Why Personal Development Doesn’t Make Sense (4 Levels of Consciousness)

Why Personal Development Doesn’t Make Sense (4 Levels of Consciousness)

You know the feeling. When you read another personal development book, and it contradicts what the last one you read says. Maybe Eckhart Tolle told you to “accept reality as it is,” but most other books are telling you to change yourself!

There is a reason for this. It has to do with who the author is targeting. And it all boils down the the 4 Levels of Consciousness (credit to Peter Sage for this model!).

Allow me to explain:

There are basically 4 Levels of Consciousness:

  1. “To me”
  2. “By me”
  3. “Through me”
  4. “As me”

“To me” is the victim mentality.  The “to me” person lives life at effect and not cause. We all know the problems that come with this type of mentality. Most of self-help teaches people how to get out of this level.

To get out of “to me,” you need to get rid of blame and replace it with personal responsibility. Pretty straightforward.

“By me” is the doing mentality. The “by me” person is in GO mode all the time! He’s the achiever who gets shit done. It’s a hell of a lot better than “to me,” but constantly swimming upstream is exhausting and neurotic.

To get out of “by me,” you must give up the need for control and learn to embrace the uncertainty of life. Replace your death grip on life with faith. Faith can compel you forward in the absence of references or in the presence of limiting beliefs. The power of faith is easily underestimate.

This is where “through me” comes in. We all have moments of this. It’s when life is going so well for you, and the doors in life seem to swing wide open in front of you, even before you put your hand on the handle. “Through me” is an effortless flow state where you feel like the universe is acting through you.

The problem with faith is that it is the flip side to doubt. That is to say, if your level of doubt is higher than faith, you’ll be stuck. And that can change in an instant. One disbelieving remark from a friend about your exotic life plans can send your faith plummeting and your doubts rising.

You can move past faith in this stage as well, and adopt the principle of knowing. If you know, if you’re absolutely certain in your own mind that you will reach your goals and that the universe will help you get there, you’ll be in a much more powerful position. Very few people ever reach a place of knowing.

The final stage is “as me.” This is a feeling of oneness and total connectedness with the world. I am you and you are me. Quantum physics is proving this phenomena by showing that all atoms are connected to every other atom (note: quantum physicists are mostly not at “as me”). This is the most advanced stage of personal development there is. All the spiritual masters of the ages have taught from “as me.” Even fewer people reach this stage.

To get to “as me,” the illusion of separateness must be replaced with a feeling of unconditional love. The process can be long and arduous, and it’s a more delicate subject and process than I’m going to get into here.

A few points:

You can only hear from the level you’re at. So if someone in “as me” speaks to someone of the other stages, they will all understand different things. This is why organized religion has misinterpreted all the ancient spiritual teachings.

Also, we can all have moments of “to me,” “by me,” “through me” or “as me.” It is more about where you spend most of your time rather than a set state.

The 4 Levels of Consciousness is a journey. You can’t just skip from “to me” to “through me.”

So… back to the point of this article:

Self-help books are designed to get you out of one stage and into the next.

The problem is that they don’t know which stage you’re at.

This is basically why self-help can seem confusing. It all depends on the level you’re at.

Once you understand this, personal development becomes MUCH less frustrating. I can attest to that. 🙂

I will be using this model to categorize the books I review. This will make it much clearer as to what level of personal development these books are at. These categories are:

  • money
  • handling people
  • relationships / communication
  • health
  • spirituality
  • Stages: getting to “by me,” “through me,” “as me”











Why Reading Personal Development Books is BAD

Why Reading Personal Development Books is BAD!


Wait a minute! Isn’t that what this blog is all about? Personal development books?

Yes, yes, it is, my perceptive reader!

But in this post, I’m going to explain why reading ONLY self-help books will damage your life.

See, I’m sure we’ve all had that stage when getting started in personal development where you devoured book after book on the subject.

Don’t worry, I was there too.


And there’s nothing wrong with reading self-help books.

Let me repeat that.

There’s NOTHING WRONG with reading self-help books.

In fact, it’s great if you are.

But if that’s all you’re reading, I have some news for you: you’re turning into a pretty dull person.

Self-help is a small part of our world. It should be an important part, and more people should do it, but if ALL you’re reading is focused on that, then you’ll have a very limited view of what our world has to offer.

My advice is to learn about other topics: science, religion, spirituality, economics, anthropology, plays, poetry, music, fitness, languages, biographies, history, technology!

Hell, take a cooking class if you want!

The point is this: you must be generalized in life, and have a wide breadth of knowledge about our world and its people. Broaden your bookshelf.

And I’ll tell you, your appreciation of these subjects greatly increases once you start doing personal development. You start to really see the beauty of life in ways that were blocked by your obsessive self-help reading.

I’ve started doing this on my own, and it has felt like such a breather to read something other than self-help.

Not only should you read things that are coherent with your beliefs, but you should also expose yourself to new people with different beliefs and different points of view. For example, if you’re a Democrat, read some Adam Smith or Milton Freidman. If you’re a scientific-minded person, read the Bible or some Ancient philosophy. Do you like numbers? How about some Victor Hugo?

Also, it’s not like you won’t get anything from these books. On the contrary, your view of the world will expand. You might be able to learn from other peoples’ errors. And you might find a new passion!

If there’s one thing you should take away from this post, it is this:

DO NOT stop reading personal development books. Simply start reading about other topics. Your life and view of the world will become so much more rich and meaningful.







Essays, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Essays, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stage: getting to “through me”

No, this isn’t your usual personal development book! You probably don’t think of Ralph Waldo Emerson as a self-help guru. 

But I think Ralph Waldo Emerson has a lot of wisdom to offer those who read his works.

For those who don’t know, Emerson was a writer in the middle of the 19th century. He is often cited as being part of the Transcendentalist movement. 

His essays are full of gold nuggets for personal development. He wrote essays on different topics such as self-reliance, friendship, heroism, character, and spirituality to name a few. 

Emerson offers some truly timeless advice. My favorite quote from him is “Do the thing and you will have the power.” This can be applied to anything you want to do. One of the examples he gives is “Love and you shall be loved,” but this could just as easily transfer to the realm of fitness, of work, or any number of things.

Do the thing and you will have the power. 

Do whatever it is that you’re afraid to do, and you will have that power. 

If you are afraid you can’t lift that weight, do it anyway. You can only grow.

If you’re afraid to ask that cute girl out, do it. You will have gained that power. 

Another nugget in his writing is the quote “Permanence is a word of degree.” And he’s right. 

Nothing is permanent.

This is an important fact to come to terms with for personal growth. Everything, from your relationships to your position at work, and eventually to your body and health, is temporary. If you want to grow, you must embrace this as a part of life. This way you’ll be able to handle change and loss much more easily.

I encourage you to take a look at everything in your life, or just in your surroundings, and ponder the fact that NONE of it will be around forever. Try to come to terms with this. 

One of the things I like about Emerson’s writing is that he bases a lot of his ideas on nature, and sees nature as the highest power. I feel, at least at this stage of my development, that this is very true. We are objects of nature, not apart from it. Everything we do is governed by the laws of nature. For example the law of polarity (always 2 sides to everything), or of impermanence. 

A few things to watch out for, though, while reading Emerson. He writes like they did 150 years ago. That is to say, very eloquently. Which can be quite beautiful, but can be hard to understand at times. He also says “man” a lot, but if you want you can replace it with “person.”

All in all, I found this read to be quite useful and refreshing. 
Favorite quote:

“Each man is a channel through which Heaven floweth.”

The Verdict:

Emerson isn’t a personal development guru per se, but a lot of his principles can be applied to life in general, and lay the groundwork for many personal development ideas.









Why People Don’t Do Personal Development


Why People Don’t Do Personal Development

That’s right, I’m talking to you.

If you’ve been doing personal development, you might have noticed that not many people actively do it. You have found it to be very beneficial, and don’t understand why everyone isn’t doing it, or why it isn’t more widespread.

I want to start off with distilling down the meaning personal development to a simple phrase: It is the process of discovering how your mind works, understanding the elephant, not the rider.

So why don’t more people partake in this journey? Seems like it might be important, right?

I have found two main reasons people don’t do personal development:

The first is that people just assume they already have their mind figured out. They think there is nothing more to do because they already know how their mind works.

The reality is that they have no idea how it works.

Imagine this: when you were born, you were like a machine without an instruction manual. So in order to survive, you wrote the manual yourself, based on help from other people (who probably didn’t know how the machine works) and your own experience, which, when done by a 2-year old, can be faulty.

Personal development is understanding the inner workings of the machine and rewriting the instruction manual.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re doing all right.

The second reason, if they admit they don’t know how the machine works, is fear.

Let me explain.

In order to understand the machine, you have to look inside. There is no other way. No one else can do it for you.

And it can be a scary and painful experience. You don’t want to learn that you are needy, and that your neediness comes from a lack of love. You don’t want to understand that you are 100% responsible for your life and your happiness because you fear that responsibility. You don’t want to revisit a past experience or emotion that is now shaping your thoughts.

But you have to. It is the only way to liberation in every sense of the word.

Covering up who you are, or what the inside of the machine looks like, will only lead to disaster and misery. There is no way around it.

Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is hell.


Those are my two reasons as to why people don’t do personal development. I hope this was useful to some of you, and maybe even inspired non-self development types to start.

Do start. It will transform your life.

Be open to the idea that you don’t know how your mind works, and be willing to look inside.

Keep growing-