Bernard Lievegoed on personal development and biography

I paraphrase from his book “De levensloop van de mens” (1976), chapter “Personal development and biography” (p. 184 ff.)


Your biography is like a symphony of which you are the sole composer. Consciously or unconsciously, you are the designer of your own fate. Keep in mind that:

1. who looks for conscious personal development still has to follow the laws of each phase of development. You should not want to bloom before you’ve managed to grow enough leaves, and growing leaves is not a very spectacular activity.

2. who looks for inner growth is offered a `mer à boire’ of possibilities and pathways. He’ll have to choose, preferably based on insight and knowledge.


Is it just me, or does this echo of Stoicism? Think e.g. about how the Stoics advocated complete inner freedom and how your inner attitude determines your happiness in life. No matter how desperate your situation may be, and how little you can influence your external circumstances, if you look inside yourself you’ll find you have many, many attitudes available to you, a myriad of perspectives from which to consider and value what happens to you. The trick is to choose your perspective wisely to as to remain tranquil and happy, i.e. in harmony with nature.


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