Rebuttal to Erik Eriksons’ Psychological Development Theory

Working as a coach in the fitness and health industry, one of the most common beliefs that I hear is “I have been working out for X amount of years, I know what I am doing”. This could not be further from the truth. Your experience, not just from the perspective of working out, but from a universal perspective, is not guaranteed to provide you with any knowledge or advantage whatsoever. Let me explain why.

Below is an excerpt from my NLP Master Practitioner training course from a module titled “Psychological Levels Of Development” that will dis-spell the myths of:

  1. Experience = Knowledge, Skills, Awareness
  2. Age = Wisdom
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Teachers’ response to my original answer for the module exercise:

” You have quite a comprehensive response to the essay and seem to have invested enormous energy in psychological development. According to the manual “It is easy to understand that a small child of five years of age does not possess the same knowledge, skills, and awareness that a mature adult of 50 has. Between five and 50 years of learning and experience for which there is no substitute. To achieve a similar degree of development as a mature adult, there seems to be no choice but for the child to get through a similar number of years, adding to his experience and awareness along the way.” In other words, a person’s chronological age must be equal to or greater than his or her psychological age. My question is this – would you agree with that statement or not so much?

My response to her question:

” In response to whether I agree with the logic behind the levels of psychological development not being able to exceed your chronological, I do not agree. It appears that presuppositions have been made to point to the fact that psychological development is absolute and not relative. The 2 main flaws I extracted out of that theory, among many, are:

1) I believe it is possible for one to gain 20 yrs of psychological development in say, 10 yrs. This can happen by actively seeking new experiences and avoiding complacency. If you compare that to one who does not actively seek new experiences and remains complacent, it is possible to see how there can be a huge gap in experience over time.

The person who comes home from the same job they have had for years, and sits on the couch for 5 hours to watch t.v will gain very little new experience compared to the person who is acting out in the world learning through various methods and growing as a person and professional.

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2) The major presupposition that I feel was largely overlooked is that everyone has actually treated their experiences as an opportunity to learn. Meaning, they have created an awareness of their past experiences, created an objective awareness, and actively sought out to learn and apply their learning, which in turn will create even more new experiences to learn from.

In my opinion, wisdom is only gained from experience if you actually learn from it and apply what you have learned, otherwise you have not grown. I hope that what I have in my mind and what I articulated here come across the same. Thanks for the question, it made me think outside the box a little. “

Whether you agree with me or not on my rebuttal against the psychological development theory, I am sure we can both agree on one thing, and that is learning from your experiences will teach you more than not learning from them.

Are You Learning From Your Experiences?

Learn from all of your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.

Take care,

May you awaken
May you see clearly
May you be love

Take care ♥

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