Leveling Up

March 12th, 2009 by Steve Pavlina

When people fail to move forward in the direction of their dreams, a common excuse is “I don’t know how.” They claim that a lack of know-how is the key factor holding them back in life.

For example, people write to me all the time saying that they wish they could start a successful blog, but they just don’t know how. They act as if I was magically bestowed with some kind of insider blogger’s knowledge that isn’t equally accessible to them. The truth is that no one really knows how to do something new until they’ve done it. Imagine Wayne Gretzky saying, “I wish I could play hockey, but dammit — I just don’t know how.”

If you were to give those very same complainers a greater incentive to get moving, such as a million-dollar bribe for generating measurable results within 30 days, you’d find that their empty excuses and pointless whining are solidly blasted out of the water. Somehow the lack of knowledge is no longer a serious obstacle for them. (Yes, I’m being harsh on purpose. When such people are in front of me, I prefer to smack them, but in this case I’ll have to settle for a verbal smack.)

I’ve written about this topic before, but this time I’ll tackle it from a totally different angle. In the past I’ve pointed out that with sufficient motivation, you’ll simply go out and acquire whatever knowledge you need. All the raw how-to information you need is probably available online for free anyway. Either that or you can figure out what you need via trial and error if you just start taking action.

Instead of looking at the motivation side, let’s consider the excuse side. Claiming that you lack certain knowledge is an act of denying yourself permission to experience what you desire. It’s a way of blocking yourself from moving toward your goal.

The physical and mental act of acquiring knowledge is really a projection of a deeper event that occurs within your consciousness. That event is the act of giving yourself permission to progress to a new “vibration,” to shift away from your current experience of reality and to graduate to a new experiential level. When your consciousness experiences that internal shift, all the knowledge you need will practically show up at your doorstep. In many cases you don’t even require new knowledge, but if you think you need it, then you’ll experience a learning phase in your physical reality as you progress to the next level.

Why would you ever want to block yourself from going up a level? Why would you stay stuck for so long with feeble excuses like “I don’t know how” or “I don’t know what to do”?

The answer is that you aren’t ready to progress yet. You haven’t soaked up all the lessons from your current reality. Energetically speaking, you still need to experience and accept some of the energy patterns swirling about you.

To use a video game analogy, imagine your current reality as a level from Pac-Man. You can’t progress to the next level until you gobble up all the pellets on the current map. It’s not a matter of putting in a certain amount of time. If you try to wait it out, you’re just waiting for death. It’s a matter of completion. You can run around the map for quite a while, but if you don’t pick up that last pellet, you’re going to be stuck on that level until you die.

People who complain about not progressing are like Pac-Man players who complain that they can’t pass the current level. Maybe you’re complaining that you can’t figure out how to get those last few pellets. That’s usually because those pellets are on the other side of the ghosts (i.e. your fears). It may take you a long time to pass the level if you always run from the ghosts. Perhaps you need to swallow a power pill (i.e. grow a pair) and run straight at the ghosts of fear to pass the current level. Pac-Man isn’t a game for fraidy cats; nor is real life.

For many years I was stuck at the financial level of being broke. I was constantly struggling against debt, but you can’t pass a level by resisting it and hoping that you somehow get a mercy pass. You have to accept and work with the game board as it is. My solution was to turn toward the ghosts (my fear) and realize that I could still be happy even if I was broke. I learned to stop trying to make money with a scarcity mindset and to start expressing my creativity with an abundance mindset. In truth I had to pick up a lot of pellets (lessons) on the financially broke level, but once I got them all, I was able to progress to a new financial level rather quickly. Of course that new level had plenty of other interesting pellets/lessons to gobble up.

When you’re stuck at a certain level in your health, relationships, finances, career, spiritual growth, or personal habits, and you can’t seem to make any progress, take a moment to stop and look around. The universe knows you want to reach the next level. It’s not blocking you to frustrate you. You’re blocking yourself because deep down, you know you aren’t ready for the next level yet. You still have more lessons to acquire right where you are.

Is the point of playing Pac-Man to get to the next level as quickly as you can? Not really. The point is to have fun.

Is the point of life to immediately jump to a state of infinite health, wealth, relationship nirvana, and spiritual bliss? Of course not. The point is to enjoy the progression through various lessons that help you develop and expand your consciousness. When you pass each level, your reward is a new level with… you guessed it… more lessons. If you don’t learn to enjoy the lessons and the process of growth itself, you’re surely going to stagnate.

If you stop resisting where you are, you’ll find that life becomes a beautiful thing, regardless of what level you’re currently experiencing. You can anticipate the next level while still having immense fun right where you are.

If you want to level up, you have to acknowledge the ghosts on your level. They may seem like bullies, obstacles, or dangers, but in truth their purpose is to make you a better player and to provide you with an interesting experience.

Imagine playing Pac-Man with no ghosts. Every level would be the same. It would be incredibly boring. Nobody would play it. Similarly, no one would want to come to earth and partake in this human experience if there were no ghosts to face here. The ghosts make it interesting.

Confronting ghosts develops your consciousness. Ghosts help you discover new truths about yourself. They motivate you to get moving and pursue your goals. They make you stronger. When you face ghosts, you discover what kind of player you really are. That’s a priceless gift.

To pinpoint the ghosts on your current level, ask yourself, “What parts of my reality am I currently resisting, and why? What parts of my reality do I refuse to fully accept?”

When you’re about to go up a level in a video game, what kind of emotions do you feel? I usually feel a sense of excitement, fun, and gratitude. Don’t you basically feel the same way when you level-up in real life?

When you aren’t close to that level-up feeling, it means you aren’t ready to level up.

Leveling up occurs when you’ve completed the current level. This doesn’t mean you tie up every loose end in your life. It simply means that you’ve integrated the key lessons you needed to learn.

If you’re broke and wanting to experience financial abundance, have you learned the key lessons of being broke? Are you feeling immensely grateful for everything that financial scarcity has taught you? Or are you still running away from your ghosts?

If you’re single and wanting to experience a relationship, have you learned the lessons of being single at this time in your life? Do you feel happy and grateful when you’re alone because of all the beautiful gifts you’ve gained from it? Or are you railing against it, thereby preventing yourself from moving on?

If you’re struggling to figure out your life purpose and/or to choose a career direction, have you learned the lessons of being directionless? Do you feel grateful for the freedom and limitlessness of options you have right now? Or do you still resist your current experience of reality?

You can’t move forward in life by hating where you are.

Whenever you resist your reality, you deny your own creative power. You make yourself powerless to progress. You’re like a Pac-Man player that swears “I hate this game” and slams the joystick in anger. That isn’t going to help you level up.

When you’re ready to be grateful for your current experience of reality, warts and all, you’re ready to level up. Now you’re reclaiming your creative power, which is the very power you need to manifest the new level you desire. When you rail against the reality you’re experiencing, you simultaneously deny your power to create something new.

Resistance is powerlessness. Acceptance is power.

Imagine an artist surrounded by her paintings. Suppose she dislikes them so much that she denies creating them. Is that going to put her in a place to go and paint something better? Of course not. She’ll probably just sit around sulking.

Now imagine that same artist, feeling grateful for all the paintings she created. She acknowledges that she created them. This doesn’t mean she feels they’re her best work, but she appreciates each piece for what it taught her. Her early work may not be much to look at, but it’s still precious. The true gift she experienced from creating all that art was her progressive refinement as an artist.

Similarly, when you look at any part of your life with disdain, you deny that you’re the artist who created it. Maybe it’s your early work, and it’s not much to look at, but you can’t progress by denying that it’s yours.

What would be the market price for Picasso’s first crappy pre-school drawing today? Don’t deny the value of your own “suck period.”

When people do make progress — real progress — in some area of their lives, how do they look back on their past experiences? Usually they look back with gratitude, nostalgia, love, and appreciation. If they look back with resistance, they’re probably still repeating those same lessons in their lives today.

I don’t hate the years of my life when I was broke. I look back on those times with fondness. I smile when I remember how Erin and I squeezed three people and two businesses into a small apartment on a noisy street. It’s funny to remember that we once used a cardboard box as a piece of furniture. I was able to move on from that period of my life because I allowed myself to fully accept it. I now know how important it was for me to have those experiences. I’m very glad that I went through that period. It was a cool level to play through.

What about those times when I was arrested and stuck in jail? I feel grateful for those experiences too. I don’t look back and feel hatred towards anyone. But at the time, I resisted those experiences tremendously. That’s why I had to keep repeating them. I wasn’t ready for the next level. Eventually I learned to fully accept those experiences because of what they taught me. For starters, those experiences turned me on to the pursuit of personal growth.

Are there still parts of my life that I’m resisting today? Of course. We all have those blocks. When we’re ready to face them, we’ll do so.

Blocking yourself from reaching the next level isn’t the end of the world. It’s okay to be where you are and to stay there for a while — assuming that’s what you want to experience. For example, income-wise you may hold yourself at a certain level because you’re still soaking up the experience. Maybe you don’t want to boost your income because you’re quite happy with your current level. That’s absolutely fine.

When a block becomes a problem is when you feel stunted and trapped in your reality. You anxiously crave different experiences, and you’re bored or frustrated with the doldrums of your current level. That’s a signal that you need to turn toward those ghosts and face them head-on. It’s time to build your strength and move forward.

Long-term stuckness boils down to running from fear — fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection. We all run from these fears at times. We’re only human. Lots of stuff scares us. Even the best Pac-Man players spend a lot of time running from ghosts. Ghosts are scary.

But we’re also more than human. We’re creators. We have the power within us to dig deep and proclaim, “Enough of this. I’m summoning my power to create a new reality.” We can self-prescribe a power pill. But in order to summon this power, we MUST acknowledge and accept what we’ve already created.

Imagine the Biblical God visiting this planet and saying, “Adam and Eve? Heaven and Earth? Nope, wasn’t me!” That’s what we do when we resist some aspect of our current reality. A mountain of debt? A sucky relationship? No, wasn’t me! Yeah, right… as if the credit card charges just appeared out of thin air and the wedding ring was glued to your finger by a mischievous fairy. :)

Look around at your reality for a moment, take a deep breath, stick your chest out, and say, “Yup… that was ME!” Take credit for all that you’ve created, even if you don’t think you deserve it. When you claim credit for what you’ve already created, you simultaneously summon the power to create something new. Never deny what you’ve created. That would cause me to smack you. (I swear your cheek LoA’d my palm!)

Your best bet is to assume that you’ve created everything in your reality — and for good reason. With respect to everything in your reality that you currently resist, say to yourself, “Okay, let’s assume I did create this. Now why would I do something like that? What could this possibly do for me?”

Look for the hidden benefit, lesson, or message behind everything in your reality that bugs you.

In order to do this properly, you have to look beyond the physical. Look at how it affects your consciousness. What benefits might you be able to retain even after death?

Use the TLP framework from the book Personal Development for Smart People to help classify your experiences. How are these experiences bringing you into greater alignment with Truth, Love, and Power? What about Oneness, Authority, Courage, and Intelligence? The cool thing about these principles is that they’re rooted in consciousness, not in physical reality, so they can help you see the empowering lessons behind all of life’s challenges, regardless of the particulars. The nice thing about universal principles is that they can be applied to any situation.

Don’t think of yourself as a physical being. Think of yourself as a conscious being. You aren’t here to develop your physical life. You’re going to lose all of it when you die anyway. Everything you build here will eventually crumble. The human race itself will die off too. But consciousness is eternal.

Physical reality is a playground for the development of your consciousness. Your physical body, your bank account, your material possessions, your home and family — none of that stuff really matters in the long run. Eventually it will all be gone. If you get too attached to those things, I guarantee you a lot of frustration and emptiness down the road. You’ll get that slow sinking feeling that something isn’t right about your life. Instead, focus your primary attention in this life on the development of your consciousness. That’s why you’re here.

Work on your physical body because such a pursuit develops your consciousness. Build your discipline by challenging yourself to eat foods you know are healthy for you. Build your compassion by refusing to kill and torture animals for the sake of your taste buds. Build your courage and authority by eating the way you feel is right, regardless of what others think.

Work on your finances because such a pursuit develops your consciousness. Expand your creativity by creating value for others. Cultivate an abundance mindset by learning to let go of scarcity thinking. Build your focus and discipline by working hard. Experience freedom by creating passive income instead of living paycheck to paycheck.

Work on your relationships because such a pursuit develops your consciousness. Build your courage by learning to be open and honest about your feelings. Increase your alignment with oneness by getting to know lots of people and realizing that we’re all part of the same whole. Deal with difficult people to learn unconditional love.

Get the idea?

Learn to embrace the Truth. Learn to connect with what you Love. Learn to channel your creative Power fully. Your problems are there to help you progressively train up your alignment with these principles. The purpose of your physical life is to help you improve the TLP-alignment of your consciousness. That’s something you can take all the way to the grave and beyond.

You are here to shine, not to whine. :)



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