“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you”
— BB King
Personal growth is one of my favorite subjects, because without it, we cease to exist.
Imagine being a child and never growing through each developmental phase, or into adulthood or maturity. Skipping a phase or two may be a fantasy for some; however, it is not the reality we came here to experience. Just as a child needs to grow and evolve, to become the person he or she can be, so does the adult.
Personal growth does not limit itself to physical growth. Personal growth also includes emotional growth, intellectual growth, and spiritual growth. Personal growth does not limit itself to age. It is continuing in us from birth to death.
“Personal growth refers to self-development of an individual toward the actualization of his or her potentialities.
Personal growth transforms an individual from dependence to self-direction.”
“Self-development” is the key phrase in the reference above. Perhaps the most important realization an individual can make in his or her quest for personal growth is that there is no single formula that defines what path will work for any individual. What is good for one person may not be what works for another.
We must adapt the seeker philosophy on our paths of personal growth. We must do the research and put in the miles. It is not the destination that defines us. It is the journey. It is what you find out about life and about yourself along the way, whatever that is, that creates the “YOU” you can become.
“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development,
because success is something you “attract” by the person you “become.”
— Jim Rohn
Many of us have natural talents and abilities, but do not strive to improve them. Like muscles in the body, if we do not use our talents and abilities, we will soon lose them. If we are not growing, we are dying. Sounds absurd, but it’s true. Every famous successful person whose name we immediately and easily recognize had to master that which he or she became known for.
We can have talent but be afraid to use it and never reach our potential. Or, we can continually strive to become our potential. It is a choice we either make, or do not make.
Why invest in personal growth?
To expand your abilities and skills. To develop new aptitudes and strengthen existing ones. To increase your understanding and knowledge. Knowledge is potential. Applied knowledge is action, and it is in the action that our power lies. Having the knowledge about how to open a can of soup is only half as valuable as opening the can.
When you do not have the answers that understanding and knowledge provide, walking life’s path can be harrowing. By investing in personal growth, we gain life experience, which—like a map—can guide us to where we want to go. And, we gain wisdom.
Walking through life with knowledge, experience, and wisdom gives us confidence and self-worth. Self-worth gives us the faith and inspiration to create the life we want. In creating the life, we want, rather than reacting to life, we gain mastery of the items we value and the way we value them.
Spiritual growth has many definitions, depending on the source and belief system of the person.
As I have stated before, all religions of the world agree that humans begin in the Spirit form and temporarily transform into physical form for this human existence only to return to Spirit form. We are spirits having a human experience. Not humans having a Spiritual experience.
Think about that for a minute, or an hour. We all start at the same place. We all have a spiritual source. We are all part of something much greater than we could ever be alone. We are all connected. We are all spirit connected to the vastness of the Universe, the source of all beginnings and endings.
All the knowledge of what will be, and has ever been, is within us and our connection to it, just waiting to guide us. But it is up to us to discover it. It is up to us to get in touch with it. We need to grow, to understand who and what we really are. How our spirituality grows and develops—or does not—depends on us. That is where the human experience comes into play.
I use meditation for the guidance I seek. Meditation can be difficult or tricky in the initial stage of our practice. One must be still and focus. I focus on my breath. As I breathe in, I am thinking in with the good. As I breathe out, I am thinking out with the bad. We all meditate in different ways, whether we know it or not. Your meditation might be in the form of silent, relaxed contemplation, to increase your awareness and come to decisions.
You might walk, to clear your mind and know what you want or how you want to do it. You might be still, to receive guidance or answers. You might do guided breath work, or visualization, or yoga. You might take a nap or connect in your sleep. You might stare out into nature and let go. You might connect in a long shower or bath, or in some form of water. Regardless of the method, you are tapping into that vast resource of knowledge within you for an answer that already exists.
Your life is not random or a mistake. You are here for your Spirit-intended purpose. Your job is to discover what that is. It is your job to turn over the rocks to find it, not wait for it to appear. Columbus was a seeker. The Americas did not find Columbus. Columbus discovered the Americas. Stop waiting. You already have the answer. You are just not looking in the right place, or in the right way. The answer will only come from inside you. Just listen and trust what comes to you.
Download my course SEVEN DAYS TO DISCOVER YOU PASSION if you need help identifying what your Passion is and how to develop it.
In multiple religions, belief systems, and historical teachings, scholars believe that the body is our temple. If we look at ourselves and dislike what we see, why do we resist changing ourselves, bettering ourselves, enlivening ourselves? When we deface, dishonor, or ignore our body temples, we do not realize that we are dishonoring ourselves, and stunting our physical growth and our self-worth.
The mind and body work as one. If someone throws a valuable piece of art in the trash, it does not make it any less valuable. However, it treats the art in an undeserved and dishonorable way and wastes its potential.
I smoked for fifteen years. It disgusted me with the thought of falling into such an expensive and nasty habit. It made me, my clothing, my car, and my environment stink, and it made my lungs feel awful. On the first of January, every year, I quit, but then I would start back up two days later, if that long. It was not until the day I realized what it was doing to my son when I saw him wheezing because of secondhand smoke he was inhaling, that it awakened me out of my unconsciousness and inspired me into growing stronger.
In that awareness, I became a seeker, searching for a way that I could quit for good. It was hard—so hard. The voices in my head kept repeating You can’t do this; just start back up, and your suffering will all stop.” To this day, quitting the habit has been the hardest thing I have ever done. But I have not smoked since.
How did I do it? In the same way I have asked you in previous posts, to get a pen and write your responses and thoughts. I put in writing my reason to change. Every time I wanted to start back up again, I thought of that reason. I remembered the actual action of putting my pen to paper and writing my reason, and all the emotion and conviction I felt while I wrote it.
The process of my writing my reason to change, and reading my reason out loud every day, carved a new neuro pathway in my mind, that helped me to remember that my reason to change was so much bigger and more valuable to me than my reason to cave and keep the nasty addiction, which was just a habit.
Habits are easy to start and difficult to change. It takes three weeks of consistently to create a habit, good or bad. Sometimes we just need the right reason to propel us toward physical improvement, or any kind of growth.
Without a strong enough reason to change, you will always leave a way out. A way to quit. There is an old saying about success by Plato: “If you want to take the island, then burn the boats.” Only you can find the right reason for you. What is your reason? Every person reading this has one. Find it. And write it. Then burn the boats. Leave no way to go back, only forward.
Emotional development is defined as a child’s growing ability to develop and regulate a full range of emotions, from sadness or anger to happiness and compassion, and shift from one to another in an easy, conscious, and free manner, preparing the child to take on more responsibility for his or her internal state.
Emotional development also refers to the child’s ability to develop secure relationships, social interaction, empathy toward others, and resolution of conflicts, without feeling the need or desire for physical aggression. The continual development and strengthening of all these abilities are emotional growth.
Growing scientific evidence shows that a child’s experiences during the early years play a significant role in emotional development. Studies have shown that the emotional climate at home and the emotional regulations displayed by parents and caretakers affect a child’s emotional development.
Children who do not develop emotional health, freedom, and maturity are at risk of forming unhealthy attachments, experiencing peer group challenges, and suffering from mental illness.
Unfortunately, many of us did not develop the proper tools we needed to develop healthy emotionally. We formed our Habits and beliefs throughout childhood; we created the patterns of our lives, and we carried these patterns into adulthood without realizing it. It is not until we experience setbacks and adversity and finally take a serious look at the person we see in the mirror each day
Part of our dysfunction in developing emotionally lies in the very widespread belief that a specified set of behaviors, circumstances, and realities are normal and healthy. But there is a vast difference between normal and common.
Are these things we consider “normal,” normal because we have the personal experience of understanding that they are normal, did someone teach or tell you they are normal, or because they are so commonly seen around us we believe they are normal? Are they common in another state? Another part of the world? Another race? Another culture? Another time periods. Why, or why not? Never stop asking why.
Never stop being curious. Never stop paying attention to the emotional and sensory signals within you. Imagine you are walking on a trail in the middle of nowhere with no one around, and the trail you are on leads to a dangerous cliff that would kill you if you walked off it. Would you continue in the same direction on that trail because someone told you to, or would you listen to your inner guidance and change directions?
Are you choosing where you are going and why you are going there? Or, are you following? Are you listening to your inner knowing, guidance, emotional cues, and senses? This is the strengthening of your emotional muscles. If you ignore these innate abilities, you suppress your emotional growth, weaken your abilities to experience compassion, joy, and peace, and become disillusioned and hurt, or hurt others. Never stop following your highest emotion.
Intellectual growth refers to: “personal or communal intellectual development.
We can derive this from the spreading of new ideas, such as during the Enlightenment, or through personal educational pursuits, like higher education” (Answers.com).
Intellectual development is the development of independent thought and reason, in relation to the world around you.
To attain Intellectual health, growth, and well being, you must first start by expanding your knowledge. When we learn or practice a new skill, read a thought-provoking book, get involved in the community, attend lectures, art exhibits, or musical or theater performances, or learn a new language, we are growing our intellectual health.
In addition, we are strengthening our critical thinking and analysis abilities. Think of a child who wants to understand everything because it does not know the why or how. It is when the child asks us “Why?” that we need to understand the full answer we are about to give. If we honestly want to give the child the best, most truthful answer, so he or she can use that information to make good decisions, we must give the very highest information we can get. And to do that, we must research, including searching within ourselves.
We should look at Intellectual growth in the same way. Are the decisions we make based on the absolute best information that we can find and that is available? Or are we using outdated or incorrect data that we provided ourselves with, or others told us?
Is the information we used based on our own knowledge, or based on that of people who teach us to follow, believe, and respect? And does the information align with whom we are as individuals, or are we just following an outdated and incorrect pattern taught to us somewhere, sometime and never checked to see if it is valid?
The intellect is a powerful muscle that can atrophy if not stimulated and strengthened continually throughout our lives.
Write your responses to the following questions:
Do you strive to improve yourself physically?
Do you strive to improve yourself emotionally?
Do you strive to improve yourself spiritually?
Do you strive to improve yourself intellectually?
Are you open to new ideas?
Do you try to learn new skills?
Do you appreciate stimulating mental activities?
Do you use creativity to solve problems?
Do you consider opposing ideas and opinions?
Do you strive to understand yourself and your emotions?
If you answered no to any of the questions above, it is time to open yourself to your higher potential.
What areas of yourself and your life would you like to see growth in most?
What or who, is holding you back from growing?
Life can be scary sometimes, but the more you grow, the more you will know. The more you know, the more change you can help to create, for yourself, and for those around you.
Growth cancels out fear.
Think of growth as an investment in YOU, your future, what you will give to the world, and everything and everyone that has anything to do with you. To have more than you have got, you must become more than you are now. You must grow into the new skin of your potential.
By investing the time and energy in yourself, your reward will be exponentially greater than your initial investment. And then, one day, you will discover that the student has become the teacher.
It is in the struggle and the battle that heroes are born.
Only through lifelong growth and the desire to expand can change happen. Get your boots on and get in the trenches. Then watch yourself rise.