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You can get a very clear view of yourself through the helpful feedback of those who are close to you. Therefore, the hopes and vision you cherish for the growth of your authentic personality will be worked over and refined in the conscious and nonconscious interchange with your partner and theirs with you. But that vision must always be on your own terms, not theirs. 

Your vision must be your own. It should represent some direct and measureable improvement in yourself—responding to your needs, desires, dissatisfaction, questioning, or issues arising from self-acceptance. This sought after improvement must be in some sense your own. If it is an image of the gains of someone else then it is unlikely to be a strong action motivator.

If you doubted the power of mind imagery to change your physical state take a look at this report in Scientific American Mind (May 2012). Amputees who experience phantom limb pain can get relief from an optical illusion. This trick involves looking in a mirror at the reflection of a healthy limb from a certain angle, which causes it to appear where the missing limb should be. Seeing the limb move freely fools the brain into relieving the pain. 

Thinking of something else is a time-honored method for coping with pain. Indeed, psychologists have demonstrated repeatedly that what you think about can modulate the pain you experience. People using binoculars to view an injured hand reported greater pain in the hand when it was magnified and less when the binoculars were reversed and the hand was minimized. The size of the image affected the pain.

Until now scientists did not know how exactly that effect plays out in the body. In a study published in Current Biology, neuroscientists have found that distraction does more than merely divert your mind; it actually sends signals that bar pain from reaching the central nervous system. 

If we can control pain just by thinking differently then imagine what effective mental imaging can have in all areas of your life. The idea of visioning achieving your goals has been around for a long time but rarely has hard science been so precise in backing up these ideas.   

Purposive action is the daily expression of authenticity - action is part of what you are. You are always doing something: exploring, sorting, listening, talking, eating, looking, and playing. Your innate disposition is towards activity.  

Self-direction is the essence of purposive action. You may now be more aware of yourself, have accepted your past, understand your needs and desires, be clear about your vision and values, and yet find yourself much the same as you always have been. Movement may be what’s missing. Literally speaking purposive action is the act of propulsion. No vision, great deeds or notable achievements occur without action.

Read more in the free online version of my book at Chapter 12… which outlines the 3rd Pillar of the Freedom Code: Purposive Action.  Great emphasis is attached there on the practicalities of realizing your vision and plan through a detailed and comprehensive process of goal decisions, strategies, and implementation techniques. The Pillar outlines the essential ingredients of Personal Excellence, and explores the meaning of success and failure.
There is an authentic self—an ideal you—inside you waiting to be revealed and those who are close to you and who care about you are well placed to help you realise it. Therefore the exploration of the ideal you is not a solitary act or wholly within your own control. Environmental and interpersonal forces help with the sculpting process. Parents, friends, teachers, and colleagues all play a part. Role models are also a vibrant source of aspirational fuel. But few sculptors are likely to exert as powerful an influence on you as those of your close partners in life – and you can do the same for them. 
The roots of authentic meaning and purpose in your life—what it means for you to achieve your highest potential—are to be found in the deep recesses of your mind and spirit. These roots feed the vine of your life. Like any vine it needs nourishment to flourish. What water and sunlight are to the vine, action and satisfaction are to the authentic life. Your inner spark of authentic meaning is nurtured and shaped by the ebb and flow of the stream of your experience, emotions and relationships and by the sense of accomplishment you obtain from the activities you pursue.
Grow where you are planted! Staying in the real world is crucial to the process of creating the authentic life you desire. Michael Foley in The Age of Absurdity reminds us that our yearning for authenticity is not found only in novelty – a new place, a new lover, a new job. “More effective is to see the familiar with new eyes…to smash the crust of habit and see life anew.” Foley exhorts us to “begin a new job in your current post, enjoy a holiday where you actually live, and most thrillingly, plunge into a tumultuous affair with your own spouse.”

If you are stressed out, lacking direction, unable to discern any meaning and finding it hard even to focus on the possibility of an ‘authentic  you’ then start by establishing some stability—a stable self that you can rely upon. This may be as simple as setting up a daily routine and trying hard to stick to it. It may mean looking at your job and seeing if it is satisfying and making some plans to upskill or reskill so you at least have the chance to make a change. It might certainly mean being present with and for those you are close to, perhaps even live with. Seek help. Look for mentors, counsellors, pastors that can give you support, encouragement and reflect the real you that you are unable to be – just now.

How hard is it to stay authentic – to be true to your dreams – when you move from High School to College? Where does the urge to change the world disappear to? Read this deep, human and engaging story from a young writer on how to stay authentic in a changing world... What happened to changing the world?


How young do you need to be to start living authentically? It sounds like a stupid question. Surely you should be living authentically all your life. Well that depends on whether you are allowed to or not. The case of the 16 year old Dutch girl Laura Dekker highlights this issue. Ever since she was a toddler she wanted to sail alone around the world. This was no pipe dream. Laura was born on a yacht during her parents seven year round the world voyage before their divorce. She was more comfortable on a boat than on dry land so her dream was grounded in practical reality.
When she was 13 she took her fathers yacht and sailed it single handed from Holland to England encountering bad weather but arriving safely. Her reward was to be arrested by the British police. When she announced that she would sail around the world on her own the Dutch authorities made her a ward of the State and forbade her to sail. Her mother was vehemently against the plan but her father, at first reluctant, eventually supported her. With the help of a friendly lawyer they beat the Dutch authorities and Laura completed her 518 day solo voyage sound the world (the youngest person ever at 16) when she landed at the Caribbean island of St Maarten in January 2012.
This remarkable story told in The Sunday Times highlights the courage and tenacity required in Being You – becoming and remaining truly authentic. Laura’s journey told with elegant simplicity on her blog is summed up in her own words: “I did it just for myself.”
Her experience neatly follows the structure of the 7 Pillars of the Freedom Code – the implementation path of Adaptive Freedom. Laura was acutely attentive and aware of her needs and what she wanted to achieve (1. Perceptive Awareness). This included conscious attention while on board. She wrote: “In tricky moments, such as stormy weather, I just focus on what needs to be done to control the situation, step by step.”
She was clearly aligned in mind and body with the elemental forces that contrived to bring her dream to reality (2. Alignment with Universal Energy). To fulfil your potential requires more than just dreaming: it must be backed up with concrete plans, detailed preparation and action (3. Pursue Purposive Action).
Though alone she remained in constant contact with her family, friends and supporters, and felt deeply connected to them despite the distance. She was also intimately connected with the sun, wind and sea and all the creatures around her – not to mention her closest companion, her boat ‘Guppy’ (4. Connect and Communicate).
Laura has a strong acceptance of her self, her life and her moment in that life. However, she has not so far been able to accept the way she was treated by Dutch officialdom though she has been reconciled again with her mother (5. Acceptance). To be a solo circumnavigator on a small yacht requires a ready willingness to adapt to change at every opportunity (6. Adaptability) and her blog is full of the delight she found in every day at sea—even doing her school work (7. Animation and Appreciation). She wrote “I look back with joy at the adventures of the past year.
Read Laura’s Blog
One of the best, oldest and still most popular self-help book is Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.” It has a mainline focus on the power of intention and has helped millions transform their lives. But it may also be the most misunderstood book in the self-help genre – because thinking alone won't deliver the life you desire. Hill made this clear by pointing out the “desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, and planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.” A positive mental attitude is essential but is has to be backed up by action – which is the essence of the 3rd Pillar of the Freedom Code – Pursue Purposive Action.

The philosophy of Adaptive Freedom highlights seven Qualities of Authenticity. The third is Commitment:
Staying true to your vision, goals and commitments is an essential ingredient of authenticity. And this includes your everyday commitments as well as those that are core to your identity. It also means that you are responsible for the consequences of your actions. Self-direction and consistent action are therefore the essence of commitment. You exercise self-discipline over what you do and you develop an understanding of the balance between successful goal achievement and what failure really means. Perseverance is the mark of commitment—the habit of staying on track which gives momentum to life’s projects. Standing up for your values is also part of your commitment to authenticity and freedom.
Each of the 7 Qualities of Authenticity is linked to one of the 7 Pillars of the Freedom Code. Commitment is linked to the 3rd Pillar: Pursue Purposive Action.

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