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A principled life according to Steve Pavlina

Ever since college days where I got hooked onto the Internet, I have been an avid reader of self-improvement websites and books. I used to prowl for content, before the advent of lifehacking and productivity websites. I eventually stumbled upon good websites like 43Folders.com, and my friend Pradeep cajoled me to read Steve Pavlina’s blog.

I was so glad he did. I ended up spending hours reading Pavlina’s articles. Reflecting upon the ideas in these articles was very beneficial. When I read that Steve was releasing a new book, I jumped at the chance to get it.

The book was different from most self-improvement books because it didn’t focus on productivity or time management. Steve claimed that he has discovered the essential principles of life!

According to Steve, there are just three core principles – truth, love and power. The secondary principles are:

  • Oneness = Truth + Love
  • Authority = Truth + Power
  • Courage = Love + Power
  • Intelligence = Truth + Love + Power
The Core 7 Principles

I found it incredulous to see someone make such a claim. So I started reading the book with a sense of disbelief.

While I started reading the book, I didn’t appreciate its brevity but the upside was that I got through the book more quickly. The basic concepts were things I understood but concepts like ‘oneness’ was something I couldn’t fathom.

Eventually, a friend called me up and was describing a personal problem, I started to test whether Pavlina’s principles were applicable, and voila, I was amazed to pinpoint to something which I was convinced was the root cause. It was at that moment that I started thinking that Steve might be on to something.

I had a hard time reading through the book, not because it was bad but because for every other page I would stop and reflect upon the concept being described and I would do some journaling to help me clarify my thoughts. In the process, I realized I was applying the ‘Truth’ principle and finally accepting some things that I “delayed thinking about” (read as “avoid”).

Eventually, I started reflecting upon the past ups and downs of life and see if the good things were as a result of cohesion of the three core principles. Well, it did. And at the same time, I could place a lot of my faults into the categories under “Blocks to Love” and “Blocks to Power” sections.

Strangely, I felt like I was reading one of those Linda Goodman books which claim to know every detail of the character of a person just based on the date on which they were born. The logical portion of my brain simply refuses to accept something like that is possible. Similarly, I have a hard time believing that someone can boil down the psychology and well-being of humans to such a simple list of things.

Nevertheless, the true impact of a self-improvement book is only felt months later, so I’m still in the process of applying some of the concepts and thinking to my daily habits. I find myself aligned with the principle of truth, but not with the principles of love and power. I hope some of the 30-day trials (as described in the book) in applying these concepts will pay off.

All in all, I would highly recommend Steve Pavlina’s book “Personal Development for Smart People”

. It will make you think and hopefully make you grow as well.