Eric (ChangoGrande ) turned me onto this blog by Steve Pavlina. I thought it might be of value to many here. I've edited it to make it a wee bit shorter, as it's even longer than what I copied here. Those items in parens are my doing, as are the bold emphases.
"...one thing I can tell you from all of this effort is that personal growth is very, very hard.... If you think you can read one book or article on (xxxxxx) and instantly erase (xxxxxx) disorder from your life forever, that’s an extremely unrealistic expectation. While a single book can potentially lead you to a big change, (i.e. the Allan Carr book) most won’t. When you experience a big change in your life, it’s probably the result of a long chain of events, of which reading a particular book was only a small but perhaps critical part.
Personal growth experiences often occur in the form of a quantum leap — a strong and radical shift from one mindset to another. There may be a number of small steps leading up to that leap, but at some point there is a big change, and it happens in an instant."
"You decide you’re done smoking, and you quit for life. These decisions can happen in a mere second – a moment of clarity suddenly hits you, and you know what you have to do. A quantum leap occurs, and from that moment on, you’re never the same again. Some of these leaps appear more gradual than others, but virtually all of them can be traced back to a moment of decision. At some point you made a decision to change. And even before you manifest this change in your physical reality, you immediately know you’re not the same anymore."
"It’s rare that reading a single book will produce a quantum leap. Quantum leaps require a large amount of consistent input and energy..... It may also occur after lots of time spent thinking positively about what life will be like after the shift. Both positive and negative factors can help generate a quantum leap.
Most of the time when people pursue personal growth, they simply don’t invest enough time and energy in a consistent direction to achieve a quantum leap. Maybe you’ve read a book on getting organized, and while you were reading it, the positive energy you experienced moved you closer to making a leap. You felt fairly certain at the time that this was going to work. But then you finished the book (or got sidetracked and didn’t finish it), and the impact of the book gradually faded. You never reached the quantum leap that allowed you to break through to a new level of order in your life. Over a period of days or weeks, your old pattern reasserted itself. Sound familiar?
But it wasn’t the book or the ideas themselves that failed you. The problem was that you didn’t invest enough sustained energy in the same direction to achieve the quantum leap. You never reached the point of no return. Reading a single book was only a small, short-term nudge, albeit in the right direction."
" In order for a rocket launched from earth to reach outer space, the rocket must exert a sufficient amount of sustained force to overcome the earth’s gravity. If the rocket’s engines cut out prematurely, the rocket will crash back to earth. Just as it can take a massive amount of sustained force to put a rocket into orbit, recognize that there are certain areas of your life where you may need a large force to knock you into a higher state. Small efforts over a long period of time may do absolutely nothing for you. "
"So what does work? How do you achieve a quantum leap? You need to exert some effort in a particular direction where you want to grow, and you need to consistently sustain it until you achieve a quantum leap. If you stop short, you’ll likely fall right back to where you started. So first of all, if you’re going to target a new quantum leap, you need to commit to sustaining that effort until you hit the leap.
"This is why I say personal growth is very hard. Effecting a quantum leap is tough work. It requires a strong force of sustained effort, and you can’t let up until you hit the leap. If you get sidetracked for too long, you have to start over again."
"But the bright side is that after you make the leap, you can rest for a bit. You’ve reached a higher state, and you’re going to stay there by default, just as a satellite in orbit will remain in orbit."
" Quitting smoking may be very difficult. But if you’ve been a nonsmoker for years, it doesn’t take nearly as much effort to remain a nonsmoker; you may need to make some adjustments along the way, but they’ll be minor compared to the initial energy required to quit."
"So how would you pursue such a goal as a quantum leaper?"
"Immerse yourself in your goal. Get clear on your exact goal, and write it down in your own words. Post your goal somewhere you’ll see it every day."
Educate yourself on what it will take to achieve your goal. And I mean really educate yourself to the point where you become an expert. Keep pouring knowledge into your head until you succeed — continuously. Don’t just read one book on the subject. Read 10. Then read 10 more. Then 10 more. Listen to audio programs. Talk to experts. Never let up on your self-education.
"Alter your environment to support the achievement of your goal."
"Consciously change the people you spend the most time with such that your goal is supported by those around you."
"One reason people fail to achieve a quantum leap is that they make only a meager effort in these four areas. They don’t get really clear about what they want and keep their goals in their face every day. They invest only a few hours in education instead of several hundred. They maintain an environment that fails to reinforce their new identity. And they continue to cling to people who hold them back. Year after year they remain stuck."
"Yes it’s a lot of hard work to achieve a quantum leap in any of these areas, but I think the alternative of stagnation is worse. You can pursue the quick fix methodology and fall flat on your face over and over. Or you can accept that the change you want is going to be hard and that it may take years to achieve, but it will be worth it. And best of all, once you’ve gone through a few quantum leaps, you may learn to enjoy the process of building up to the next one. It’s deeply satisfying to look back on your previous state of being and see how much you’ve grown."