Is Your Life Messing With Your Mind?

Is Your Life Messing with your life

Picture of Gary M Jordan Co-author of Unlock the Power of Your Perception and Your Talent AdvantageThe late Jim Rohn was once asked by a group of psychiatrists what single thing he thought most messed with the mind. His answer was “not becoming all that you can be”.

I would add to his answer that to become all that you can be, to truly pursue the realization of your full potential requires you to build your life on natural rather than acquired skills.

Perceptual Style Theory states that everyone is born with innate potential for a unique set of capacities, skills, and abilities that is defined by their Perceptual Style.

Unfortunately, very often, this potential is left undeveloped as people seek to build their lives and especially their careers on capacities and skills that are outside their innate potentials. These “acquired capacities” represent skills and abilities that are foreign to an individual’s inherent nature.

A recent Gallup poll put the percentage of people who don’t like their work at a stunning 85%.

What is going on that so many are not happy with what they do? In addition to performance feedback that focuses on what is missing rather than what is there, people don’t usually perceive their unique gifts and talents as anything special.

They don’t see their natural skills as marketable, and they build careers and choose jobs built on acquired skills that cannot provide long-term or deep meaning and satisfaction.

The issue extends beyond the workplace into a fundamental challenge of recognizing and valuing one's unique gifts and talents. One paradox of being human is the difficulty we have appreciating the value of things we do effortlessly and proficiently.

Because our natural skills are more easily developed and more fundamentally satisfying than acquired skills, we have a tendency to take them for granted. We figure that if they are easy for us to do, then they can’t be worth much, and we dismiss them with a flippant “Oh, I’ve always been able to do that, it’s no big deal.”

This attitude and response should alert us to the presence of one of our natural skills, something that is distinctively ours, something that reflects our unique potential. Instead, we push it aside in our pursuit of acquired skills. It is exactly this attitude that messes with the mind and prevents us from becoming all we can.

Developing acquired skills limits us by stealing time from our use of natural skills. Even if you get good at and gain satisfaction from what you accomplish using them, they always require more effort to develop.

As you focus on acquired skills, your natural skills will atrophy from lack of use. The final irony is that no matter how good you get at using an acquired skill, you will never have the depth, breadth, and grace with it that you have with a natural skill.

Satisfaction with acquired skills often comes from the pride of something difficult confronted and accomplished. Satisfaction with natural skills comes from the joy of doing itself, from being immersed in the process of its expression.

Our natural skills have a life that comes through us, not from us. When you open yourself to developing a natural skill, it frequently takes on a life of its own, growing and evolving in unexpected but rewarding ways.

Acquired skills are usually developed for a specific situation or context. We learn them to respond to necessity and demand, and they often don’t evolve or adapt to changing circumstances.

A life built on acquired skills will mess with your mind. It will keep you exhausted physically, psychologically, and emotionally while at the same time confusing you about why.

It will prevent you from becoming all that you can, and it will keep you from the richness of your natural potential while feeding you just enough to keep you frustrated.

Don’t let your mind be messed with! Discover, develop, and use your natural strengths to build a life and career of meaning and fulfillment.

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About Dr. Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D.

Gary Jordan, Ph.D., has over 35 years of experience in clinical psychology, behavioral assessment, individual development, and coaching. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology – Berkeley.  He is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary psychological assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their deepest potentials for success. He’s a partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., a consulting firm that specializes in helping people discover their true skills and talents.  For more information, visit

For additional information on Dr. Gary Jordan, please click here

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