We need to get some pleasure out of life for it to be meaningful and worthwhile. Yet pleasure alone is not the answer. We need Understanding - we need to know what things mean, and how to do things (skills), yet this does not seem sufficient, because these alone do not produce the whole life some of us wish to live.

Have you ever heard of great artists who are nonetheless poor? Great inventors who are not recognised? Authors, whose books are not published, although when they are published they become best sellers? Is it not possible that this is true in the spiritual quest too where a great guru is nonetheless unknown, while quacks and charlatans abound in fame and fortune? Isn't the unrecognised genius almost a cliché?

By effectiveness we mean this thing which makes success. We are not saying, however, that every able person wishes or should be successful in the worldly sense, but the knowledge and ability to be effective in whatever way is desired seems to be part of the personal development quest. It does the world no favours to be deprived of the wisdom and skill of those who remain unknown because they lack effectiveness. If you can think of the great people who struggled so hard to become 'famous', doesn't it seem likely that many lived their lives in obscurity and their work which would be of great value to us lies untouched in some remote libraries, or even turned to dust? Does the lost wisdom of the ages ring any bells?

Perhaps the most striking part of effectiveness is the skills of dealing and influencing others. It has been suggested that the first caveman or woman who invented the flint axe had to use it to threaten others into adopting the technology, otherwise they would have continued to work and defend themselves with their hands! This is an extreme example, but it seems that human progress is made by influencing others. Left to their own devices they would continue in their own primitive ways.

This does not mean that the most effective people are right! This is part of understanding and they might not be developed in this skill. But the truth is that Effectiveness wins over understanding and wisdom. This means, I believe, that we must all learn to be effective, even if the only reason is to resist certain types of persuasion!

Continue to the three parts



Personal Development