Almost everyone has a hidden reverence for the individual who has shaped their professional and personal life to their satisfaction. The core philosophy of the Oculus Institute is that this way of living is not only possible, but achievable for anyone. We can all become healthier, wealthier, more intelligent, fitter, and more spiritually fulfilled individuals with a deeper understanding of the world, interesting skills, and richer interpersonal relationships.
What is Comprehensive Personal Development?
Many people nowadays tend to define themselves by a relatively small number of factors. However, almost everyone has a hidden reverence for the notion of the Rennaissance Man (or Woman): the individual who has shaped every facet of their life to their satisfaction, who seems “complete.” To most people, this remains something seen as unachievable, at least in their current place and circumstance.
The core philosophy of the Oculus Institute is that this way of living is not only possible, but achievable for anyone. We can all become healthier, wealthier, more intelligent, fitter, and more spiritually fullfilled individuals with a deeper understanding of the world, interesting skills, and richer interpersonal relationships.
The benefits of spiritual study are vast but not readily apparent to many people. Spiritual studies are NOT to be confused with religion. The principles here are universal, and the benefits they provide will serve adherents of any religion or those who follow no religion at all.
At The Oculus Institute, this facet is broken down into four modules:
Psychohacking – Like biohacking, this discipline uses experimentation as well as a combination of ancient and modern tools to consciously reprogram one’s mind rather than operate blindly on past conditioning that may not serve one’s goals. A prerequisite to all other spiritual studies, a key component of this process is disidentification – seeing oneself as an awareness/soul that has dominion over the mind and body rather than believing one is the mind and/or body. This is the module that is focused on the internal portion of the Awaken program.
Mysticism – This is what most spiritual students are seeking. Despite some modern misconceptions about the term “mysticism,” the original meaning of the term (and that used by Oculus) is the study of cultivating connectedness, spiritual awareness, agape (the highest form of love), forgiveness, gratitude, and presence. It also includes transcendent experiences such as revelation, unity consciousness, and other similar states. This path ultimately leads through the ability to see balance in all things to an enduring mindset of nonduality, where even the notion of separate things to be balanced is left behind. Mysticism is the first part of the Ascendant program.
Practical Metaphysics – Many ideas have been put forth in this area: the Law of Attraction, karma, prayer, synchronicity, and manifestation, to name a few. What these people have realized, though not described in a complete and rigorous way, is that consciousness and intent have a significant effect on our world. How these forces work should be as well understood as gravity and electricity, but they aren’t. This module is designed to help you harness these effects to shape your life in a positive and proactive manner. Practical Metaphysics is the second part of the Ascendant program.
Spiritual Enlightenment – This term is used in a very particular way at Oculus; it means the abiding lack of ignorance, meaning both knowing what is true and, just as importantly, not believing what is false. Because challenging beliefs and accepting the limits of our knowledge can be uncomfortable for most people, this is a path that is only recommended if one has a “splinter in one’s mind” that drives a search for truth above all else. Spiritual Enlightenment is the third part of the Ascendant program.
Wealth represents the accumulated debt owed to each of us by society in exchange for the contributions we have made. Thus, it is something to be strived for and something to be proud of having achieved. Fortunately, Oculus is here to show you how to do so! The wealth module is also concerned with the precursors of wealth – things like career positions or reputational capital.
At the Oculus Institute, this facet includes four teaching modules:
Personal Finance – Almost everyone wishes they could be at least a little bit richer. This module is designed to lay the foundation of the belief structure that will bring this desire to fruition as well as impart the understanding necessary to lay out a practical and achievable roadmap to get to the level of wealth you desire!
Investing -This module covers a broad swathe from basic investing advice for the average person to complex trading strategies. At the most basic level, learn how to manage your investment accounts without having to pay fees to investment advisors and with no time investment in monitoring the markets. For the more ambitious looking to generate an excess return, there are additional seminars on various asset classes and different trading opportunities available for each.
Career Development – From the big picture of laying out a strategic roadmap for getting your dream job to the tactical execution of getting that next raise or promotion, this module will help you fulfill your professional goals inside or outside of a structured workplace. Drawing on everything from social dynamics to productivity optimization to honing in on purpose, you’ll get all the puzzle pieces you get everything you want out of work! Career Development is the primary focus of the external portion of the Awaken program.
Entrepreneurship – Starting a new company can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. Backed by direct experience (founder, equity hire, or board member) in nine start-ups and indirect experience with several more, this module provides entrepreneurs the tools and understanding they need to achieve the fullest potential of their business. Additionally, this module includes consulting services customized to the needs of entrepreneurs, such as business plan creation and investment pitch preparation. This material is included as part of the optional Entrepreneurship Module in the external portion of the Awaken program
Additionally, this facet includes three purely service modules designed to help provide business owners or managers with the insight they need to make the best decisions for their company:
Whether you’ve never regarded yourself as particularly intellectual or view your intelligence as one of your best qualities, you’d probably jump at the chance to take a pill that made you significantly smarter. While no such pills exist (to my knowledge), it is certainly possible to get the same effect through awareness, practice, and certain lifestyle habits.
At The Oculus Institute, this facet is broken down into seven modules:
Psychology – This is the basic study of how the brain and mind function, covering biopsychology, developmental psychology, learning, sensation/perception, the psychological principles underlying memory & intelligence, motivation & emotion, and social psychology. This module is fundamental for anyone trying to better understand the thinking and behavior of themselves and others. Because of the lasting effects of an early childhood environment, it is also highly recommended for new parents.
Upkeep of the Brain & Mind – Our mind is an incredibly powerful tool, but it’s one we never got an owner’s manual for. As a result, many of us do not how to keep our brains and minds functioning at their peak or prevent them from breaking down in adverse situations. Full of tips covering everything from nutrition to stress reduction, this module will help you optimize your brain and your schedule to function far more efficiently and effectively! It is especially recommended for people engaged in preparation for standardized tests or seeking to prevent burnout from a strenuous workload.
Mnemonics & Memory – The common assumption is that memory skills are fixed. This is not true! Using techniques ranging from modern memory theory to the repertoire of the expert orator Cicero of ancient Rome, this module will help you develop the capability to remember significantly more information in a shorter period of time than you ever thought you could!
Logic & Linear Thinking – Expending mental energy without clear logical direction is like setting out on a road trip without directions. This module will help you develop clear linear thinking free of logical errors, creating a vast improvement in thinking efficiency!
Quantitative Thinking – Most people don’t have fond memories of math classes in school. However, lacking a quantitative view of the world closes off as much information as being unable to read. The introductory course of this module distills all the mathematical concepts that are practically useful into a 90-minute seminar far more engaging and memorable than the average math class. More detailed seminars are available for students and those wishing to pursue a deeper understanding of mathematics.
Solving Systems – One of the main reasons that engineers are in such high demand in the labor market is because they are capable of seeing the world from the perspective of systems. The economy, the human body, any given business, and many other aspects of life can be fundamentally represented as systems of varying degrees of complexity. This module is designed to help gain that frame of reference in far less time than it would take to earn an engineering degree.
Mastering Reading, Writing, and Public Speaking – This module is the language counterpart of Quantitative Thinking, designed to help people master the language arts. Whether one wants to improve communication abilities for the workplace or for personal enrichment, this module will help impart that mastery!
Perspectives – There are some ideas that are so fundamental that they shift our collective worldview as a society, often ending up as best-selling books and bringing acclaim to their authors. This module is a series of seminars covering a collection of these “Big Ideas,” each of which provides a unique lens to expand one’s perception.
Every person should have at least a basic understanding of the natural laws of the world in which they live. While this facet will mostly appeal to students in high school or university, it is also intended for anyone who wants to gain a deeper knowledge of the fundamentals of the world in which they live, especially if their formal study of such things in school was absent, insufficient, or not engaging enough to be memorable.
At The Oculus Institute, this facet is broken down into six modules:
Computer Science (including network architecture and hacking)
From cooking to repairing cars to martial arts to survivalism, there are innumerable hobbies and practical skills we can develop to enrich our lives. Also, nearly everyone will agree that it’s worthwhile to set aside time to enjoy unique and uplifting experiences. It should be noted that some of the MOST uplifting experiences come not from focusing on self but rather from doing good for others and making a positive impact on the world.
For the moment, only one module is available in this facet:
Lifestyle Design – While the scope of all such hobbies and experiences discussed above is too vast to cover, the principles of creating the framework within which they can be enjoyed are consistent. This module is designed to teach you how to build a lifestyle that leaves room for you to meet your highest values, relax with your favorite activities, and soak up the richness of experience on this beautiful blue planet.
Just as we live in the natural world and benefit from understanding how it operates, so too do we live in a society of other humans with its own sets of rules and interactions. This module is thus the counterpart to Scientific Understanding that focuses on helping people understand the civil community in which they play a part, with the goal of enlightening everyone from students to policymakers.
At The Oculus Institute, this facet is broken down into four modules:
History – While cultures shift, change, merge, and diverge over time, the best data we have on the behavior of societies is the history of what has come before. As such, a true grasp of civics starts with an understanding of civilizations throughout history, both those from the distant past and those that we are a part of today.
Economics – The flow of wealth and processes surrounding that are integral to society. This module serves to describe this economic activity and its effects, presenting ideas both conventional and unconventional, including a discussion of laws of economic balance.
Government, Policy, & Politics – One need simply look at the news to see that most citizens have political views based on tribalism and the personalities of candidates rather than a well-considered assessment of policies and how those policies mesh with their individual values. This module seeks to take a step back from the vitriol and provide an objective view of how government works, the characteristics and effects of various policies, and the political responses of the electorate. Whether you are at a think tank seeking to develop novel policy plans or simply looking to be more informed in your political conversations, this module has a solution for you!
Geopolitics – Just as people interact through the principles of social dynamics, so do societies interact at a larger scale through the principles of geopolitics. This fascinating module explores the factors and motivations behind war, peace, trade, and diplomacy. If you want to develop a deeper understanding of the workings below the surface of current events, this module is for you!
“The body is the temple of the soul” – This sentiment is expressed in both Eastern and Western traditions, and rightfully so, as improvement of the physical form is a key part of a completely developed individual. Almost everyone wishes they could have a healthier, fitter body, but most people feel that they are constrained by circumstances such as time and/or money that prevent them from achieving this. This, however, is almost never the case; with proper understanding and application of that understanding, we can take control of our health and physical form.
At The Oculus Institute, this facet is broken down into five modules:
Physiology & Medicine – From biochemistry to organ systems, this module serves to convey an understanding of the biology of the body that provides the basic context for all health and fitness concepts. Also, because most people have the greatest interaction with their health in terms of the medical system, aspects of medicine (such as pathology, pharmacology, and surgery) are included here. Consults and seminars here can be conveyed at any level of detail to suit the audience, from a layman’s overview to something appropriate for those in the medical industry.
The Razor’s Edge of Health Technology – There are some absolutely incredible things being done at the boundaries of medicine today! However, since many of these technologies are in clinical or preclinical testing, they are not generally known to the public. For those interested, this module offers an opportunity to learn about these fascinating advancements!
Spiritual Approaches to Health – While modern medicine can do wonders to treat the diseases that arise in the body, many of those diseases do not need to arise in the first place and need not continue. This module shows how relieving inner stress can lead to significantly improved health and even a slower aging process. It also ties in with the Spirituality facet to provide direction on how to achieve such rejuvenation and healing.
Nutrition – Nutrition is fundamental to life, yet it is a subject full of mistaken preconceptions, even among many supposed experts. This module uses rigorous science to shed clear light on how to eat properly to fuel the lifestyle and body you desire!
Fitness – Just as the human body requires adequate nutrition to be healthy, so it also requires sufficient physical activity. Based in the science of exercise physiology, this module will help you learn how to design workouts that both are compatible with your lifestyle and help you achieve your fitness goals!
While there can be great joy and serenity in solitude, our lives are more richly enjoyed when we have the opportunity to share them with others. The goal of this facet is to help people expand their social circle and ensure that all their relationships are as pleasant and harmonious as possible.
At The Oculus Institute, this facet is divided into four modules:
Social Dynamics & Networking – While some people are naturally adept at social interactions, most tend to experience awkwardness and uncertainty at times, especially in an unfamiliar environment. Based on over 100 psychological studies and hundreds of hours of direct experimentation, this module seeks to impart an understanding of the principles of social dynamics, thus increasing one’s success and ease in both new and familiar environments.
Dating & Romance – Both men and women tend to see the process of meeting each other and beginning a romantic relationship as shrouded in mystery. The reality, however, is that we as human beings all go through very similar steps (with some differences between men and women) and that these steps can be easily understood to dramatically improve one’s romantic life. Whether you are seeking to increase the volume and/or depth of romantic interactions or you want to stop a cycle of making the same dating mistakes over and over again, this module is for you!
Persona Construction & Belief Realignment – As part of society, we take on different roles depending on our environment. These roles (or personas) are almost always derived from unconscious assimilation of past experiences. This module seeks to help one bring conscious control to the construction of these personas. At a more advanced level, the fundamental beliefs we hold determine what roles we can fulfill and how we act in our default unfiltered persona. Thus, the more advanced work in this module revolves around reconfiguring these beliefs. This module will most benefit those who want to take the Social Dynamics module to the next level.
Friends, Couples, & Family – While almost all relationships experience friction at some point, some have turbulence that is sustained or repeated. While the arguments in such situations may seem disconnected, there is nearly always a small number of root causes driving the conflict. This module uses a combination of private sessions with both the group and the individuals to draw out those root causes and, if possible, restore harmony to the relationship.