9 - Your Skills Are Growing

The final chapter focuses with changes over the course of a lifetime. Some skills will grow while others will atrophy. The question is whether this is in a controlled and deliberate manner - are you gaining things that are valuable and losing things that are not, rather than the other way around?

(EN: There follows a recap of some of the major points of the book, which I'll skip here as the notes would be redundant.)

He switches to the notion of evolution, which is something that people do within their own lifetimes. Our life is not a chain of dramatic incidents but a long, slow series of changes. And like evolution, the process of evolving ourselves is measured against the touchstone of survival. If a change makes us more successful in our endeavors, then it's a good change and a lesson to be preserved.

He also hits on the notion of personal crisis - and the way in which people change dramatically when major events (good or bad) occur in their lives, and these changes can be good or bad. Becoming more present-minded enables us to weather crises better, and to make more of a conscious choice in the way in which our behavior changes in the wake of a crisis.

He also gets a bit spiritual, but is essentially right in the notion that the material things we gain in life (houses, cars, money, things, etc.) tend to be temporary. Few people maintain the possessions they had as children - and those who do find them to be a useless burden. But more to the point, virtually the only thing you have in life that you keep from birth to death is yourself. The rest of it changes and is lost over time. And there is the value of self-improvement: you keep it much longer than material things. Yet people invest so much time in earning temporary baubles than in improving themselves. "Everything that you spiritually acquire expands your true self and becomes part of you forever."

He also asserts that developing a practicing mind is worth making a priority because doing so gives you the equipment to accomplish other goals.