When we talk about ‘personal growth’ what do we really mean? We understand that it is the process by which we can learn and develop to reach our full potential. We know it’s a ‘natural’ process – as all growth is. But as in nature, personal growth requires certain favourable conditions to occur. A seedling cannot change and grow from its initial state without being fed and watered, exposed to the sun and given space to thrive. And you are the same. If you want to grow personally, to be the best you can possibly be – you need the right conditions.
The fundamental difference between you and nature is that you are ultimately in control of those conditions.
Personal growth is not something that just happens to you without your agency.
As a child, the basic conditions for development are established. You are (hopefully) nurtured, educated, nourished, challenged and encouraged by your family/caregivers/educators which helps you become independent and to grow both physically and emotionally into an adult. As an adult however, you need to actively seek out those conditions for further growth. You need to take action to look after and nurture yourself mentally and physically, and deliberately find and embrace new experiences where you will be challenged, learn and develop.
The problem with ‘growing’ then, is that it requires significant personal effort and courage on your part. Doing things that are novel to you, that stretch you, that require you to learn new skills or try something different, to enter situations where you could possibly fail – all of these things can make you feel scared, avoidant and uneasy.
There’s no denying it’s hard. But rather than seeing personal growth as an uncomfortable or even agonising process, why not try to reframe it more positively? Focus on the end result – the brilliant benefits of achieving your potential, of living your best life – and view the process as the (sometimes challenging!), but rewarding and interesting means to that awesome end.
This is the joy of growing.
8 reasons why you should embrace the joy of growing.
- Growth and improvement is the basis of mental and physical health and wellbeing.
- Learning and mastering new skills makes you feel more passionate and motivated.
When you achieve a small goal you experience a release of dopamine in the brain which makes you feel uplifted. This then positively affects your motivation and focus and helps you achieve more. The more achievements you have, the better your performance.
- The better your performance becomes, the happier and more confident you feel.
- The more experiences you try, the less bored or ‘stuck’ you become. More avenues and possibilities appear open to you.
- The more you explore new directions and different outcomes, the more neural pathways and connections grow in your brain, and the more your creative and lateral thinking is boosted.
- The more you proactively seek out experiences and the more you learn, the more choices and control you have over your own destiny.
- If you don’t actively move forward in life and your experiences and skills, you effectively move backwards as others who are growing, overtake you.
- It helps give you the confidence to be ambitious in your career.
As you can see from the examples above – the joy of growing is actually a virtuous cycle. We often hear about its opposite, the vicious cycle – but this process has only one direction – and that’s upwards. It’s really quite simple. The more you try, the more you learn, the more you grow, the more you achieve, the better you perform, the happier you become.. It’s human nature to want to progress in this way. Resisting the challenge is fighting our natural instinct.
When all is said and done then, growing is what it really means to ‘live’. So embrace the challenge and joy of growing – learn, thrive and live that precious life.
For practical tips on how to embrace the joy of growing, tune into this week’s podcast, epidsode #36, For Growth’s Sake