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Personal Development: Addition or Subtraction?

Self improvement--personal development--getting better at what we do--living our lives in more rewarding fashion.

Is the process that governs these things one of addition or subtraction? Which is more predominant? Why?

Opinions? - by Gary Boye
Whew! You do ask thought-provoking questions, Gary!;)

I can only speak from personal experience, and that is that subtraction dominates. Personal development for me has been about letting go of old beliefs and habits. Of course you then need to add new beliefs and habits (usually) -- but the real work is in the letting go.

What has your experience been, Gary? - by Terri Zwierzynski
...but the real work is in the letting go.
I look upon it as a subtraction process. Belief and habits I don't put in the same basket. What I mean is that I don't automatically connect them. There probably is a connection.

A lot of people have self-limiting beliefs and never become aware of them throughout the course of their lives. To some extent, I think we all do. So we filter things through our existing beliefs and often reject new ideas because they are not consistent with what we're holding onto.

Bad habits can hurt us. I think the best method of freeing oneself of a bad habit is to make a decision to become a non-suchandsuch--non-smoker, non-this, non-that. Believe it or not, I think "addictions" can sometimes be conquered that way.

The bottom line is that I believe most of us have things in our lives that we can do without and we would make strides forward by removing them. Some of them we might think of as neutral--neither good or bad. In my opinion, those are the exact things we should take a much harder look at. - by Gary Boye
What has been your experience, Gary?
Sorry, Terri. It occurred to me that I didn't really answer your question. My own experience is consistent with what you and I appear to agree on concerning "subtraction". I also find that to be the most difficult challenge. When I have done that, it has often been rewarding. Sometimes for people like me, the relentless quest for learning is an avoidance of behavioral housecleaning.

I discovered many years ago that a person's greatest strength is always his/her greatest weakness. When I realized that, I became aware of the idea that all of us are really in the same boat. It provided me with more of a willingness to express my thoughts and not worry too much about what others think. If their thoughts were negative, and they acted on those thoughts in an attempt to hurt me, then I would react. That, by the way, came from "giving up" the idea that it really mattered much about what goes on in another's mind unless there really exists a relationship or pending relationship. People have their own problems--fight their own demons--have their own virtues. In the long run, only very few in our lives really care about our welfare. I'm fortunate to have that part in place and to reciprocate with the same feelings towards them. So that is a big example from my life of the subtraction process in action because it has influence how I relate to the world. It works for me in an area that once did not work for me.

Probably more of an answer than you wanted, Terri. - by Gary Boye
All the above.

Both + and - also it's how we define the + and - and the elimination or understanding of duality or polarizations in minus and plus.

Accentuate the positive
eliminate the negative
hang on to the affirmative
and don't mess with Mr. InBetween.

A lot has to do with proper and consistent elimination as well as adding the right materials for growth daily. - by MitchM
I agree with everything you've said, Gary -- and I'd like to add one more layer.

Belief and habits I don't put in the same basket. What I mean is that I don't automatically connect them. There probably is a connection.
Beliefs and habits are indeed not the same thing. Beliefs (plus experiences) form our habits. In order to change the habits, you have to change the underlying beliefs. You may desire to change your habits -- but your beliefs are 10,000 times more powerful than your desires.

Example -- I may want to lost 50 pounds (desire). But my underlying belief is that food makes me feel good. Until I change that belief (perh