow’s Self-Actualization theory and his Hierarchy of Needs.  Along with his theory, most true forms of religion also talk about Transcendence.  To move past the pettiness, to do what is “right” and to love one another.  This may all seem like a hoo haa, but in the end, this is my philosophy on life.  I may not always live it and it will rarely be perfect, but this is what I strive for.  Hopefully, by the end of this journey called life, I will have lived a full and complete one, finished off at Stage 4, working towards a cause I believe in whole-heartedly.

Please note that although I’ve listed these stages exclusively, many people will fall within one of the first three stages in different areas of their lives.  For example, you may know someone who is in the Suffering, phase 1, with their jobs.  They deplore their job, but refuse to quit or go back to school for something they actually would love doing.  At the same time, they will work out hard and take complete control over getting the body they want and are in the Power, phase 2 with their bodies (not necessarily their health).  At the same time, they may have a very good relationship with their spouse, where they are completely on the same page, and are willing to compromise for the greater good of their children. Again, not because they feel “forced to” but because to them, it’s not a “compromise” but a willing change of life that they look forward to.

By living in this manner, in their day-to-day living, it will be very rare that they will move to phase 4, in any realm of their life.  That statement – “in their day-to-day living” – sums up the biggest challenge with reaching the 4th phase – the simple lack of change.  They perceive that they don’t have “enough time.”  It is that one aspect that keeps more people entrenched into any specific phase, any ‘rut’ that they might be in, and keeps most people there for their entire lives.

They never realize that it’s the ability to “make time” to create the life you truly want, while also moving past simply making it what you want, which will always separate those that reach the highest echelons of “doing what is right” versus “simply living life.”

Usually, I like to leave posts with some sort of question, some hope that some person that reads this might be willing to change their path, albeit slightly – to make a shift in their consciousness that starts them down a different path and hence a different outcome – but I don’t have any questions.   I don’t have any questions, because if you’ve actually read this far, and are going choose to stay where you’re at, to dig down in the rut of your life further, than I offer you no hope, no consolation and no question I could possibly come up with will suffice.

To end this post, I will quote someone who has reached Stage 4 – Transcendence, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:

“The time is always right, to do what is right.”

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2 comments found

  1. this entry took me an entire shift (on and off) to read it. but i see what you’re saying and i feel some people definitely have come into contact with transcendence or someone who’s achieved it, but is it ever really permanent? i can’t imagine someone who wholeheartedly is unconscious of their progression that they feel no suffering or hardship in their cause, no matter how hard or habitual they live it.

    i guess this also means i’m nowhere near stage 4 :[ sadface. i’ll get there one day!

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