Sensitivity - Why Personal Development Is Impossible For You Right Now

By Leo Gura - January 14, 2014 | 6 Comments

Why you are incapable of really improving your life until you stop looking for ever-greater sources of stimulation.

Big Ideas

An Important Lesson From Biohackers

  • To become self-actualized you must develop a better sensitivity.
  • What I learned from biohacking: a biohacker has to develop a keen sense of awareness of his feelings and moods.
  • Two types of feedback: objective and subjective.
  • Objective feedback is like an EEG machine that can graph out your brainwaves.
  • Subjective feedback is what you feel in your body, what you’re able to be aware of.
  • For example, if you’re taking lots of supplements, it helps to be sensitive enough to actually feel their effects.
  • Can you notice the effects of taking Vitamin C or fish oil? Do you get more energy? Do you sleep better? Does your point pain improve? Do you become more flexible? Is your workout recovery better? Do you build muscle faster?
  • Same applies to nootropics — take various supplements and drugs to enhance cognitive performance. Sometimes it’s hard to really tell what is happening when you take them.
  • Greater sensitivity can be developed. In fact you should be developing it right now.
  • You can’t really biohack effectively if you don’t develop keen sensitivity. Otherwise you have no criteria to judge against.
  • The sensitively required for successful biohacking is also required for successful personal development.

From Biohacking To Self-Improvement

  • Our sensitivity for life has been blown out by society, culture, and media.
  • If you are playing around with psychology and tinkering around with various elements of your life, you have to become very sensitive to the effects on your feelings.
  • Examples:
    • What is the effect of meditation on your life? Do you know? The effect can be very subtle.
    • Drugs: what is the effect of alcohol and recreational or prescription drugs on your life?
    • Thoughts: what is the effect of your thought patterns on your life?
    • Diet: what is the effect of having a high-sugar breakfast, for example?
    • Media: what is the effect of TV, videogames, internet, newspaper, etc. on your consciousness, on your mood, on your performance?
  • For many of us, our palates have been so blown out that we can’t notice subtle positive changes to our lives like meditation.

Media Is Boiling Your Alive Like A Frog

  • The effects of media are both very subtle and very powerful. This is a paradox. But not really. Perceived effect depends on your perceptive abilities.
  • You are under-performing in life and don’t even recognize it. Negative friends, TV, internet, bad nutrition, lack of exercise, etc. are all adding up and robbing you of a lot of performance, all outside your awareness.
  • Consider the old boiling-frog analogy: if you take a frog and set him into boiling hot water, he will jump out. But if you take that same frog and set him in lukewarm water and slowly crank up the heat, he will boil to death.
  • Why does this happen? Because he fails to perceive subtle changes added up over time.
  • You are frustrated and unsatisfied with your life because subtle influence have, over time, added up and drained you of your power.
  • This effect is MUCH stronger than you admit to yourself.

Examples Of Insensitivity

  • Example #1: after I cut out cable TV for several years, I became extremely sensitive to commercials. It’s like, Wow! You can hardly believe how toxic commercials are until you don’t watch them for a few years.
  • But if you are a habitual TV-watcher, you won’t even believe me right now. You are thinking, “Commercials? What’s the big deal? Stop being a pussy.”
  • Example #2: diet. If you’ve gone through the process of cleaning up your nutrition, you’ve have a very powerful ah-ha moment when you looked back at how you used to eat and said to yourself, “OMG, how could I have been be irresponsible? How was I even able to get up in the morning?”
  • Example #3: sugar. After you ween yourself off sugar and restaurant foods, you notice very starkly just how sugar-laden all commercial food is.
  • You need to become more sensitive because right now you are literally being boiled alive by culture, media, and society!

Winetasting And Blown Out Palates

  • Why does this happen? Because your palate has been blown out.
  • I use the word “palate” because it’s used in the wine-tasting world and it’s very appropriate here.
  • I don’t even like wine, but when I took a wine-tasting course I was shocked by how sensitive professional wine-tasters are. They develop discernment for ridiculously nuanced aspects of wine.
  • Yet me, I can hardly tell a Pinot Noir apart from a Cabernet.
  • Why does this happen? Because my brain is literally no wired up to distinguish between the various tastes and smells of wine, and so I cannot perceive them. Kinda freaky!
  • As a culture we want to be titillated and overwhelmed with bold flavor.
  • Think about: blockbuster superhero movies, double bacon jalapeno cheeseburgers, atomic hotwings, horrific news headlines, controversial books, top-10 lists, ugly celebrity photos.
  • The problem is, when you allow yourself to get blasted with so much stimulation, you lose sensitivity to life.
  • Another example: cooking and Cholula. I got so accustomed to dousing all my meals with Cholula hotsauce that when I started to learn cooking, I couldn’t understand subtle favor combinations.
  • If you hand someone a complex dish with delicate flavors and he douses it with a 1/2 bottle of Cholula, what’s the point?!
  • That is what’s happening if you live a mainstream life: you are insensitive to the beautiful subtly and richness.

Why Your Personal Development Efforts Have Been Failing

  • You can’t even appreciate the powerful effects of the personal development techniques that I could teach you, because you won’t feel their effects right away.
  • If I put you on 2 weeks of affirmations, visualizations, journaling, and meditation, you would not continue the habit because you don’t even feel the positive effects — even though they ARE there.
  • We would have to ween you off stimulation for several months for you to be able to really recognize the effects of the positive work that you’re doing.
  • The reason personal development fails to work for many people is because they pick up one book and try a technique or two but they don’t have a developed enough palate to appreciate the results, and so they quit.
  • This problem actually goes even deeper: you are simply missing out on the full range and beauty of reality. You are not experiencing the richness of life!
  • Which would you rather do: watch the latest blockbuster movie in the comfort of your own home under a nice cozy blanket, with your spouse cuddly near you, with a big oily, salty bowl of popcorn and a glass of cold Coke, or mediate quietly alone in an empty room? It’s a no-brainer! Who would ever want to meditate?
  • Meditation is a subtle pleasure. It cannot compete directly with the thrill of sex or entertainment.

The Low Consciousness Mindset

  • In his brilliant book, Mastery, George Leonard builds a strong case for how culture promotes an anti-mastery mindset. Our culture tells us to expect endless climax.
  • But reality is mostly mundane. If you go into things expecting your mind to be blown, you are limiting yourself so much.
  • Most people don’t have a solid career because they can’t handle the mundane work required to develop one.
  • What zone of existence are you living in? Low consciousness or high consciousness?
  • Low consciousness means you’re after: entertainment, a promotion, validation from others, sex, money, tasty food.
  • High consciousness means you’re after: truth, beauty, excellence, justice, order, tranquility.
  • You won’t have a fulfilling, rewarding life if you’re stuck pursuing low consciousness values.

Getting Back To The Joy Of Being A Kid Again

  • There is a natural joy that comes from simply being in reality and taking it for what it is. A tree, a car, the sun in the sky, the stars, looking into a grocery store clerk’s face. Those are beautiful things that you no long appreciate.
  • As a child you felt happy because you were sensitive to everything. You took in the beauty of reality.
  • You can never get enough stimulation. Real, lasting enjoyment only comes from subtle appreciation.
  • You need to STOP looking to be spoon-fed the best of the best. Stop seeking maximum comfort and stimulation. If you don’t, you will become a lazy slug.
  • You are behaving just like a heroin junkie! You need hit after hit after hit, and it’s destroying your life.

How To Become More Sensitive

  • You CANNOT do effective personal development from a low consciousness state.
  • From now on, start becoming very sensitive about the effects of even very small actions/behaviors on your life.
  • For example, if you hit the snooze button on your alarm 3 times and wake up 15 minutes late, notice how this affects your mood, your performance at work, your diet, etc.
  • Start to notice how the simple actions you take (or fail to take) affect your life.
  • How did that lunch affect your whole life? How did the negative thoughts you had in the shower affect your whole life?
  • The best way to become more sensitive is by eliminating the worst sources of over-stimulation.
  • Your homework: sit down right now and identify the top 3 worst sources of over-stimulation in your life. Write them down. Now commit to eliminating them for 30 days.
  • And most importantly… as you do this, stay very alert to how your consciousness improves.
  • What I want you to take away is NOT that you should get rid of bad habits. No! This is a deeper issue! Adopt a new philosophy.
  • Your new philosophy is that you pursue high consciousness over low consciousness.

Bottom Line: Your palate for life has been blown out by culture and addictive behaviors. Become more sensitive to the subtle richness of life.

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marty says:

Leo, What a nice 2 not 1 but 2 nice short names. I like your videos. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am seeking to improve myself. I will make some progress, but then It is like my self conscious; catches me and finds a way to sabotage my efforts.
Is this self hatred? or what? Why does this in my mind any way seem to be a struggle? I know intelligently know i am very capable of doing what I want to to and much more. But my subconscious does not want me to be happy it appears. i am sad at my self hatred. How can I change this?

Leo Gura says:

That’s all normal Marty. You need to follow this advice in this video:
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Matt says:

This kinda reminds me of that spaceship in the animation Wall-E. You know where people don’t need to do anything anymore but sit in a comfy chair and eat and watch television all day the rest of their lives. Real eye-opener. Thanks Leo!

Marlee simmer says:

Leo i’ve done tons of research and experimentation with my diet and I encourage you to look up what Brian Clement says about supplements. for me I’ve found Brian Clement’s diet advice to be very very helpful also I like Dr. Douglas grams diet views. They are worth checking out. Also watch on YouTube it’s called debunking the paleo diet by Christina warinner

Sean says:

This is a life changing process. Powerful message. Thanks Leo! I have been feeling the negative results of hanging out with friends that are not healthy for me. The rush and comfort I get from hanging out with them is the same one I get from slugging out on a movie and pizza, all feeding my low conscious values. What a great revelation you describe of why I have chosen comfort over character building when I imagine the tv/soda/couch combo vs. sitting alone in meditation!

I am one week into doing the work now, after years of repeated failure and suffering in relationships, career, and life. Thanks for reminding me these failures are keys to opportunity at creating an amazing actualized life.

Alex Alphavitae says:

Mr. Gura,


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There is a true reality that when you know what it is, you can align your life and gain the highest advantage.

Please do contact me if you want to know The Super Sacred Secret that answers all questions pertaining to anyone’s life.

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