The Scales Of Personal Development


Copyright 2017 Paul Edgewater/All Rights Reserved

Think of every song you’ve ever heard. Think of all the songs you’ve loved during your life (also the ones you didn’t like). Think of all the styles of music to which you’ve ever been exposed. Now think of music from a historical perspective and how many pieces of music have been written since the first melodies were accidentally hummed by one of our primitive ancestors. Now think of music as we move into the future. We know that creative artists and musicians will continue their unbroken streak of writing new material until the end of time. Now think about this. All this music, from the beginning of–and to the end of–time, is all based on just seven main notes.

I’m going to assume many musicians are reading this and are thinking about all the 1/2 steps (sharps and flats, etc.). Some will think that this is only true in Western music, as some other cultures have their octaves divided into 12 notes, such as with Indian music. Or that even with Western music, if we look at a chromatic scale, we are looking at 12 notes. Fair enough. But all music is based on octaves, and however we break that up, each octave represents a new plateau, nuance, and they all contain the notes “C, D, E, F, G, A & B.”

Why the big musical set up about personal development? Good question. As we find in the good book, Ecclesiastes 1:4-11, “There is nothing new under the sun.” All musical notes have already been invented; they all exist and can and will only change in their permutation. Ditto with all the philosophies on personal development. It’s all been figured out before. It’s all been communicated before. It’s all been written before. It’s all been shared before. They all already exist and can and will only change in the permutation. Success and failure are straightforward and very old concepts.

When some “new” personal development guru comes along, they are simply a new messenger reaching a new audience with a new permutation; they are saying nothing new.

A lot of personal development uses acronyms and abbreviations to help us remember the message. Acronyms like: “L.I.F.E. Live It Fully Everyday” and abbreviations like: “T.C.O.B. Taking Care Of Business, or like Elvis put it, “T.C.B.” I’m going to throw a ‘new’ abbreviation into the mix, and it’s based on the notes of a scale in western music.


“C” stands for “COMMITMENT.” If we aren’t committed to our objectives, we are only fooling ourselves. Success is hard enough when done correctly. It’s almost impossible when done incorrectly, and one of the biggest mistakes we can make is to have ‘an out’ or a ‘backup plan.’ This is anathema to commitment. By having a backup plan, it tells us we’re not committed to our objectives. Think about marriage; if we have ‘an out’ or a ‘backup plan,’ it can only mean we are not in it to win it. The relationship is but a whim. Our goals and objectives are worthy of the same commitment we give to our ‘committed relationships,’ or we will fail at all of the above. Julius Caesar said, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats.” In other words, eliminate the backup plan.

“D” stands for “DECISION.” Tony Robbins reminds us that it is in our moments of decision that we manifest our destiny. Truth. The Latin root of the word “decision” literally means “to cut off.” In modern usage, when we decide something, we are cutting ourselves off from other options (see “commitment” above). To do a certain thing, we must not do other things. We must decide what our objectives are and commit to accomplishing nothing else. For more on decisions, click here.

“E” stands for “EXCELLENCE.” If we don’t excel in our endeavors, we will be ‘also-rans.’ ‘Calling it in’ won’t cut it if we want to achieve worthy goals. With excellence comes quality, merit, skill, talent, accomplishment, preeminence, supremacy, and mastery (a few fringe benefits we enjoy when we strive for excellence). More on “excellence” can be found here:

“F” stands for “FOCUS.” Since we are humans, we come equipped with a survival skill: awareness of our surroundings. It’s hard-wired into us. This is a handy tool if we are in the wilderness crouching over at a stream to get a drink of water. It keeps us alive because we hear, see, smell, and are aware of natural predators in our midst. This same survival instinct that kept primitive humans alive is also a detriment to success in the civilized world. We get distracted by everything. It takes almost all of our mental energy to stay focused on our objectives because everything and everyone is clamoring for our attention. Think about having a staring contest. On paper, we should be able to stare at one another forever. How simple; just stare at one thing and don’t do anything else. But as we all know, inevitably, our nature kicks in, and our eyes have to look away lest we miss something. Multiply the difficulty of staring at one thing for a long time a thousandfold when we concentrate our focus on achieving something great and/or challenging. The world is full of distractions with distracted people. Let’s not be one of them.

“G” stands for “GREATNESS.” Not much to clarify or explain here. We either commit to Greatness or decide we’re okay with being also-rans. It should be said though that the word “great” has been watered down in the modern vernacular. If someone discovers the cure for cancer, that would be indeed “great.” If we are trying to set up an appointment with a business associate, and we both agree on a time and place for a meeting, that is most definitely not “great.” Yet, we always say it is, don’t we? I’m guilty of this just like everyone else. In our quest to be “great” in our personal development and achieving goals, let’s make sure we are thinking of the work and the true weight it carries (think “great” as in “Alexander The Great” not “Can meet at noon on Tuesday? Yes? That’s “GREAT!”). For more on respecting the word “Great,” click here.

“A” stands for “ALTRUISTIC.” When we succeed, we owe it to the human race to share what we’ve learned. I’m not just talking about charity either (it should go without saying that tithing is an essential component of being a well-rounded person of value). I’m talking about sharing our lessons with anyone willing to listen. How many Platos, Aristotles, or Einsteins did civilization need for the entirety of the human race to benefit from their minds? Just one of each because they shared their discoveries with the rest of us. Their minds didn’t turn to dust without first documented what they learned. While this seems to be a standard operating procedure in the sciences and the arts, it isn’t a standard operating procedure in the personal development world. It seems that every generation has to learn this stuff over and over. I don’t know why this is. The best minds in personal development have almost all written books, yet their teachings seem to be forgotten when they are gone. Let’s stop this here and now. If you and I learn something that will be of value to others and for future generations, let’s commit to shouting it from the rooftops so all can benefit. I would like to add that your life and mine would be a lot more fruitful if the writings of Samuel Smiles were required reading in school instead of Einstein. They teach us about Einstein (which is good and useful), but the stuff that can make our personal lives amazing (like Samuel Smiles) isn’t even on the radar. For a list of recommended reading, please visit my website: and check out

“B” stands for being the “BEST.” I’ll admit to being hard-headed on this one until I was exposed to the teachings of Bo Eason. I’m now committed to being the best in my commitments and goals because of this great man. Please check him out. One of the most profound thinkers of our time. Here are a couple of useful links: 

In closing, I’ll throw another musical analogy in the mix. Picture a piano keyboard. Not only do we find the seven main notes, but we also see seven full octaves. Let’s think of the next goal we want to accomplish as the lowest octave on the left side of the keyboard. Once we achieve that one, we continue to move over to the right, covering all the octaves until we’ve mastered our “CDEFGAB” system. It’s worth noting (pun intended) that the more we move to the right and achieve more goals, the higher the notes become. You may be thinking, “What happens when I’m done accomplishing seven great things?” Fair question. Here are my answers: We should all be so fortunate as to accomplish seven great things. That would be quite an achievement. But if you’re still reading this, you’re destined for great things and won’t stop at seven feats. After you accomplish your first seven great things, just get another piano and start over because you’ll be able to afford a really nice piano and you’ll be really good at personal development!

Please share this with the people you love!

Thank you for reading!

5 thoughts on “The Scales Of Personal Development

  1. There’s a lot of genius in here!
    Wouldn’t it be great if we could solve the problem of these songs remaining unsung?
    A note (message) for every day of the week.
    A rif for every week.
    A song every season.
    A time for every purpose under the sun!
    I’ve never heard of Samuel Smiles or Elmer Wheeler, until I started reading your posts. What a crime. Thank you for posting Paul. No doubt their brilliance shines in you a new way. No one knows what God will do for those that love him.
    It’s a new thing.

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