I don't read a lot of books. Especially, I don't read a lot of "self-help" books. I may start on one occasionally, but I rarely finish them. They are long and obvious and written in a style designed for selling books more than actually helping anyone.
I want to make a point before we begin what I hope will be a rather short but fruitful journey: I can be a good barometer of wisdom.
Although the Internet can be a wonderful thing, it is also a dangerous source for knowledge. It used to be that if you heard the same ideas from a number of difference sources, you had probably stumbled onto some larger truth. That worked when a lot of people worked in relative isolation and came up with their own ideas.
Now that the Internet has blasted into the world of information, we have a huge problem: everyone copies a few enticing pieces of the same information everywhere. When you query your favorite search engine, you get thousands of "hits" that look exactly the same but from different places - you are getting copies that probably originated from one or two rather questionable sources. How can anyone find wisdom if only a handful of people are really speaking, and everyone else is just copying what they say over and over again and everywhere as "filler" content to "game" some search engine algorithm? That's not wisdom, that's just good web marketing!
As I said before, I don't read much, either from books or the Internet. I spend my time thinking and writing in relative isolation, like some monk in a cloister. Now, I don't see myself as God's gift to wisdom, but I will say this: if I come up with an idea in my monk-like existence and you see it from other sources as well, there is a decent chance that the common thought is an expression of some greater truth. That is why I am such a good barometer!
Beyond all else, you can know that I likely am not just endlessly copying the prattle I have heard on the Internet! I try to create my own, unique prattle.
What I am about to reveal is named the way it is because a title must be interesting and alluring to get noticed in mass media. There are a lot of messages out there, promising you this and that in exchange for your attention and money. I have to compete in that marketplace, so I have to "doll things up" like everyone else.
We all want to be happier and we are willing to put down some coin in the hopes that one thing or another will produce our desired results as advertised. It can be something that cuts up your iceburg lettuce without much effort or the latest blockbuster movie, but they both peddle the fact that you will lead a happier and more fulfilled life (at least for a little while) by using their product. It is the job of a good salesman to weave a plausible enough "road to happiness" story of tomorrow to get you to spend your money today.
Instead of trying to convince you that a new car wax or a high-bouncing ball will bring you intrinsic joy, I am actually peddling what I have found to be the key to happiness itself. The main outside source I am using for this booklet, a man named Steve Jobs, reported in his Stanford commencement speech that "This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." You don't know me, but you may have heard of Steve and his success in life. He didn't seem to be into trinkets and recreations - he was into the heart of the matter: acquiring happiness itself. That is what this booklet is about.
Besides what you pay to read this, or hear me speak this, you will find that this information is quite the bargain to acquire. However, to know about this is definately not enough, you must act on the things you learn, which is a much bigger committment than mere money. I am working to better apply it in my life (do you smell a testimonial coming?) and Steve Jobs seems to have made use of similar insights and made out okay (which you should be laughing at because, by most accounts, he did far better than "okay"). We will get to Steve's success very soon and what he identified as the causes, which is likely a big part of what brought you here in the first place.
A traditional marketing stunt is to tease you constantly with tastes of the ultimate product, enticing you through the maze of a thick book or long talk to collect all the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle that will fit together into your answer. This is likely to win an author, speaker, and publisher more of your coin, which is what most of these people are all about. I am going to take a break from such things and give you the complete prize right here at the beginning.
I worked for a long time to explain this thing that I felt was happening to me and seemed to happen to others as well. That weird name came out-of-nowhere one day and then, during one of my early morning walks a bit later, a way to explain this to other people hit me. You would be surprised at what strikes a person in the wee hours and I am frankly surprised that a big vehicle piloted by some bleary-eyed dude has not also struck me as well. So far, only epiphanies, no SUVs.
Little ideas would pop into my head. Visit this person; Walk this route to work; Say this thing to someone; Write this little story; Study this idea. At first, I ignored these inspirations as just an over-active imagination but I decided to start doing the things that were coming into my mind. Most of the time, I questioned what all of this was supposed to accomplish; its effect was so small that any particular thing I did from day to day didn't seem to matter. I played along because I am fortunate enough to embrace a religious tradition where hearing and heeding such tiny inspirations is strongly encouraged. In fact, a majority of people join my religion based on following the Psychic Proximity Principle, although couched in different terms.
Over time, the ideas and resulting actions started getting bigger and more demanding. Change jobs, Get a master's degree, Move to a new town, Write this booklet. I had become accustomed to heeding the little impressions, so it was easier to follow more challenging inspiration. To this day, I still don't know where this effort and work is leading, but I trust that it will end up somewhere good and happy and profitable, both for me and for others!
Here is how it seems to work:
You know about magnetism. It is really fun to bring two magnets into the neighborhood of each other and play with the fact that, depending on their orientation, they either smack together with mutual attraction or get as far from each other as they can. These are examples of relatively strong magnetism, that can actually move things around, create electricity, and that might describe the gravity that keeps you on the ground rather than flying off into space.
Weak magnetism is attractive like the strong sort, but it just isn't as irresistible. If you played with two little "toy" magnets as a kid, you could keep them apart pretty easily with what muscle power you could muster. That was what made magnets fun! How much fun could it be if they got stuck together so firmly that you couldn't get them apart?
The weak magnetism effect involved in The Psychic Proximity Principle can become interesting "fun" as you are led gently along your own journey toward happiness. It wouldn't be as interesting, challenging, or worthwhile if you and your perfect circumstance slammed hard into each other early and irresistably! That would be boring and you wouldn't feel like you contributed anything to the ultimate product: it wouldn't be "yours".
If you have noticed that some people look basically unhappy and never seem to "come into focus", my theory is that they are ignoring or not "feeling out" the weak magnetic pull toward greater happiness and the realization of their potential.
So, if you are unhappy:
I still have some troubles in finding lasting happiness myself, but I am starting to figure this "gentle attraction" business out. I don't know if that magnetic pull has different strength for different people, but I have learned one thing:
Sometimes, they even say that these things seemed to almost find them or that they and their success just crossed paths one day. This sounds to me like magnets attracting each other. You can describe it as good luck, Karma, the love of God, whatever you like. It still seems to work no matter what it is called and it becomes incredibly reliable if you are persistent and attentive to it!
If you are not seeing this attraction working in your life, you might be embracing a societal repulsion to "the spiritual". Many of us are taught to reject things like The Psychic Proximity Principle because they seem supernatural and therefore silly. An early step needed to make this work for you is to put aside such self-defeating world-views and give something as socially "kooky" as weak magnetism your real attention and effort.
Call the phenomenon of The Psychic Proximity Principle what you will. There are several ways of describing what you will notice operating around you and everyone else all the time once you actually see it at work. Whether some preacher says that God spoke to her in a dream about something she should do, or Dr. Emmett Brown from the movie Back to the Future saw the Flux Capacitor after hitting his head on a toilet - these are manifestations of the same thing. While "intellectual" skeptics might contend that I am deifying some creative process, I can just as easily spit back that such "inspiration" is God tickling our brains toward our divine future. The difference is that the skeptic dismisses and scorns such things while the trusting person recognizes the inspiration and acts on it more readily. The functional upshot is that either you will skeptically choose not to act or you will exercise a bit of faith and act inspite of incredulity. I think anyone will tell you that action (even "crazy" action) is far superior to doing nothing.
My contention is that if you simply chalk up The Psychic Proximity Principle to some casual coincidence or "luck", you will find it difficult to recognize that this effect is happening all the time to everyone. You will disbelieve that there is a weak magnetic pull between you and some large vats of happiness. You won't follow inspiration and you will most likely miss finding your best potential that often also leads to such nice by-products as financial success. If you refuse to see it or choose not to trust it, you won't act on it purposefully and lose out on many of its benefits.
In order for The Psychic Proximity Principle to work, you have to TRUST that it will work and that it will work consistently when applied. There is a one-word term to that describes it best: FAITH. Faith happens less effectively for skeptics because, along with not believing in "crazy" things like God or a higher power, many also refuse to believe in anything as wonky as trusting their lives to weak magnetism. Many people think skepticism makes them smart, but such folk are tragically deluded. As Steve Jobs will allude to a little later on, trusting in things you can't see immediately is the key to the success that he found. I hope to dissuade skeptics from living their shallow lives in a confining box of distrust by helping them discover this weakly magnetic "power for good" that exists within ourselves.
I am a practical religious person but I know most people choose not to be and think they are evolved people for it. Because of this, I call this way of leading life The Psychic Proximity Principle because I think the term helps non-spiritual people better access powerful spiritual things happening around them in a non-threatening way. If people poo-poo the "religious" flavor of these things, it can jokingly be called "psychic" and the principle still works at a basic level until you are ready to acknowledge "a higher power" or just smile and admit to a growing faith that there must be some benevolent power out there that happily fiddles around with the knobs of your life in a positive way, if you learn to play along.
My final point is that something I choose to call God is working to bring you and your best potential together, fraught with happiness and often with other by-products such as monetary success. You can call it "inspiration from the Spirit" or "weak magnetism" or "psychic proximity", but it is an absolutely reliable guide if followed. This realization lets me know (and perhaps you know as well) that God is there, that He loves us, and will always help us become better! Someday, we might figure out that we can take those promises to the bank and beyond!
Now that you are introduced to the Psychic Proximity Principle, let's explore the life and thoughts of a man that figured these things out in his own way and applied them in his own life to impressive effect. You may have heard of him - his name is Steve Jobs.
I would include the full text of the Stanford commencement speech that Steve Jobs gave, but I am sure I would run up against copyright issues and I am just too lazy to get any official permission to include it here. Due to the wonders of the Internet, you can just read the speech yourself. I will excerpt from it on occassion to make a point and all of these inclusions are permitted under "fair use" laws. I think it would be useful to read the speech now, or listen/watch a recording of it available for the price of a search engine search.
From the Steve Jobs speech:
"After six months [of college], I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life."
I had a job at an air force base. I was sent to train on my role and, as it was explained to me, I was struggling to care about it beyond its basic ability to provide for my family. My job only existed to meet a contractual obligation and I found mostly good-natured indifference from others about what I was up to, both in management and from customers. I didn't personally care about anything beyond making progress every day toward some supposed corporate efficiency goal that neither I nor anyone else really believed in. Worse yet, no one else really cared for me to do anything beyond the minimum "progress" required by the contract. As you can imagine, this bred a depressing attitude around my whole work situation. Who wants to be around depression all the time? There are a million ways to feed one's family - you don't have to stick with the first or second way that comes along and live with poor circumstances. You can have better!
According to his speech, the young Steve Jobs was attending college, spending his adoptive parents hard-earned money, and not getting much out of it, a very depressing situation. He decided to "drop-out" of a formal degree and "drop-in" on classes he found interesting instead.
In Steve's defense, I have found that there is something positive to learn in nearly every endeavor. If nothing else, you meet interesting and influential people along the way that can help you forward and perhaps teach you something intrinsically useful. As part of a seemingly "worthless" home economics bachelor's degree program, I took a textiles class. I don't remember much of what I spent a semester "learning", but I developed a great relationship with a very passionate professor who had such a wonderful outlook on life and just happened to have a dissertation's interest in textiles. She was a joy to be around and made the time worthwhile. I found myself wanting to be more like her. That was true of most of my undergraduate professors - they were amazing and inspirational women dedicated to matters of home and hearth and a lot of their enthusiasm toward these things somehow rubbed off on me.
Steve Jobs ended up in a calligraphy class and fell in love with it. He enjoyed the class but didn't see how it would be useful to him until later in life while leading the design of the Macintosh computer, as you will recall from his speech.
The Psychic Proximity Principle can lead us down "strange" roads, or we may take a path that seems of little value at the time. We must trust that there is always some value to what you are about, be it college, or a low-level job, or walking through a different part of town. It may just be you making questionable choices, but it may also be God influencing your life and preparing you for your future, if you are "feeling around" for such things.
I will take skeptics to task a few times in this booklet. I personally know that large doses of skepticism can be harmful because I have often thought in the past, like a lot of people, that the way of the skeptic was the "intelligent" choice. What I have found instead is that such a course keeps a person small and closed off from a world of interesting possibilities, relationships, and experience. The Psychic Proximity Principle is all about staying open to such things and daring to go where your heart and inspiration leads.
It is very fashionable to jettison the "outdated" ideas and attitudes as irrelevant, but I would counsel you against throwing away the past. "Old-fashioned" wisdom from parents and grandparents have some very compelling aspects to them, including the virtue of being tried-and-tested. Most successful people today learned and used principles they picked up from past successful people, even if everyone thinks they are new and "innovative". Very few things are really new.
Probably more so than you would like to admit, you are a product of your parents and the influential people of a generation or two behind you. They shaped your attitudes, they set you on the path that you likely still follow, and whatever virtues you have picked up can find their roots in these progenitors. Even if your past is littered with broken relationships and poor examples, it is still your past and a large portion of what you are and the good person you can become was initially shaped by those who birthed and raised you. Don't forget to honor them, or better yet, bring them honor through your actions.
Truth be told, the Psychic Proximity Principle is not a new thing that I thought up. It is an expression of principles that are much older than I am. It is the culmination of many things I learned from my parents, various mentors and teachers, and the writings of people that I respect. These didn't develop in complete isolation because nothing does.
Your past got you to where you are. Honor your past by building on it.
In the field of human development, especially child development, there is a constant struggle between two sorts of theorists: those who think the person you become is primarily a matter of genetics (nature) and those who think we are basically a product of our environment (nurture). The safe and easy answer is to say we are affected by both in a "middle of the road" sort of way. If you study a little deeper, you do see both in operation and how the interplay between nature and nurture works.
When I think about nature, it is about the parents and grandparents I have been writing about. Love them or hate them, that influence is there and the observant person sees that influence surfacing all the time. You can save a lot of pain and heartache by acknowledging this fact and adding their longer experience to your own. There is little use wasting time and effort in "reinventing the wheel" or "burning your hand on a stove" if you can instead listen to and trust the counsel of those who have traveled ahead of you. For instance, I don't have to go to jail to know it is an unpleasant place: I can take the word of others for it and save myself a lot of pain. Often, parents and other experienced people know you better than you know yourself and are willing and even hungry to share their knowledge with you. Listen to them.
People who think more of the environment we are raised in often do so because it has affected them personally, profoundly, and certainly more visibly, often for the worse. Many "nurture" adherents also consider themselves and others as "victims" of environments that felt beyond their control. I don't wish to demean such experiences - bad environments are very real and can be very damaging. My own background had some bad aspects to it and I am sure there are "scars" from it. As I see it, the problem comes from dwelling far longer than is useful on environmental factors, as a "nurture" aficionado is apt to do, giving it far more "credit" than it is due.
Honestly, I find it easier to transcend environments than genetics, so I put more stock in the latter. If you come from a bad environment, it can be overcome with effort. One's genetics usually have to just be accepted and dealt with - one can't "will away" a genuine disability, for example.
One thing can be said for a person who puts great weight on environment and "nurture", they easily blame the past for their present, project it into the future, and can fall readily into rationalizations for why they can't overcome and must stay in squallor forever. What a terrible place to put a person, especially if it is yourself!
The Psychic Proximity Principle is inherently based on living in the moment and putting faith in a brighter future. It has you acting on impressions right now that you trust will have positive repercussions as you move ahead. Steve Jobs could have wallowed in his inability to continue in an expensive college and his humble working-class background, instead he made choices based on where his heart seemed to lead him. That is living in the present and trusting that this is a good thing to do.
"Now" is a good place to start. Don't bury yourself in "if onlys" and debilitating yesterdays.
Steve Jobs describes his life experience as "connecting the dots" in his speech.
"...you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
One can look behind and see the trail of choices and their consequences, but that doesn't mean there is some searchlight switched on that lets you see the path ahead. There is only the evidence behind you that some positive force has led you previously. There are a lot of variables at play: your willingness to follow impressions, your readiness to see the process happening in retrospect, your recognition of some higher power at work, etc. This booklet is meant to help you see what is happening and trust that it will continue to happen into the future.
I have heard it described as walking into the darkness, or at least what appears to be impossible to see from our present vantage point. You exercise faith in what you feel in your heart and move ahead, not really knowing what's out there, and you discover that what seemed dark before is actually light enough to allow you to take another step onward. That is moving forward with trust that whatever is leading you will not fail you. That is probably the most hopeful thing Steve Jobs said in his speech: "This approach has never let me down..."
You can base your future plans on television business projections, the stock picks of rich people, or any number of methods. Although some knowledge on these subjects can be helpful, Steve and I would recommend that you invest yourself more toward following your heart and moving forward based on intuition.
I remember a radio advertisement a few years back that offered to help you discover what you love and build a business around it. It was a compelling idea to me and I suppose that was the point: it would be compelling to a lot of people and the service would be a money-maker to the advertiser. I only heard the ads for a few months, so I suppose it either never got off the ground or they were so swamped with people that they had all the business they wanted. The whole idea of doing what you love and therefore doing it very well and profitably could be the biggest "holy grail" of our lives. Our deepest envy is reserved for those people who seem to figure out their love and find a way to capitalize it financially. In large part, I think that is why people both love and hate Steve Jobs - by his own admission, he found his loves and successfully built his businesses and life around them:
"If you haven't found it [what you love] yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."
Of course, I propose that a steady application of The Psychic Proximity Principle will gently lead you to things that you will love. You will be guided to people, passions, hobbies, courses, and opportunities that will reveal your individual love to you. It is as uncanny and nearly mystical as the Psychic Proximity Principle itself and even the skeptic inside will find itself admitting that there is surely something or somebody pulling the strings to help you.
Steve Jobs didn't seem to acknowledge God publicly in his speech, but he certainly followed his inner voice and intuition just as religiously as any disciple. As already mentioned before, "it has made all the difference in my (Steve's) life."
Steve Jobs thought that this idea was so important that he said it twice in one paragraph. It is so much in the nature of people to stop striving for something if it doesn't produce results immediately or come together with just the smallest thrust of effort. It takes real commitment and perseverance for amazing things to happen!
All too often, we adopt the attitude of the fox in the famous Aesop fable often called "The Fox and the Grapes". Here is a short version written by the Latin fabulist Phaedrus:
Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked 'Oh, you aren't even ripe yet! I don't need any sour grapes.' People who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this story to themselves.
Don't let others or your lesser nature pull you down from accomplishing your heart's desire. In writing this booklet, I am striving to overcome personal misgivings and the thought that this may all be an unprofitable effort and time wasted. Even if only a handful of people ever read this and only one or two are inspired enough to put the Psychic Proximity Principle into action, it will have been worth it.
In all the speech of Steve Jobs, this is the closest he comes to sounding religious:
"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith."
There really is no adequate secular term analogous to faith. This involves taking action on something that you cannot know for certain; working in the service of something you cannot readily see. God is the ultimate un-knowable and un-see-able thing and many religions define him through those attributes. As you put the Psychic Proximity Principle into action, you will be putting faith into some unseen thing, though you may not choose to call it God. Certainly, you will come to find that something is steering you for good and if you continue to follow inspiration, you will discover a growing "faith" and "trust" in that something which you can't explain but that produces results regardless.
Things don't often happen with the timing we want, which is often "yesterday". When we are faithful, we put forth the needed effort even if the expected results are delayed. We will even keep moving and acting when things turn out differently than we hoped for. Steve couldn't have anticipated being fired from his own company, but he continued to move ahead regardless, secure in his faith that good unseen things would come of it. It was years before his wildly successful return to Apple but he was there and ready to take the helm when the opportunity presented itself.
Here is another reading assignment for you. This comes from an interview with Steve Jobs in Wired Magazine: The Next Insanely Great Thing, which you can find at http://www.wired.com/1996/02/jobs-2/ .
You will discover an interesting vantage point in this article. Steve Jobs was still kicked out of Apple at this time and working at the continuing business "failure" of NeXT. Steve knows it isn't working out well, but he still has an intuitive vision and keeps evangelizing it, as this article shows.
Sometime after this, in a fit of desperation, Apple brings him back as "interim CEO" and among his first acts are to dump the old software in the Macintosh, to integrate his NeXTstep operating system into the Mac's revamp, and to embrace the perceived rivals of chip-maker Intel and software giant (and often competitor) Microsoft. Macintosh devotees were almost violently skeptical, but Steve had a vision and a maddening drive to realize his vision. In the article, you can see the foreshadowing of such products as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad in the reference to the idea that "computers were destined to become personal appliances".
To some, the Steve Jobs in this Wired magazine article was a "fallen" technology prophet who had once pulled off a miracle with the original Apple and the original Macintosh, but was now firmly out of favor. Just like his time in a calligraphy class looked to be a waste, his continued labors at NeXT seemed a wandering into unprofitable foolishness. Steve, like so many others, had just been a lucky guy that was there when lightening struck once and firmly in the past.
The man who gave the Stanford speech years later, talking of "connecting the dots", could only see that his journey through NeXT was part of yet another unforeseen path that lead to his ultimately triumphant return to Apple and its subsequently wild success as a consumer product maker. Steve Jobs proved to be no "flash in the pan" - he learned truths in a way similar to the Psychic Proximity Principle, put them to work in spite of a professional setback, and found himself yet another success! Kindly, he left the Stanford speech behind as a guide to how we can do the same.
I think every success requires that a person follow their heart. Life is strewn with potholes and obstacles, causing us to detour often as we strive to move ahead. We need a picture of what our heart desires etched firmly in our minds to give us the resolve to continue to move ahead when circumstances are rough.
As Steve said:
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.Everything else is secondary."
Society gives us some common advice: play things safe. Steve Jobs, near the end of his speech, says that you are already "naked", which is inherently unsafe.
"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
That percieved lack of safety is both frightening and liberating. It is liberating in a way that tells you to let go of your fear and do the heart-felt things that probably scare you.
Hopefully, you have not forgotten that this booklet is about following the road that leads to happiness and personal fulfillment! The biggest obstacle in our way forward is our own fear. It often comes down to a fear of how foolish we may look to others. The point of "following your heart" is to discount the "play it safe" attitudes and advice of other people who may ridicule your methods and call you a fool. Instead, we must listen to either the voice inside or God, whichever way you interpret the source. The Psychic Proximity Principle works best when you are able to let go of your fears.
Lest you think that the road of The Psychic Proximity Principle is all beauty and success, I am here to burst that bubble. Just as there is a large force for good and progress that we can call God, there is a force for mayhem and challenges which some equate with a Devil. Just as often as life seems to go our way, it also seems there will always be times that it feels like everything is against us and we can't seem to catch a break. Welcome to the truth of opposition.
When we first spoke of weak magnetism, I noted how unexciting and uneventful it would be if things worked like strong magnetism and we had some destiny that we couldn't avoid if we tried. We only realize and value happiness if it is regularly punctuated by sadness; we would not appreciate success if there was never the sting of failure. There will always be bad times to help us see and appreciate the good times!
I have found in my life, as I have tried to use the Psychic Proximity Principle, that inspiration comes not only as we seek and follow it, but also interrupted by stretches of relative quiet. Sometimes, as we are on the right road, no further "big instructions" from our heart will be forthcoming. We are somewhat left to ourselves, which is a growth experience just as important as opposition. We need to make our own choices and apply our own wisdom to the many circumstances where inspiration is not forthcoming. It appears that the "powers for good" don't want us to behave like puppets on strings! We are expected to make many decisions on our own and to face whatever opposition comes without clear internal guidance.
At these times, it is important to remember inspiration that came to you in the past and continue to follow it. There is good advice in recording impressions in some sort of journal and referring back to them often. Inspiration often acts like a demanding boss: they will only tell you something once or twice and then expect you to move forward without constant supervision and further reminders. It is expected that you will put forth most of the needed effort and organization yourself without the constant needling of reminders.
For myself, a large function of "religion" is to provide us books full of reminders, a place to go for regular encouragement, and the companionship of others on our same path who also endure stretches of opposition and "psychic" quiet. You can throw away religion just as readily as you can the Psychic Proximity Principle, but that would be purposely distancing yourself from a wonderful source of perserverance in the difficult times we each face. Personally, I take whatever help I can get!
I used to be a computer tech, fixing Windows workstations. You learn quickly that whatever goes wrong, one of your first remedies should be to restart the computer. Nine times out of ten, this will fix your computer problem and you can go on with what you were doing without old clutter getting in the way. My users learned this "trick" so well that I received fewer and fewer calls for help over time, got bored with the lack of work to do, and found other employment that was more interesting and challenging.
Do you feel your life is not working out well? Does it seem like opposition has grown to the point that you feel you are simply on a bad road, at least not a good one for you right now? Don't be afraid to "reset" things as needed. Steve Jobs said this:
"I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
"During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world's first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together."
Getting fired is a pretty big reboot of life, but look at what Steve did as an encore! I prefer to change jobs under better conditions, but that just means that you get to choose when the reset happens and it may not be so jarring.
It can be hard to know the difference between times when garden-variety opposition must be endured and when you need to make a big change and "reset" things. Perhaps there is some indicator for that, but I haven't found it outside of the Psychic Proximity Principle. Steve Jobs gave us this interesting advice in his speech:
"...for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."
Fear of having to make a big change is another obstacle that we put between ourselves and our potential. We hold onto our weaknesses and bad habits of inaction like they are old, reliable friends, but you must know that such rationalizations steal away the energy needed to grow and progress. It often takes a big "reset" to shake us out of our complacency and get us moving forward again.
People have different attitudes about work, which isn't surprising. There is all sorts of work and there are all sorts of people. Finding the right combination of a person and a work can seem like finding a needle in a haystack! The wrong combination is depressing and unhappy to an extreme, multiplied by the time that this situation persists. On the other hand, the right combination of work and person leads to amazing fulfillment and joy, similarly multiplied though I think the math is actually more pleasant than that! There is nothing worse than doing work you are not suited for and there is nothing more fulfilling than being where you are meant to be and doing what you are meant to do.
The Internet is a great collector of evidence for these assertions about work. Websites often incorporate a rating system and employment or job sites often show how people feel about a certain company or role. It is interesting to read such ratings, where two people with the same job describe it so differently. One hates it, the other loves it. To one it is an unpleasant chore with a terrible company, to the other a wonderful opportunity in the perfect environment. I have always thought that the great difference in attitude had a something to do with the proper matching of a person to a compatible labor.
This would normally seem a monumental effort to make: finding the right job for yourself. Yet, it seems that people "stumble" onto compatible jobs on a regular basis, if statistics are to be trusted. It is my contention that this is more compelling evidence for the validity of The Psychic Proximity Principle! People seem almost magnetically drawn (albeit weakly) to work that suits them, finding something workable out of the millions of possibilities available to them, not knowing exactly how they "lucked" upon it.
Steve Jobs offered a great insight:
"I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."
This is the best use of your "work" time: turning the hours into opportunities to progress toward goals that your inspiration and heart identify. Every job you do, even a less-appealing one, has an element of opportunity to it - the question is this: is it interesting and fulfilling enough for you to invest part of your life?
I remember distinctly the years 2012 and 2013. I had been working as a computer workstation tech for eight years and I knew I could do more. In my spare time, I began looking for new places and labors, from a plan to attend graduate school on the tiny Shetland Islands to joining the US Foreign Service. In the end, I upgraded both my education and technical skill set, which reinvigorated my boring life, broadened my possibilities, and convinced myself that I didn't need to sit still and "work toward retirement" in a job that had lost my interest. These changes and a few physical moves nearly doubled my income as well, but that was just a by-product of pursuing my potential.
Here was Steve's experience:
"Woz and I started Apple in my parents' garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees."
We are surrounded by similar stories of the substantial personal rewards of taking advantage of opportunities and multiplying them with hard work, so I know that this is no isolated fluke. To some extent, I did it, Steve Jobs certainly did it, and you can as well.
As I have already said, viewing our present as a chore can multiply unhappiness. If your work is bringing you down too much, it can have a multiplicative effect that could become logarithmic over time. I was about to include a graph that shows the math behind this, but that can put off a lot of people and make the concept harder than it really it.
What you need to know is this: when you are going in the right direction, everything in life seems to be better and both your happiness and your willingness to put more effort into it increases, setting up this wonderful "feedback loop" of increasingly amazing accomplishment and joy in spite of regular opposition.
On the other side of the coin, continuing to go in the wrong direction also sets up a feedback loop, one that can spiral into the depression and suicidal tendencies over time. I have found that if you need to spend a lot of your time "detoxing" from your life, with alcohol, drugs, or "television" sorts of distractions, you are probably in a self-destructive downward spiral. Such behaviors and feelings are warnings that a person needs to change things.
You can use multiplication to either improve your life or ruin it. That choice is always available to you even in the worst of circumstances. My hope is that you will choose to use the Psychic Proximity Principle to guide your direction in life and then apply your own effort and the power of multiplication to its best effect.
I have been writing about and encouraging the "crown standard" of chasing your potential. I fully acknowledge that most of us (myself included) are basically lazy and are unwilling to put out the effort needed to understand or meet such a high standard. It seems a common human trait that we expend most of our energy and thought on chasing short-cuts toward cheap substitutes for happiness and potential. We always want "the easy road".
Most of the "successful" people touted by "get rich quick" advertising are either assemblers or peddlers of some easy path to happiness and potential. When wealth or power is your chosen short-cut, you will find acquiring either laughably easy - most people will lay both money and acclaim at your feet to learn the "secrets" of your easy road.
People think a short-cut will be an easier road to a fulfilling future, but they forget that it will also be "cheaper". For instance, when you purchase goods at a "discount" store, you know you will be purchasing them more often because they are of inferior quality and manufacture. As opposed to the chair that is a family heirloom and was built in a way and with materials that will last for centuries, most of the furniture today is made with cheap press-board held together with wire staples, all hidden behind inexpensive fabrics and meant to last only a handful of years. This is all that matters to most people, as they have no problem with burning through many couches in a lifetime, as the "modern" person is constantly throwing things away and changing everything about them every few years anyway, chasing some marketing goal of the "good life." However, when I am speaking about something like The Psychic Proximity Principle, I am talking about the souls of people, which cannot be thrown away or replaced cheaply. The fulfilling life cannot be composed of the philosophical equivalents of press-board and staples!
People think that they would be happy with a life of ease and recreation if they had no concern for money. They fail to realize that money itself really doesn't matter greatly at all. People need someplace purposeful to go and something meaningful to do with their lives. Employment provides much of these for many people but for some, it might take more.
My son Matt is autistic. As a disabled person, he gets monthly payments from the government that cover his expenses. You would think he would spend his time lounging around, but he doesn't. He wants to do something more. He volunteers at the local museum cleaning dinosaur bones. He works at the local KFC once a week and gets a small paycheck that he takes great pride in. He helps box up food commodities for the poor once a month. He pursues art and does housework and yard-work. He could do nothing, but he chooses not to. I know these are his personal choices because I have tried to get him to do things he doesn't want to do and he won't budge at all in those cases!
You may think a life of skiing or golf will make you happy, but you will soon discover that it does not. If such things really move you, you will find yourself wandering into the territory of perhaps being a ski instructor or golf pro. Your soul needs something more than just a way to pass the time.
Although there might be something to be said for "practicing" your use of effort and drive on lesser pursuits to get experience with it, it is too easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the "cheap" benefits of the experiment and settling on the result as yet another substitute for happiness. If you use real effort without the guidance of your heart, you will find yourself making decisions solely based on things like money or status, always weighing every action against some soul-sucking version of a cost/benefit analysis. You might find yourself avoiding great things like starting a family that are often challenging but reap the best rewards of the soul.
A larger goal of The Psychic Proximity Principle is to find a quality life, the sort of life that some greater power wants to steer you toward. This involves putting off the foolishness of modern society and embracing faith and trust in your potential that you can't see right now. The investment of your hard effort in this pursuit is of far greater intrinsic value than surrounding yourself with piles of easy accomplishments and the gaudy junk that mere money can buy.
The pursuit of substitutes for the pointed quest for your greatest potential will prove a waste of your valuable resources. One must deaden their soul to excel at substitutes as every honored choice (even a foolish one) demands precious effort. It takes as much energy to pursue a "cheaper" path as it does to pursue the true one - the "pursuing" is very much a labor either way, so make your effort count.
If your purpose in life is just to get financially wealthy and enjoy all the trinkets that money and fame can buy, you don't need the Psychic Proximity Principle. There are many "cheaper" routes to such wealth and they all work to varying degrees as long as you are willing to put out the required effort.
Please remember that the acquisition of wealth for its own sake is a soul-killing activity. If you allow financial success to get ahead of following your heart in your list of priorities, you are among the countless others who lead essentially empty and frustrated lives regardless of how much money they make. The Psychic Proximity Principle teaches that as you see to your soul, things like income rise by nature and soon surpass your financial needs to the point that you can use the excess to follow your heart and serve others more purposefully and to greater effect - it is part of the multiplication.
Plenty of people have told themselves and others that, once they have the money or the things money can buy, they will start a family, give charitable service, or turn philanthropic and use it for good. For the most part, people will either never feel like they have enough money or they will habituate the ignoring of their soul-hunger to amass cheap substitutes like wealth exclusively. Either way, the heart is set aside and the "good" cause is essentially lost. I know you say that you will be the exception and not lose yourself. These are the famous words of a universe of unrepentant misers on their death-beds!
You must remember that a person who follows their heart will always have sufficient resources and those resources will always increase as you focus your effort on the pursuit of your heartfelt potential. The follower of the Psychic Proximity Principle will often end up quite wealthy (like Steve Jobs) just as a by-product of approaching their full richness of soul.
We all need money. We trade it for the things we need and want but don't make ourselves. You may be good at electronics while your neighbor is good at cabinetry. Each of you trades your abilities for money and you can then buy the cabinets you need and your neighbor can get needed electronics. Money creates the marketplace of the goods and services we need and desire, letting us concentrate energy on our individual skills and talents. In the end, money is a very good thing!
Although you need money, its acquisition will never be a proper substitute for reaching your potential. People and their souls are priceless and that is not a cliche - no amount of money can compensate for the loss of the person you could have become and the role you could have ultimately filled. Most people would gladly give up all they have in wealth to bring a beloved spouse or an unrealized child back from an untimely death, but it can't be done with riches. Money is good, but it is not required for nor essential to happiness.
It seems incredible, but not all people want the highest-paying jobs! That isn't just "lazy" talk. There is a certain trade-off required in any pursuit and many people seem to value other things (hopefully happiness) more highly than mere money. Good for them! Money should never become the central motivator in your life, even if you are just scraping by and every penny counts. Steve Jobs spoke about this:
"It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it."
You know you are not driven by money when you love something enough to suffer financial deprevation to get it! That is truly following your heart and will inevitably lead you to personal development and to greater things! When someone comes to a fork in their personal road and they choose a less lucrative path, I wager that the heart is involved somehow, even if it is not readily recognized.
We all need nourishment. Most of the time, we equate that to food. Our society has a fixation on health, so most folks know what constitutes good nutrition and nourishment for the body, though we may fail in bringing that knowledge to execution. In addition to our physical health, other aspects of ourselves also need nourishment - namely, the soul.
One big element of the Psychic Proximity Principle is the feeding of our souls. That weak magnetism is akin to physical hunger, though not as compelling. It is much easier to ignore nourishment to the soul, at least in the short-term, than it is to ignore hunger as the tummy growls and candy bars beckon from every check-out stand! What a candy bar is to our overall nutrition, money ends up being to the well-being of our souls - not bad on occasion, but terrible as our regular diet!
So, why would anyone want to follow the path of The Psychic Proximity Principle?
In the course of this booklet, we have seen that life is full of ups and downs. There are really wonderful times and really difficult times, all seemingly mixed together randomly. Some people seem happy all the time and others always look and act sad or depressed. Some are financially rich and others are poor, sometimes due to obvious things but just as often attributed to the "luck of the draw" in life. It can be easy to surmise that life is just a gamble with a few fortunate winners and a lot of resigned or frustrated losers.
Through this short time, we have explored the possibilities of hope in the better nature of the universe, or God in my native language. We have observed faith as people like Steve Jobs ignored the odds and pushed forward with intuition. Finally, trust in past and present guidance has been shown to see us through the inevitable hard times. The Psychic Proximity Principle really boils down to these three things: Hope, Faith, and Trust. As far as I am concerned, these are three great keys to the attainment of personal potential, authentic success in life, and ultimate happiness.
As you pursue your goals through aligning yourself with God, both Steve Jobs and I assure you that the greatest rewards will indeed come to you! My blessings to you on your journey!
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