Island Theory – revisited

In May 2008 I published my essay “Island Theory. You can still download it on my website forpersonal development and coaching – cb consulting.

Over the last few months I was wondering how far this theory still holds up and whether it is in need for a re-vamp. I thought I try to summarise what I think the theory says.

1. We go from island to island and the more islands we have conquered, the more experience we have, the more tools we have, the easier the step from one island to another.
2. Islands can be parts of life, part of a year, part of a project or just the whole life.
3. Eventually you get to an island and you settle there. And, you can build upon your experience and build a nice big home.
4. You settle on an island and build bridges to other islands. You get people to connect to you.

So, based on this short essay and the major 4 points I would like to challenge the idea a bit. Lets say you have achieved a home, a house, the dream job and network of friends and family that connect to you. You are nesting and settling down. What would the next step be, and how likely are you to go back to the “unknown” waters and trying to find another island with a bigger nest, nicer friends etc….

The hunt for bigger, better, more expensive, more flash, more money and other materialistic values is a rat race we enter the moment we aim for a career. However, can modify this need and motivation and use it inwards!

What if we settle for “any” island and decide to be happy in this stage. We love our nest, our friends, our family and are happy with the shelter the island gives us from this evil water. And, if we don’t want to progress and find another island, we are happy to stay where we are.

I believe that is where the personal development thought from my Buddhist friend comes in. The idea of developing ourselves inside us. The personal development and focus on the inside of ourselves. What energy is left? What is deep inside us? How can we be sure that if we go somewhere else that it will be better? By focusing within us we don’t change our outer circumstance.

Volker is still Volker and still earns his money and still has his friends and drives his car etc. But, inside me, I can start changing myself. Using various coaching techniques, meditation, questioning and self development tools, I can change the Volker inside. I could make him stronger, more peaceful, more patient, more of an adult, more intellectual, more fun, more of anything I want to achieve. I could get him to stop smoking (I don’t smoke btw.), stop drinking, start meditating etc. – I decide what I do with myself. You decide what you want.

Now, strengthen yourself from within helps you to develop yourself. Now, using this inside to strengthen your outside: the nest, the bridges, the relationships – that is when the island theory becomes more interesting.

A year after the writing the theory I believe that at the early stage of personal development you are seeking new and exciting places. This is until you get to the place in your life – physical/non-physical – that allows you to settle down and focus more or solely on yourself, your inner person.

And, you should use all your energy to strengthen your inner self as one day you will eventually move beyond this island again. You might take your nest, most of your friends (particularly if you have now a stronger relationship with them) and move to a better island. One that might just fulfil a little bit more of your purposes, your luxury or your change of circumstances. Maybe an island you could not afford to live on a few years back. Or the one you used to live on a few years back to which you want to return. But this time it is not the tools that decide where you go but your inner self, your decision making progress. Because you have the tools, you only have to decide where to go.

So enjoy your peace and your situation you are in. Enjoy being with your friends and enjoy the shared love. And from there, make sure you work on yourself. Don’t rush, be patient. You will never be able to plan where you are going to go and when. But if the time is right, you are going to go and you want to be ready. It might not be far but it will be the place where you always wanted to be.

I hope this philosophical journey was helpful and made you think. Because most of what you need is already there. Inside you. Go and find it!

Have a great bank holiday weekend.

Love and Kindness,
Volker