Time to Take Off the Broken Glasses

broken glasses

If you’re really interested in personal development, like I am, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of conflicting messages out there. While some of this may simply have to do with differing opinions and personality, a lot of these messages leave you scratching your head.

To make matters worse, most of this confusion results from people having completely different maps of reality. If you’re offering advice from the point of an innacurate paradigm, it won’t matter how rigorous your methods are.

For example, how do you reconcile the advice of persistence, hard work and striving to achieve goals with the call to live effortlessly and simply being in a state of flow? Aren’t these two ideas — that both seem like good advice — at odds with each other?

With that said, I’ve decided to do a series on Redefining Personal Development (cooler title pending, let me know if you have any ideas.)

I’ll be taking requests for topics to cover. If you have a question, put it below in the comments and I’ll make sure your question gets answered. If you feel internally divided because you’re getting conflicting messages (from yourself or otherwise), put the details in the comments and we’ll talk about it in the series.

Oh and if you still want to get Reclaim Your Dreams for 20% off, you’ve got 24 hours until the price goes back up. Just sayin’.

So what do you think is broken when it comes to self development? What do you struggle with reconciling?

(Almost forgot… one last thing: 2 days until paidtoexist2.loc’s 1 year Anniversary. Yes it’s on Valentine’s Day. Guess love is in the air.)

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Glen Allsopp February 12, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Hey Jonathan, there are a lot of conflicting messages out there.

There was a great post by Steve Pavlina which covers the topic of Personal Development vs Being Content with where you are, so I recommend you check that out as it might give you some tips.

I look forward to the series!

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Amanda February 12, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Jonathon,

I struggle with the idea of being happy with what you have, and the opposing idea of striving for improvement. I realize that you should accept those things over which you have no control, but how can you determine when to be content, and when to seek change? Can these two concepts coexist?

Thanks,
Amanda

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Ryan February 12, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Conflicts, eh? Well, there is the conflict of trust. Why should I trust this person giving me advice? There are a million books out there with thousands of pages of advice and maybe a couple paragraphs of author bio.

There’s the obvious conflict of different people needing different things at different times. I know I would not have made certain positive changes in my life had I not been in a certain situation in life. When I’m rich, stories of being poor don’t help; and when I’m poor, I don’t want to hear how I can get rich in 5 easy steps….

Which brings me to this point: most self-help is a load of repeated crap. To me, the fact that it’s oft repeated is further evidence of its craptastic nature. I’m more likely to read someone who can tell me something new, or at least push me in the right direction so I can figure it out myself.

And that brings me to my last point: self-help and self-improvement is about doing it yourself. We like inspiring stories because it inspires us to do something ourselves. I see the self-help genre’s primary goal as that of motivator, not “I’ll tell you what to do, and you better do it or else your dog will die and you’ll die… lonely!”

Gently nudge me; not shove me off the cliff.

And a final note: I’m more inclined to the spiritual side of self-improvement. By spiritual I mean internal, feeling. Self improvement is not a program for me–it’s feeling and growing naturally as life hits me. I’m not one to twist life around my agenda. I let life come and learn as I go. It’s slow and steady and may not make me famous, but it preserves my peace of mind.

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Teri Mai February 12, 2009 at 2:19 pm

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. (credit Reinhold Niebuhr)

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Chris February 12, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Hi Jonathon

I think the conflict you mention is an illusion. Its not either or but both and.

I worked very hard and persistently for many years. I enjoyed it at the time but when I got tired of it I was ready for the ease and flow stage which life was good enough to accommodate me with. I now start my days with a bit of reflection on simply what it is right for me to do today? How will I most enjoy my time? I may do very little or I may work 12+ hours, each day is unique according to the flow of life, I have no schedule beyond my 6:30 alarm yet I also manage to be responsible for a business turning over 100’s of £0000’s. The only reason for personal development is to bring more genuine joy into your life and therefore the lives of those around you. I am contentedly, joyfully, seeking to know more of me and more of life “in an easy relaxed manner and a healthy positive way for the highest good of all” as Marc Allen would say.

Enjoy, Chris

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Ilie February 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Doesn’t this come down to what success means to you?

If success means having lots of things, being in power position and so on then setting goals and working to achieve them might be your way…

If success means find that state of mind (or spirit) where you feel calm and happy with what is (and not by will power: I AM CALM! I AM CALM!) then maybe your path will be different

Another thought is that they may seem conflictual from the point of view where I am now. Later on as my understanding of things (hopefully) expands I may look back and smile at the apparent conflict.

As a topic that I would be interested in is: “Detachment vs Not Caring about anything in life and just waiting for death to come”

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Vaughn February 12, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Jonathan,

I remember Alan Watts pondering this question of self-improvement. I think he said something like, “Just who is developing/improving whom?” I look forward to your thoughts on this.

Vaughn

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Rob McPhillips February 12, 2009 at 3:52 pm

It’s like Einstein said; the solution to any problem is at a higher level of thought than the problem.

I think it’s a very important issue. I actually called my site Live Without Conflict because I believe it is the need to resolve conflict that is the impetus for our evolution.

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Doug Rosbury February 12, 2009 at 11:31 pm

When it comes to questions of personal development,
So much of the available data is of a subjective nature
and is of the life of the soul of oneself that I feel that to try to objectify a view of the subject presents one with a need to seek a unifying compassion with which to shed light on it. When it comes to the personal, we also should realize that each personal experience is also, unique and therefore would tend to evade description. This leads me to seek guidance from the spirit where answers would be transcendent of the ordinary. to be an effective counselor one pretty much
needs to delve into sainthood in order to access the
qualities of transcendence necessary to the job at hand.——-Doug Rosbury

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stephen February 13, 2009 at 1:21 am

The biggest conflict I experience at the moment is how to reconcile western psychological/psychiatric approaches with the eastern. The therapists don’t quite know what to do with ‘it’s all an illusion’ and no self. The biggest crisis is one of faith. It seems that is what everything seems to have in common, and I lack it and don’t know what to do about it. Maybe I’m misinterpreting, but it seems that I’m being told that I exist in a state of mere ignorance and that this is not worth pursuing, ignorance being not important enough to deal with. I thought that ignorance was the mud out of which things arose. So I am mistaken, and am confused as to where to turn next. Dealing with diagnosed mental illnesses I take the pills but am thinking that there are other ways to approach this. Or just take the pills, shut up, and continue to wish it was all over. Lost and set aside.

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Szabi February 13, 2009 at 2:22 am

See, well, first you have to know that I respect you a lot for what you say and how you feel the world around. I must also answer the example question. It is as if I was blind to an existence of such a concept, until someone like you proposed it as an example question. I feel my answer applies universally to all “conflicts” in life.

First off, I just wanna give a BIT of info which will hopefully make identifying me slightly easier. I work two jobs, Mon – Fri. First job is 9:30a.m. to 3:30p.m. and the second averages from 5:15p.m. to 10:45p.m. In between the two jobs I either visit my girlfriend, or workout at the gym, where I alternate running and lifting weights, day by day. When I get home I read and do homework for the online university I’m attending. On the weekends I try to do any chores and fun activities like snowboarding, spending time with long time friends, and making music (which I have done for over 8 years, both guitar and software). I have a girlfriend who I’ve loved for two and a half years and going strong.

Now, yes, most won’t care too much about my personal information, but I had to mention it, because you mentioned a very significant example of “conflict.” I’ve been doing what I’m doing, as far as jobs go (just started school), for nearly two years. This experience, as well as others like living in Hungary for 12 years, then moving to the U.S., have somehow perfectly combined the “conflict” in your example as one and the same.

Basically, through my persistence and hard work, which I was almost committed to blindly, without any real tangible goal, have showed me why this is a complete effortless and serene state of flow. On paper, or in words, without explanation, this all sounds like what people usually call “hard.” Well, the people I meet, and the view of life which I encourage and work hard to live by, makes this experience exhilarating! Yes, caffeine is my friend, as is ephedrine and aderall, but day in day out I confront everyone around me with thoughts, or rather feelings, which they’ve grown accustomed to shoving in the subconscious corner of the mind. They ring bells, which shake loose and stimulate emotional attachment to family and loved ones, and feel that the flow of life is being guided a little bit every time.

As simple as letting people merge in front of you into busy traffic, and as complex as feeling serenity and pure joy from seeing OTHERS do the same!!! In short (clearly too late for “short”), I feel that life is automatically lived effortlessly as long as your goals are more for humanity as a whole, than personal gain. Personal gain then, of course, is only fulfilled when you stay more persistent than you think you can, toward feeling the flow of life. Which, honestly is not about relaxation. It is nice to relax and feel one with all, but you will have plenty of time for that later, it is more important to show people that through energy, through the energy of the constantly vibrantly vibrating energy of life, your effortless flow will encourage your persistence to reach your goal of helping every other…

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DiscoveredJoys February 13, 2009 at 2:36 am

I’m not sure how you will take this, but it is offered as constructive criticism, honest!

There is an underlying thread of attitude in much of modern society about pushing toward ‘doing better’, ‘achievement’, ‘being all you can be’. Now there often isn’t much spiritual or philosophical reflection on the values involved, but there is a huge pressure to industrialise or mechanise the process of self improvement. This does not suit everybody.

Many people offering self-help ideas have packaged them up as complete solutions, and like many ‘converts’ to a good idea they push these ideas to the exclusion of all others. But everbody is different and may have different wants and needs; one size does not fit all.

For example, many self improvement ideas come packaged in lists of actions ’10 tips to…’, ‘the 7 step process to…’. Although I can often find good ideas in these lists, the idea of slavishly following a list of activities is completely foreign to my personal values.

For me (and I acknowledge that other people are different) I would sooner start from a philosophy and move on to exploring how that philosophy unfolds against real life situations. Much more flexible and introspective – but then I’m older, children grown up, and no longer have to ‘make my mark’.

A poem (not mine) may help illuminate what I am trying to say:

You ask me why I live
In jade mountains.
I smile, unanswering.
My heart is calm.
Peach petals floating on the water,
Never come back.
There is a heaven and earth
Beyond the crowded town below.

– Li Bai (701-762)

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Ryan February 13, 2009 at 10:51 am

Going off of DiscoveredJoys comments and other stuff I’ve been thinking about: We need less. I don’t want to be told to do more–I’m doing too much. Sure, I might not being doing the “right” things, so I should restructure, but if you suggest I restructure, make sure there is less when it’s all said and done. I’m convinced the single best thing society could do for itself is cut down the work day to a max of 30 hours.

Like the comment above, we’re always asked to be better, to achieve more. When you’re pointed in the wrong direction, peddling faster won’t get you to your destination any faster.

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Morgen February 13, 2009 at 12:09 pm

First I’d just like to say that this is an awesome topic to write a series on. I find myself conflicted in my everyday life. I want to be a yoga teacher, and the ideals of the yogic practice are anything but what I find people striving for around me. Perfection in the workplace is also a hard concept to deal with when I’ve learned in yoga that everything is “a practice, not a perfect”.

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Doug Rosbury February 13, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Jonathan /// Yes they are /// Be content with change.
Change is the most permanent aspect of life. Where there is life, there is change, Where there is change, there is life. It cannot be otherwise. Work with change.
cooperate with it or else it will leave you behind.
There is absolutely nothing in the universe that is changeless. nothing. This is the secret behind successful
relationships and you are never ever without a relationship. not only to other people but also between
yourself and every other thing and object in your life.
Celebrate change and it will make you successful.——- Doug

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Evan February 13, 2009 at 3:11 pm

The basic problem is the attempt to define the self without an environment and the environment without an observer. Both these attempts are doomed to failure.

The self IS the contact of the person with their situation. (Consciousness IS consciousness of [something].)

For an extremely rigorous working through of this position see Perls, Hefferline and Goodman’s Gestalt Therapy. It changed my life and may change yours (if you take it seriously).

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HoneyB February 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm

As George Constanza’s dad says, “SERENITY NOW!”…
I don’t think one can force personal development or self-improvement. One needs to be ready, and as they say “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Some articles on personal development ring truer than others, and I think my own interest in a particular subject/article mostly depends on what I’m ready for at the moment. So right now, in my own life, I’m more moved by articles about character development and how discovering my own personal mission in life determines my daily activities and goals (principles-based life management).

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Doug Rosbury February 13, 2009 at 9:04 pm

What’s the problem? The problem is in trying to figure something out that has no answer with a mind that is dominated by a sense of self importance or personal ego.
Give it up and focus on finding out just who you are,
because who you think you are is certainly wrong if
you identify with the separative ego. When you realize that you are actually one with the creator, you will stop searching because you will not only have your answer, you will the answer, however to attain it
you must give up your separative attitude. You are not
separate from God. you are God as you, the personality.
——-Doug Rosbury

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Doug Rosbury February 13, 2009 at 9:06 pm

You will BE the answer.—–Doug

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Mary Jaksch/GoodlifeZEN February 14, 2009 at 2:02 am

This is a very interesting theme, Jonathan!

The conflict I find most interesting is the one between personal development in terms of trying to change and better oneself, and the notion of letting go and accepting oneself as one is.

My sense is that the wish to be different from how we are shows a lack of self-acceptance and kindness.

In contrast, healthy self-acceptance leads to the aspiration that we want to reach our full potential – without discarding any part of ourselves.

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Wellsy February 14, 2009 at 5:39 am

@Ryan: I think we’re already doing too little. But too little of substance. I agree with you that we need restructuring, but I imagine most people (who work in the “cubicle jail”, let’s say) probably only actually work ~30 hours a week or less. They may be at their workplace more, though. But the advent of internet, cell phones, text messaging, and email allows holes in productivity like never before. I don’t have any statistics to back this up but it’s something I’ve heard tossed around anecdotally a great deal.

The solution isn’t that employers close those loopholes and force their employees to become more productive. The solution is that we become more productive ourselves. So what if the official work week were reduced to 30 hours? What would you do with your time? Many people would just spend more time at home, watching TV. Being productive doesn’t mean doing something you don’t like just to earn money. You can refine a hobby (or get a new one!). You could explore a new part of your town or state (economically speaking, this isn’t as much of a strain as exploring your country). There are a thousand different things you could do if only you’d break from your laziness.

So let’s restructure, but let’s restructure so that we do more of what is good and less of what is bad. Maybe that was implied in what you said, but I think it bears emphasizing.

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CG Walters February 14, 2009 at 7:29 am

A very worthy pursuit, Jonathan. Thank you.
The core value of many ‘methods’ and teachers out there is to make the teacher/method vital to the individual, when it should be liberating the individual (from teacher, method, etc).

A teacher should not give so much of self or knowledge, but give to the student their self.–Strike a Chord of Silence

blessings and continued inspiration,
CG

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Janice February 14, 2009 at 8:25 am

When I coach, I try to discover as soon as possible if a person is an ‘away from’ person, a ‘towards’ person or some combination of both.

Some folk are ‘towards’ people – they work best being inspired and led towards a desired state. (What will your future look like if you make this dream a reality?) Others are ‘away from’ people, motivated by fear, working hard to get away from the things they don’t want. (Where will you be in five years time if you DON’T do this?) I know which I prefer, but that doesn’t mean my way of seeing the world is ‘right’ or the only way.

For example, some people aim for a clear, space-filled, serene environment, a future beckoning with promise and opportunity. Others want to de-clutter and get rid of the junk that’s clogging their lives and tying them to their past. Same thing in the end, different paradigms.

That’s one thing that makes life difficult when we’re writing personal development pieces. Both approaches are as valid as the folk who have them, but trying to resonate with both kinds of people at the same time in creative pieces can often lead to clashing tone and disconnect. Maybe that’s why emotionless lists work so well in SEO, by successfully combining both: how to clear the clutter in 10 easy steps and create a serene space that inspires you.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to investigate conflicting intentions in our lives either. If two things make us feel like they’re pulling against each other with equal force, chances are they represent values that are powerful and equally important to us. That’s when we need to investigate what inspires us, what scares us and how, if possible, to find a compromise or to do one thing after the other in sequence. What’s wrong, in personal development terms, with working in the flow some days, and doing hard, plodding slog on others? Or being so sure about what we love doing that we don’t notice how hard we’re working because we love it so much? As was said above, change is life. Evolution is life. I don’t think you need to redefine Personal Development writing as long as we’re all constantly open to defining and re-defining ourselves and what success means to us personally..

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Mike King February 14, 2009 at 9:20 am

Jonathan, you have lots of comments about this conflict already and how it will both a challenge and something to look closer at. I’d agree that it’s about discovering the values one has in life in order to steer it towards abundance and happiness. I think there is one gap not covered much, and that is of the moral aspects of self improvement. It gets wrapped up in compassion sometimes but a moral look at life is one way to steer things well.

Anyway, looking forward to your thoughts on this as well.

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J Michael Huey February 14, 2009 at 9:56 am

Jonathan-

First, I appreciate your work on awareness and growth, and enjoy reading all of the missives . . . This feed is one of the first that I check from my homepage each morning.

My personal mental, physical, and spiritual ‘constant’ is to remind myself that there is a vast difference between: ‘a legitimate concern and worry’.

Seems simple.
Unfortunately, emotional attachment to the outcome gets in the way.

Keep up the good work . . .

Michael

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Chad@TheEffectiveSpirit February 14, 2009 at 11:25 am

There is a great book in recovery circles called “A New Pair of Glasses” and there is a line in the book that says: “Sometimes I have to think that happiness is nothing more than a new pair of glasses”. I’ve read the book a few times and always learn something new.

For me, the way I see and experience the world had to be re-learned. I figured out that it’s not what happens to me that matters, it’s how I react to it that matters. And the way I react depends on the way I see and interpret my experiences.

Because we are all in a different place in the journey, no two people will ever see or experience the same event in exactly the same way. We all have our own unique pair of glasses on.

So, from a personal development point of view, it makes things very interesting because everyone can learn the same lessons. But we will all use the lessons in our own very unique and individual ways.

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Ryan February 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm

@Wellsy — Because I’m on a Thomas Jefferson kick lately, let me share this quote and explain: ‘The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.’

Turn that around, and you have a plan for both minimizing the amount of job-hours worked, maximize productivity, reward those who produce and punish those who are not willing to work.

Right now, so many jobs take away from the individual that is willing to work. They spend so much time at a mindless job, not sure whether they are producing; they probably aren’t producing. The job is wasting their talents. They go home tired, sick of the world. And so they become lazy.

On the other hand, if you gave these people a trade, gave them results-based compensation, but structured their “job” as no more than 8 hours a day (and that includes travel, lunch–everything), then you’ll give that individual an opportunity to create. You’ll give him freedom, which in my book is the greatest motivator. If I remember anything from my organizational behavior class it’s that more money doesn’t make you work harder. If I worked from 7am to 3pm everyday, think of what I could accomplish outside of work?

Okay, then what do you do with those who are too lazy–that would not work. You take away from them. You take their work away and give it to those who would work. They lose their job, essentially. The market will push him out because he’s not producing. This is possible if you go away from a corporate market structure to one centered on individual productivity and accountability. If you’re the farmer and you’re not producing food, someone else will produce it, and you’ll be out of a job.

Our society breeds laziness. It rewards it. All you have to do is “work harder” in your 9 to 5 and your life is taken care of. That simply not true anymore. Not today, anyway. Retirements are a joke, and job security is too. For too long we’ve put our faith in things that didn’t exist, assuming someone else will take care of us, be it the government or our employers.

Times have changed. We do need to restructure… in a big way. And like you say, it has to start with the individual. We have to unlearn the lazyiness and teach people how to think outside of work. Only then will people take advantage of doing less and having more time.

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Federico February 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm

I think we have a hard time realizing what goal to pursuit because we aren’t given any model of reference.
Good and bad is subjective to some extents, but if they are totally subjective nobody is right nor wrong. As human we can’t accept that, or a terrorist may bomb my airplane feeling totally right from his point of view. Searching for an absolute meter to distinguish good and bad we are given only “life”. What is good for life is good for us and the opposite, since all that exist as sentient is a life form. Given that we may watch nature for hints, but nature seems to show none, seems to be programmes to just be/go on.
Whats’s your point of view on this?

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Doug Rosbury February 14, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Be the answer. The answer is not something you have to find. The answer IS you. Just be yourself and give up on
pretending to know anything. This cannot be explained, really. How do I be myself? by not doing what everyone else does. By not thinking what everyone else thinks.
Realize your uniqueness and be satisfied with it and be grateful for it. Don’t be a clone. You are unique in the whole universe so be unique and not a follower but a leader. Don’t do or think like the other guy. That’s too easy. but you will find that once you decide to be unique
you will find it will be easier and much more satisfying. Does Barack Obama copy other peoples
thinking? I rest my case.—Doug

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Pearl February 15, 2009 at 7:32 am

It is embarrassing for me to admit it, but I think the most internal conflict I feel is from what I think I should be achieving based on the information and signals I get from my surroundings, whether it be my family, friends, or the media, and what I actually want in reality.

I think your ebook was very helpful for me in this way, getting me to think about why I choose to go over this conflict in my mind, rather than simply accepting the way that I am and ending the conflict. I think that a lot of internal conflict is a choice that we make to enter into the conflict whether or not it will really benefit us because we are fearful of breaking out alone from what we perceive as achievable or even normal.

I don’t often feel a conflict between working hard and living effortlessly as long as the hard work I’m doing strives for the goal of doing what I truly want with my life, which in the end becomes living effortlessly. Being who I really am within my capacity is living effortlessly.

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Ron Rogers February 15, 2009 at 11:06 am

You asked, “What do you struggle with reconciling?”

My answer, “How do I reconcile, ‘trying to make my thinking fit reality AND/OR trying to make reality fit my thinking’.”

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Courtney February 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Hi Jonathan,

Some ideas:

Time – How do we understand time? Is it cyclical or linear? Why is it that time seems to go by slowly when we’re young, and so fast when we’re older? How can we really make the most of time? Does productivity and efficiency matter when time just seems to pass us by?

Contentment – What do we really mean by contentment? Is it necessarily good? Are we just content with our things and our appearances? Or are we also content with our minds and spirits? Can contentment entail complacency—complacency towards our dreams, our values and our culture?

Flow vs Strife – Is going with the flow necessarily the opposite of strife? Strife is about changing the human condition—it’s about evolution; and it necessitates a revaluation of values. In modern society, we’ve gotten so out of touch with ourselves and the rest of creation. Maybe going with the flow is an act of strife. Maybe being creative and spontaneous is a rebellion, a statement of independence. After all, what are we free for?

Ultimately, I think personal development has to do with being present, becoming comfortable with uncertainty, living in line with our values. Of course, I think it’s necessary that as individuals and societies we spend time revaluating what our values are and what they mean to the human condition.

Cheers!

Courtney

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farouk February 16, 2009 at 3:25 am

i do agree with you

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Fatma February 16, 2009 at 7:27 am

Hi!
It is not just easy to me to live to my expectations only. I always want to meet the expectation of others too, which are sometimes the opposite of mine or impossible to acheive. My mind is full of opposite wishes and dreams. How can I be strong and be concern of my own dreams and wishes only?

Thanks.

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Doug Rosbury February 16, 2009 at 8:48 am

Fatma, You seem to have a typical problem. Out of a feeling of insecurity, you have given others the power to give you a feeling of security,however, this has caused you to forget that your real security is to be
realized in a relationship with the spirit within you.
you must give up feeling that other humans can protect you because with a proper relationship with the great spirit, you will be empowered and protected from other
people wanting to control and influence you. I realized this early in my life and I have a feeling of satisfaction and protection from the desire of other humans wanting to control me. I still can work with them but not out of a feeling of guilt and fear that they might disapprove if I don’t cooperate. I think
for myself and others have respect for me because I have the charisma that comes from my true independence.
You have to take what will seem like taking a big chance and learn to say no with grace and confidence
and teach others that you are fine without them.
Good luck to you and I wish you many blessings.
Get together with the spirit within you you will find that the spirit will respond lovingly. Good luck and Love.——Doug

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Vi February 17, 2009 at 7:15 am

I would be interested in a piece about the paradox of being happy with what you have versus striving for more.

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Greg March 14, 2009 at 1:39 pm

My suggestion is similar to many others but slightly different in form. Buddhism tells us that the root of suffering is attachment. All things are impermanent so therefore attachment leads to disappointment and loss. Western psychology tells us that one of the most fundamental sources of happiness is meaningful and loving social relationships. We are social animals by nature and experiencing a meaningful connection with another person is one of our most profound joys.

One the surface these two directives seem incompatible. I think they are compatible if contextualized the right way. Attachment to anything specific will inevitably lead to loss but attachment to values generally, like a desire for meaningful relationships, does not necessarily lead to loss.

This line of thought could be expanded quite a bit.

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