Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not. When I see a person beginning to separate themselves from the pack, it’s almost always due to personal growth. ―John C. Maxwell
An Option not an Obligation
Abraham Maslow made the observation that “One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” It has been my experience that we are either growing or dying. The choice is ours to make every day. Big or small, we either welcome or resist growth opportunities. Growth is an option, not an obligation. But when the results and rewards of personal growth are experienced, opportunities to grow will be embraced and sought after.
Often it is the people around us who notice our growth before we do. When you see a child growing physically, more often than not that child does not realize their own growth. It is usually when I think my writing is poor and I am struggling, that a reader will send me a note that they have noticed growth in my writing. My friend Samson is a champion of this. He has edited my blogs and been instrumental in my growth as a writer.
Leads and Lags
As Maslow said, we must choose growth over and over again. The moment we think we don’t need any more growth is the moment we stop our process of improvement. And with it, our quality of life depreciates. While quality or standard of life is mostly measured by income or status, I regard it as a lag indicator of personal growth. This means the true quality of life comes as personal growth occurs. But lag indicators require lead indicators as well. Otherwise, we may abandon the process of growth and start to wilt, believing that the results we don’t see yet are non-existent. Lead indicators are predictive and provide markers or signposts that we are on the right path. The advantage of lead indicators is they help us make necessary adjustments early enough to reach our intended goals.
What lead indicators can keep you on the personal growth track, even in the face of setbacks and difficulty? Here are two that have assisted me:
Proficiency comes through practice. Proficiency is the lag indicator while practice is the lead indicator. Seeing how well a player performs in their sport consistently, reveals extended time in the gym practicing. In writing, two lead indicators have propelled my growth as a writer; Learning new vocabulary and fine-tuning my sentence structure. Applying these lead indicators every chance I get has effectuated a marked improvement in the richness of writing Practice not only makes perfect, it makes permanent. What area do you desire to grow? After identifying the specific area, carve out time to put into practice actions that will orient your life in the direction that will culminate in growth.
This process of identifying areas of growth and practicing will yield unimaginable outcomes. The good thing about practice is that you can make small changes, which maximizes your growth potential. Nothing changes while in park or idle mode. Progress is measured through movement. And personal growth is the best way to realize progress. Put into motion whatever it is you want to see out of your life. As John Maxwell says, “Growth is the only guarantee that tomorrow will get better.”
I wasn’t aware of the impact that school had on the growth of our children until I saw the effect of daily interaction with other children. Growth is never a solo project. Just like darkness kills plants, a lack of social interaction obviates growth. When you remove a burning log from a fire, eventually it dies out and becomes cold. The log’s ability to burn is tied to its proximity to other logs. Our growth is by and large a by-product of the connections we make with others.
The right people will help us see our blind spots, one of the biggest hindrances to personal growth. According to Oxford Dictionary, a blindspot is an area obstructed from a person’s view. Overcoming blind spots requires an external perspective of your life. This is possible by allowing trusted friends to observe and report, providing honest feedback to areas in your life that you do not have an accurate view. As you consult others and your blind spots clear up, you will discover great personal growth as well as the truth of the African proverb, “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.”
Final thought: As my fourth year of blogging is underway, my gratitude is to you, the reader of my weekly blog. Discover Your Treasure stands on the shoulders of each reader who takes the time to read, like, comment, share, and provide encouragement. You have propelled my writing to heights I would have never reached on my own.
Keep on keeping on!