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19 Jan, 2011

The hitchhikers guide to personal development by Mark Eyre

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Plus Articles|Coach Spotlight|Coaching Articles|Life Coaching Articles|Personal Success|Small Business Coaching Articles|Success Stories

The hitchhikers guide to personal development by Mark Eyre

Let’s face it, there is so much stuff out there on the subject of personal development. Books of all shades adorn shelf after shelf in our national book stores. That’s before we consider online sales, and all the self-published work out there (which includes a lot of mine)

It’s enough to put people off – I mean, where does one start? The aim of this article is to give you a place to start.

I am widely read in the personal development arena, and I thoroughly recommend it for anyone wishing to better themselves. My reading has brought me into contact with many great ideas, approaches and models, some of which I found difficult to understand! Most personal development writing boils down to a handful of key lessons that, if we learn and apply, will benefit us greatly. So here are the eight key lessons that will help you to live a great life.

As a starting point, I define personal development as the stuff that helps you to move towards living a better, happier, more purposeful life. Isn’t that what we all want? Here goes then, the eight key steps to a great life, in no particular order.

Lesson 1 – live in the present

Start living in the moment, focusing on what’s going on right in front of your nose. Stop focusing on the past or the future. Most miserable people either spend their time worrying about the future (what ‘might’ happen), or trawling over the past (what ‘might’ have been). Learn the lessons from the past, and plan for the future by all means, but stop living there. The only thing you can change is what you’re doing right now.

Lesson 2 – Focus more on others, not self

Happy people usually spend most of their time focused on other people. They show an interest in what others are doing, often helping where they can. Unhappy people are more likely to be self absorbed, and even where they do show interest in others, it is a tactic rather than genuine interest (e.g. if I ask how you are, you might ask me back). How many depressed people do you know who show much interest in how others are doing? Not many, in my experience. So unless depression is your goal, focus on others.

Lesson 3 – Think positive

Thinking and talking positively is more likely to lead to happiness. Obvious isn’t it? Not that gushing positivity that annoys people (what planet are they on?). But looking for the best in other people and situations will help. Being positive might also make a positive outcome more likely anyway. As Henry Ford said, ‘whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you’re probably right’. Quite simply, believing you can is better.

Lesson 4 – Be true to yourself

Call it personal integrity, being authentic (my favourite word!), call it whatever. Be true to your own beliefs and values. You will not achieve things that matter to you by trying to impersonate someone else. At best, you’ll be a poor photocopy of that person. Instead, be the best ‘you’ there can be, because no one else can do that.

Lesson 5 – Have quiet time

Some people meditate, others might just go for a walk, do some fishing, or read a book. But have some quiet time in your life. It allows you to center yourself, and brings the rest of your busy life into better perspective, as well as recharging your energy. Nowadays, people are incredibly busy, so quiet time is a must.

Lesson 6 – Act on how you feel

Stay in touch with your feelings, especially you guys who aren’t paid to connect with them. They are an invaluable indicator to us of how we’re doing. Do we feel good or bad right now, and why is that? But they are only a valuable indicator if we pay attention to them. Once you’ve noticed your feelings, do not be afraid to act on them where you need to.

Lesson 7 – Decide what you really want to do

You might think of this as a mission, personal vision, or purpose. It may even be what you spiritually think you’re here for. Whatever you call it, have some bigger idea of what you want to do while you’re here in this life. Not only will this focus you on something that matters, it will also help you decide what to do now, so you don’t spend your life wasting time on trivial matters.

Lesson 8 – Try different stuff

Variety really is the spice of life – many of these old sayings have a truth in them. Where’s the fun in doing the same thing, day after day? Ground-hog day is no-ones idea of a good time. Most older people will tell you that it isn’t what they did when they were younger that they lived to regret. It was the wasted opportunities, the things they didn’t do when they could. What have you done different today? This week? This month? This year? If the answer is ‘not a lot’, find something different to try.

There you have it – the vanilla based, hitch-hikers guide to personal development. Stripped of all the finery, these are the essentials. If you are drawn to certain lessons more than others, there are plenty of books out there that will give you more detail. I’m happy to give you my own pointers to other writing if you contact me.

I will say this though. If you never read another self help text, but you follow these rules in your life, you will see a big difference in your results.

by Mark Eyre

9 Responses to "The hitchhikers guide to personal development by Mark Eyre"

1 | Tweets that mention The hitch hikers guide to personal development by Mark Eyre - Coaching Blog --

January 19th, 2011 at 3:55 am


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2 | Tweets that mention The hitch hikers guide to personal development by Mark Eyre - Coaching Blog --

January 19th, 2011 at 1:29 pm


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3 | Christine Ware

January 19th, 2011 at 2:00 pm


Hi Mark – loving your condensed version. Brings it right home and concentrates the mind!

4 | Toby Mildon

January 19th, 2011 at 6:12 pm


Mark, these 8 lessons are brilliant. It’s good to have them laid out.

5 | Karl Harvey

January 19th, 2011 at 8:16 pm


Awesome Mark…spot on :-) )

6 | Anthony

January 19th, 2011 at 10:41 pm


Thanks Mark. I believe that I have been guilty of # 1 in the past. At the beginning of 2011 it is a good time to change that ‘permanently’. In any case, it is a total waste of time to do so, as every minute wasted becomes a potential blot on your past. That’s no way to live!

Thanks for sharing.

7 | Susan Grandfield

January 20th, 2011 at 2:10 pm


I really enjoyed reading your article Mark. Like you, I am all about personal development and have read a lot on the subject, and what you have done here is condense all of the key messages into one place. So, thanks!

The one that I find most people struggle with is “acting on how they feel”. We are encouraged to make decisions based on fact rather than instinct and as a result we often stop listening to the inner voice which can have a powerful message to tell us.

8 | Ashish Kulkarni

January 24th, 2011 at 12:03 pm


Hi Mark,

I am guilty of not following on No.5. I don’t have enough quiet time.

Really good messages. I wish more people would follow what you have mentioned.

Best Regards,


9 | Marvin Barrett

January 24th, 2011 at 5:23 pm


Great post Mark,

I think also we could have had commit to ongoing learning and development in their as well as commitment is what makes it all work and fall into place.

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