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M. Scott Peck - Psychology and Spiritual GrowthM. Scott Peck - Psychology and Spiritual Growth


M. Scott Peck (1936-2005)


American psychiatrist (pictured right).

Famous for his best-seller,The Road Less Travelled (see below).


His most famous book is…

The Road Less Travelled (1978)M. Scott Peck - Psychology and Spiritual Growth

This refers to how few people take the long and painful path to spiritual growth and fulfilment.



What did he say about psychology and spiritual growth?

 M. Scott Peck - Psychology and Spiritual Growth

1. Life is difficult

You should solve (not moan about or avoid) life’s problems, because this will help you mentally and spiritually.

To do this you will need total self-discipline (see point 2) that comes from self-respect.


2. Solving your problems through self-discipline

Self-discipline can be applied in four ways to solve your problems:

 M. Scott Peck - Psychology and Spiritual Growth

a) delaying gratification

Immediately dealing with your problems.


b) acceptance of responsibility

Accepting responsibility for (and the pain of) solving your problems.

 M. Scott Peck - Psychology and Spiritual Growth

c) dedication to truth 

Knowing yourself and the world better through:

  • continual self-examination.
  • lifelong learning.
  • facing up to reality (losing your childhood misconceptions).
  • putting new challenging ideas into action.


d) balancing

  • protecting your own rights and interests
  • sometimes giving them up to love and learn about yourself and the world.

 M. Scott Peck - Psychology and Spiritual Growth

3. Love is hard work

Love is the will to help others including respect for their right to:

  • love themselves
  • be their own person.

So the opposite of love is laziness.

Love also needs

  • courage to overcome fear of change, rejection and confrontation with others.
  • learning from others. 
  • changing ourselves appropriately (as parents must do with their children).


4. What love isn’t

There are three things wrongly associated with love:

 M. Scott Peck - Psychology and Spiritual Growth

a) falling in love

(because true love is about giving, not feeling – see point 3).


b) self-sacrifice

(because love’s purpose is to help your own spiritual growth as well as other people’s).


c) dependency on someone else

Love respects people’s right to live their own lives (see point 3).


5. Philosophy is important

You need a philosophy based upon:M. Scott Peck - Psychology and Spiritual Growth

  • continual learning.
  • openness to new knowledge.
  • the pursuit of wisdom.

Religion is invaluable so long as it isn’t dogmatic.


6. Leadership with loveM. Scott Peck - Psychology and Spiritual Growth

The best leaders are sensitive (painfully scrutinizing their decisions) but still decisive.

Great people combine a “capacity for suffering” with a joy for life.

Key quotes on love

Love is as love does.

Laziness is love's opposite.

Ultimately love is everything.


Key quote on change

The essence of life is change.


Key quote on leadership

The best decision makers are willing to suffer the most over their decisions but still retain the ability to be decisive.


Key quote on stress and pain

Life is a series of problems.


Key quote on time management

Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.


Key quote on wisdom

The life of wisdom must be a life of contemplation, combined with action.


Key quote on empowerment

The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behaviour lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behaviour.


Key quote on family

To the child, abandonment by its parents is the equivalent of death.

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