Discover how you can create your own group of people who meet regularly to help each person learn about self-development and make progress on their own unique life journey.
The purpose of the group
The participants gather together to help each other learn and implement the values and methods of Povism. We do so through lectures, discussions, exercises, sharing, and supporting each person on his or her unique journey.
Such a group is necessary for accelerating the personal development process of each person. We all know from our experience that it is often easy for us to give advice to others, but solving our own problems is much more difficult for us. This is because we are often trapped in our own emotions and problems, and our emotions disrupt out ability to see our situation with a clear mind to find solutions. This is where a group of external minds, cooperating together, who are not emotionally influenced by our problems, can come to our aid.
Moreover, each person has “blind spots”, things about himself that he cannot see and only others can. For example, how our behavior affects others. And there are skills of inter-personal communication and social interaction that one can improve only through working with others. The group provides opportunities for participants to hone their lecturing and debating skills, to teach others what they know, to give to others, to take leadership roles, etc.
What we do in our meetings
We share knowledge with each other through lectures and discussions. It can be any knowledge that helps us improve our well-being, such as: practical life skills (how to prepare a healthy meal plan, how to manage time better, how to give a presentation, etc.); what we learned from a certain book or in a certain workshop; conclusions we reached based on our life experience, and more.
It is one thing to hear a lecture about a certain principle or technique, and it is something completely different to actually succeed in implementing it in our daily life. To assist us with this integration, we conduct role-playing simulations of common situations, where we have a chance to practice what we learned. Since this is done in a supportive and non-judgemental environment, people are free to err and fail several times without feeling bad about it, and this accelerates learning and growth.
The simulations may focus on various topics. It could be non-violent communication, where the participants act out a situation (such as: a boss that has to deal with an employee who did not deliver on his promise, or a mother that finds it hard to accept her son’s vegetarianism). At first, the participants talk and behave like people usually do in such a situation (with aggression, avoidance, manipulations etc.), and then we re-play the situation while trying to implement the principles of non-violent communication (see some example simulations here). Or it could be a simulation of a difficult situation, while trying to manifest positive character traits such as courage, optimism, determination, and creativity in order to overcome the hardship.
Development and follow-up of personal plans
We help each other develop a written statement of each person’s vision for life, and break it down to goals and plans of action for the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. We then help each other follow-up on these plans: see what worked and what didn’t, see what obstacles were encountered and think together how to overcome them, update the goals and plans, etc.
We sometimes create works of art together. The purpose of this activity is not merely artistic creation (there are plenty of existing art courses for that), but the artistic expression of the values by which we live. Hence we draw paintings, write short stories, compose songs, and create short films, which express our values and inspire other people to understand and adopt these values in their lives.
Debates for getting at the truth
In a classic debate contest, one participant tries to convince the audience that his view is correct while the other’s view is wrong, regardless of which view is actually correct. Both sides often end up giving a one-sided sermon rather than answering the arguments of the other side, so no real progress is made.
In contrast, in our meetings, we hold an interactive discussion whose purpose is a cooperation of both sides to rationally investigate the matter and get to a closer description and understanding of the truth (see details here). So in a meeting, we may take two people with opposing points of view on some matter, and conduct such a discussion, with the help of a moderator and the audience. In this way, we all gain more wisdom.
Povism is continuously developing, and its principles and values are in a never ending process of improvement, to make them more accurate and detailed. We sometimes spend time improving the textual description of Povism (the contents of this website) through discussions – making it more accurate, elaborating it with examples, and adding new sections. We also plan more meetings and think about how to improve them so that we increase the benefits we get out of them.
A gift circle is a group activity where participants share their needs and what they can give, and form connections based on this information. Read more…
Integration with other activities
We sometimes combine our activities with a picnic, sports games, hiking, camping, etc.
Some important points
It is important to make sure that the meetings have an emotionally pleasant atmosphere. This can be achieved by accessories, such as candles, relaxing ambient music, flowers, herbal tea, a tibetan bowl (used to mark the beginning and end of a session or meditation), comfortable seats and pillows.
We want to make the meetings pleasant and productive for the participants, a place where participants feel comfortable to share about their personal lives, emotions, thoughts, and experiences. Therefore, there are certain guidelines of conduct:
- It goes without saying that participants must always treat each other with kindness, and with respect for each other’s physical and psychological personal space.
- Civil discourse, including respecting others, not interrupting another person when they speak, speaking briefly so there is an interactive conversation, and really listening.
- Participants should listen with their heart and not only with their mind, with compassion and toleration, and not judgmentally.
- Non-violent communication, including sharing our emotions, and not using judgmental language.
- Participants should not give advice to another person, unless that person explicitly requested advice (it is also possible to inquire: “Is it ok with you if I attempt to give you advice for what you said?”) Instead, we can always share related experiences, e.g. “I also felt this way when…”, or: “In a similar situation, I feel…”
- There will be sharing of private matters, so participants agree to confidence – anything said within the group is not to be shared with other people (except when explicit permission is given).
Learning through fun and experiences
The meetings are intended to be emotionally enjoyable. While sometimes we may learn new things by listening to lectures or through discussions, emphasis will be given to experiential learning, through simulations, games, exercises, projects, etc. The atmosphere should be fun. We learn best when we experience positive emotions.
Whereas participants are encouraged to talk about their problems and pains, it should be done in a productive framework of positive progress. We don’t allow ourselves to wander aimlessly and endlessly in the realms of emotional pain, where the relief that the sharing brings is only minor and temporary, and where this sharing might ultimately feel like a burden on other participants. Instead, we first define our vision and goals for life and the kind of person we want to become, and only then we express problems and pains for the purpose of finding solutions for them and changing ourselves and our psychological state for the better.
Progress requires investment
The participants in our meetings should understand that in order to make real progress on their own personal development, they need to invest time and energy into this process every day. The meetings are an excellent tool for supporting this process, but they are not enough, as there is not enough time to cover all the material and do all the exercises. So participants should find some time every day to do exercises, such as meditation, writing a journal, or reflection, or read something about personal development. Otherwise, they will see very slow progress, if any, and it will be frustrating for them and possibly also for the other participants.