Personal marketing for smart people

Personal Development for Smart People

We’re working our way together through creating a marketing campaign for a personal goal. The series began with How to choose a goal for your back-to-school marketing campaign and continued last week with Put your customer first.

Speaking of setting goals and doing market research on ourselves, it’s my pleasure to review Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth because it’s so relevant to the work we’ve been doing on our back-to-school personal marketing campaign. (Several hundred bloggers are reviewing Steve Pavlina’s new book to celebrate its release, so this is probably not the last time you’ll see it mentioned.)

The short version of my review: Wow.

Steve says he has read over 1000 personal development books, and it shows. His first published book reads like a volume of personal development’s greatest hits, but not in the tawdry, exploitative way that you might see on a late night info-mercial. Instead, you realize immediately that this is a guy who has read widely, thought deeply, applied fearlessly, synthesized intelligently, and then done us the enormous favor of writing down his observations. The result is a comprehensive yet simple framework for personal growth that helps you make sense of everything from diet to career choices to religion.

He describes the ambitious intellectual undertaking that led to Personal Development for Smart People like this:

Instead of going after the low-hanging fruit and solving the easy problems, such as how to make healthier food choices or earn more money, I wanted to answer a really tough question: what does it mean for us to grow as conscious human beings, and how do we intelligently guide that process?

The book guides us through a clear-eyed, straightforward, organized assessment of ourselves that is refreshingly free of agenda, other than to suggest the kinds of choices that are more likely to lead to our own growth. Through it all Steve manages to navigate through the potentially treacherous territory of challenging our habits, assumptions, addictions, and viral thought systems, while remaining a friendly, neutral, trusted guide who is firmly on our side in becoming the person we aspire to be.

Steve has been an important mentor so I was glad to write a review of his book, and he writes well about topics I’m interested in so I was expecting it to be a good read. What I wasn’t expecting was for it to help me as much as it already has.

The organized framework he’s laid out really appeals to me a programmer, who is sometimes baffled by the organic, chaotic messiness of human unfolding. He’s managed to apply his mathematical mind to a deep study of human growth systems and compile it all into an algorithm that is elegant in its simplicity yet comprehensive enough to address the full complexity of our lives. That framework has already created a lot more clarity for me in important areas like health, career and relationships, and I look forward to applying those ideas, as well as many practical, actionable suggestions, to finally make progress on some problems that have plagued me for a long time.

I really don’t think it’s going too far to say that this book is the missing manual for life.

How Personal Development for Smart People applies to personal marketing

For those of you who are just joining us from other blogs, “personal marketing” is the application of commercial marketing and advertising strategies to personal growth. Take Back Your Brain! looks at how we can use personal technology to create and deliver effective messages to ourselves that reclaim sovereignty over our attention while helping us achieve our own goals.

The material in Steve’s book brings a new clarity to several elements that are necessary to develop a really effective personal marketing strategy, including:

  • Intelligently choose which goals to work on.
  • Perform an honest self-assessment in relation to those goals.
  • Discover how to frame messages to ourselves that are in alignment with Truth, Love, and Power (I know, I thought the Truth, Love, Power thing sounded tediously new-agey too. But hear him out. It really does make sense.).

For example, questions in the section on Heath and Truth on page 200-202 are extremely relevant to my market research for the back-to-school marketing campaign (my goal is to walk again after a protracted injury). Here’s just a portion of the Health and Truth assessment:

Take a moment to clear your head of everything you think you know about health…Set aside the uncertainty of what you think you should be doing, and examine what your senses are telling you right now.

Take a good look at your body…(more)

How do you feel?…(more)

How would you rate your overall physical fitness on a scale of 1 to 10?…(more)

Be completely honest with yourself. What do your perceptions reveal about your physical body and your current state of health? If you want even more information, ask for a friend or family member’s perceptions of your physical body as well, or consider getting a full medical checkup.

Now turn your attention to your predictions…(more)

In the past, you may have resisted your most honest perceptions and predictions, especially if you didn’t like what you saw, but this time do your best to accept everything as completely as you can. Accept where you are right now and what you have to work with. Accept the body you’ve been given, despite its flaws. For better or worse, this is the vehicle you’ll be using for the rest of your physical life.

I don’t see how anyone with a pulse could read this book and not come away with both a desire to improve themselves and a clear idea of how to go about it. As such, I predict it will turn out to be as valuable a resource for designing personal marketing campaigns as Phrases That Sell.

Your action steps

  1. Order a copy of Personal Development for Smart People. Really. It’s great.
  2. While you’re waiting for it to ship, check the Post-It note ad you wrote a a couple of weeks ago (step #5). Make sure it asserts what you DO want in present time. Read this article for tips if you need to tweak it.
  3. As soon as the book arrives, read the chapter that’s most relevant to the goal you’re working on for your fall campaign.
  4. Check back Monday for your next step.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted September 30, 2008 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Excellent review, it is not often that you find a book review on personal development and how it ties in with personal marketing. Great job. I will definitely pick up a copy – now is the time to act.

  2. secret agent girl
    Posted June 14, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t feel a sense of knowing this book, how it really approaches its topic and gives value…the review seemed a bit “hype-y” to me.

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