A Master Plan for Development

“I want more from my life, to live up to my highest standards. I’d want to live and love fully, to be an example in my community, to inspire others and live out the life of my dreams. But it seems like there’s so much to do, where can I even start?”

I personally resonate with people who want to know what they can do to accelerate their development. I’ve been there myself and have come to find that the techniques and strategies are nearly endless. Since we’re all on unique journeys with different destinations, we all prefer to work on different aspects of our lives. With this in mind I have outlined an extensive skeleton of possibilities for upgrading our lives. For a more focused list of where to start, you may find 7 Practices for a Life of Thriving a helpful place to begin

The rabbit hole of development is endless. Remember: You can’t do it all at once so focus on a limited number of areas at any given time. Take the long-game approach, break down your goals into manageable sets, 2-3 at a time, and focus on the process. Refine these skills and integrate them into your regular routine, the results will be there. This guide presents essential points of awareness and recommended resources for the following topics:

I. Understanding the Big Picture – Overviews
II. Development of Mind/Psychology/Spirit
III. Development of Body and Skills
IV. Education and Career
V. Self and Other
VI. Self and Environment
VII. Tips and Tricks for Productivity
VIII. Advanced Life Practices for Developing Precision


I. Understanding the Big Picture – The Macro Lenses with Resources


  1. Study Objective Knowledge
    1. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
    2. 12 Essential Scientific Concepts – The Great Courses
    3. Cosmos – Carl Sagan or Neil DeGrass Tyson
    4. Crash Course: World History, Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy, Astronomy, and more
    5. The Fundamentals of Math -Kahn Academy
    6. A User’s Guide to the Brain – Dr. John J. Ratey
    7. Guns, Germs, and Steal – Jared Diamond
  1. Understand Subjectivity and Contemplative Knowledge
    1. A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking – The Great Courses
    2. The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell
    3. Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
    4. Mindfulness in Plain English – Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
    5. Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman
    6. No Boundaries – Ken Wilber
    7. Waking Up – Sam Harris
    8. What the Buddha Taught – Walpola Rahula
  1. Study Maps of Psychological Development:
    1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
    2. Piaget’s Developmental Theory
    3. Integral Theory w/ Spiral Dynamics – A Theory of Everything – Ken Wilber
    4. The 8 Branches of Yoga
    5. Subject Vs. Object – The Evolving Self – Dr. Robert Kegan
    6. Ego Development Theory – Dr. Susan Cook-Greuter
    7. Symbolic Significance of the Chakras in Regards to Psychological Development
  1. General Orientation for Precision, Success, and Development
    1. The Empathic Civilization & 21st Century Enlightenment (Short Videos)
    2. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
    3. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Carnegie
    4. Mastery – Robert Greene
    5. Mastery – George Leonard
    6. 6 Harsh Truths that will Make You a Better Person (Take it with a grain of salt, but understand that some people think like this.)
    7. Make it Stick – Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel

 II. Development of the Mind/Psychology/Spirit

  1. General Practices
    1. Awareness is the Key to Learning or Doing Anything
    2. Meditation
    3. Apply Mindfulness to Everything You Do – Join “The Game”
    4. Know That You Can Drastically Influence Your Own Intelligence, Skills, and Capabilities
    5. Set Priorities and Goals
    6. Study Genuine Masterpieces – Especially Books
    7. Be Curious
    8. Foster a Habit of Regular Informal Reflection Daily
    9. Formal Reflection via Writing – Keep a Journal
    10. Get Adequate Sleep
    11. Foster a Creative Habit – Drawing, Painting, Music, Poetry, Videos, Podcast, Websites, etc.
    12. Practice/Learn an Instrument or Music
    13. Find People and Things for which You are Grateful
  2. Essential Self-Awareness
    1. What is Ego? Have I identified my own?
    2. Can I describe my Worldview?
    3. Life Purpose – What is the Meaning of Life to Me?
    4. Confronting Resistance
    5. The Zone, Flow, & Peak States
    6. Creating Positive Feedback Loops
    7. Slowing/Stopping Negative Feedback Loops
    8. Limiting Beliefs vs Empowering Beliefs
    9. Learning Strategies – Make it Stick By Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel
    10. Personal Values – Demonstrated Through Actual Behaviors
    11. Emotional Hijacking & General Emotional Awareness- “Emotional Intelligence” By Daniel Goleman
    12. The 2 Systems of Information Processing – See “Thinking Fast and Slow”
    13. Ingroups vs. Outgroups
  3. Cognitive Tools for Overcoming Obstacles – Be a Problem Solver
    1. Cultivate Focus and Concentration
    2. Critical Thinking
    3. Strategic Thinking
    4. Creative Thinking
    5. Metacognition – Self-Awareness
    6. Reframing
    7. Perseverance
    8. An Optimistic Orientation
  4. Orientation for Growth and Success
    1. Process > Product
    2. Mastery as a Life Goal – Developing Precision
    3. Self-Identify as a Life-Long Learner
    4. Delayed Gratification > Instant Gratification
    5. Enjoy and Face-up to Challenges
    6. Have High Personal Standards
    7. Be Comfortable in Not Knowing
    8. Be Proactive
    9. Take Responsibility – Internal Locus of Control
    10. Find Intrinsic Motivations
  5.  Habits for Growth and Success
    1. Play the Long Game
    2. Prepare for the Future – Focus on the Present
    3. Learn to Love the Practice
    4. Set Clear Measurable Goals that Inspire You
    5. Take Massive Action Daily
    6. Persistence with Patience – Overcoming Failure
    7. Build Habits Mindfully – Dismantle Bad Habits
    8. Study the Lives of People You Admire
    9. Research How Others Have Achieved Goals Similar to Yours

III. Development of the Body and Skills

  1. General Positives
    1. Discover and Refine a Lifestyle that Resonates with You
    2. Exercise for 20-30+ Minutes 4-6 Days/Week
    3. Cover the Essentials of Exercise – Strength, Flexibility, and Endurance
    4. Eat a Rainbow Diet – Many Colorful Vegetables and Lean Protein
    5. Enjoy the Entire Process of a Healthy Lifestyle
    6. Enjoy the Feeling of Good Health
    7. Identify Energy and Time Wasting Activities – Reduce or Eliminate Them
    8. Take Pleasure in Growth Activities
    9. Make Time for Regular Sleep and Relaxation
    10. Develop a Morning Routine – What are Your Daily Rituals?
    11. Actively Address and Rehabilitate Injuries


  1. Strategies
    1. Identify Activities You Enjoy
    2. Use Exercise as a Practice in Mindfulness – Receive Maximum Gains
    3. Maintain Good Posture
    4. Track Progress in Endeavors of Interest – “That which gets measured gets monitored.”
    5. Give Yourself a Cheat Day – Take 1 Day a Week to Eat Whatever You Want to Reduce Cravings on Other Days
    6. Set Formal Challenges – Try a Gong
    7. Use Pre-established, Validated, Programs – Like “Convict Conditioning”
    8. Find a Supportive Partner or Group – Dojo, Yoga Studio, Crossfit
    9. Visualize the Benefits You Will Receive from Exercise and How They Will Make You Feel


  1. Reduce/Avoid
    1. Drugs and Alcohol
    2. Soda and Concentrated Juice
    3. Highly Processed Foods
    4. High Calorie Snacks
    5. White Flour Products
    6. Starchy Vegetables
    7. Refined Sugar and Simple Carbohydrates
    8. Low Quality Oils – No Trans Fats


**Resources: Diet, Exercise, and Lifestyle**

  • Nutrition
    1. Nutrition Made Clear – The Great Courses
    2. The Calorie Myth – Jonathan Bailor
    3. The Ultra Mind Solution – Dr. Mark Hyman
  • Exercise and Injury
    1. Convict Conditioning – Cheap, Practical, and Anyone Can Do
    2. Becoming a Supple Leopard – Kelly Starrett
  • Mind, Body, and Life
    1. Strength to Awaken – Robert McNamara
    2. Strength for Life – Shawn Phillips


IV. Education and Career

  1. Right Livelihood
  2. Find Something You are Passionate About
  3. Create Value for Others
  4. Seek Out Experience
  5. Actively Cultivate Skills and Knowledge
  6. Find Mentors
  7. Don’t be Afraid of Mistakes
  8. Believe in Yourself
  9. Doing What you Love isn’t the Same as Working


V. Self and Others

  • The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • The Platinum Rule: Treat others as they would like to be treated.


**Essential Reading: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie**


  1. General Social Skills
    1. Be Present
    2. Active Listening
    3. Practice Empathy
    4. Ask Questions
    5. Foster Loving-Compassion
    6. Value Your Time and Others Will Too
    7. Set Clear Boundaries with Toxic People (Energy Vampires)


  1. Intimate Partner
    1. Demonstrate/Communicate Sincere Appreciation Every Day
    2. Hugs – 8 Daily for Maximum Health Benefits (Oxytocin)
    3. Understand Your Partner’s Goals, Values, and Purpose
    4. Contribute to and Support Your Partner’s Success
    5. Regular Affectionate Non-Sexual Touching


  1. Growth Community
    1. Friends who Support Your Development and Goals
    2. Join Clubs or Social Groups that Practice Regularly or Discuss Topics of Your Interests
    3. Mentor/Teacher/Professional Instruction

 VI. Self and Environment

  1. Environmental Awareness – General Mindfulness of Waste
    1. Mindful Use of Resources – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    2. Limit Showers – 3-5 minutes running water
    3. Turn Off Unused Lights and Appliances
    4. Limit Driving When Possible
    5. Reduce Meat Consumption – Highly Effective Reduction of Water Usage


  1. Social Psychology – Person + Environment = Behavior
    1. The Fundamental Attribution Error
    2. Conformity
    3. Authority
    4. Locus of Control
    5. The Bystander Effect
    6. The Mere Exposure Effect
    7. Triggers
    8. Primers


  1. Aligning Intention and Environment
    1. Tools for the Task – Instruments, Art Supplies, Appropriate Gear, Notebooks, Computers, Cooking Supplies, Yoga Mat, Athletic Clothing
    2. A Work Space – Gym, Desk, or Office- Add Inspirational Imagery
    3. Resonating Symbols – Images of People or Ideas that Represent Your Goals, Values, Dreams
    4. Keep Books that Exemplify and represent Your Philosophy, Direction, Life Mission, and Objectives
    5. Pens and Notebooks

VII. Extra Tips, Tricks, and Tools For Productivity

  1. General
    1. Hold Yourself to Higher Standards than Others Could Ever Expect of You
    2. Make Mastery Part of Your Life-Long Process
    3. Just Do It – Do the Work; Get Better Every Day.
    4. Actively Seek to Expand Your Awareness
    5. Practice Perspective Taking
    6. Kindle Sincere Compassion for all Other People and Animals
    7. Approach Life with a Growth Mindset
    8. Learn from Mistakes – Both Your Own and Others’


  1. Learning Resources
    1. A Kindle/eReader
    2. Books
    3. Audible
    4. Journal – Reflective Writing, Track Progress
    5. Internet Resources – Kahn Academy, Crash Course, The Precision Principle
    6. Efficiency Programs – Evernote, Lift,
    7. Ted Talks


VIII. Advanced Life Practices

  1. Mindfully Program Your Values and Beliefs
  2. Eliminate or Reduce Addictions/Vices
  3. Regular Formal Reflection – Journaling, Meditation, Self-Reflection
  4. Seek Evaluative Feedback from others
  5. Shadow Work
  6. Visualization
  7. Commit to Challenges – Try a Gong
  8. Formal Mediation Retreat
  9. Seek Intensive Training
  10. Stretch Your Comfort Zone
  11. Make the Growth Choice
  12. Find a Coach/Mentor/Trainer

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