Personal growth is a funny thing, eliciting both positive and negative reactions from people around you, and maybe even from people you know. Growth, in its biological sense is pretty simple. Things grow, trees grow for years to become hulking wooden beings that help control the worlds atmosphere. Children grow into adolescents and eventually adults, nails grow continuously all our lives, and so does our hair, so why not apply this viewpoint of growth to personal growth.
We All Grow
Seems like a simple, if not redundant statement does it not. If you peel off the superficial layer of what this overused statement actually means you come to find a plethora of meaning, complexity and insight. We all grow, physically, mentally, personally. Just like that tree, we’re all growing until the very last breath we take, and then, the circle of life gives way to more growth, which can morbidly be seen as decay. However, this death also helps others grow, and not just the organisms that begin ‘eating’ your body. Death teaches others how to deal with loss, what death entails, it educates those who have lost someone how to deal with loss, through grief, resulting in growth.
Growth is part of our everyday lives in many aspects, as we’re continually learning and overcoming obstacles. If you were to read an article about something you like, say, video games, you’ll learn something new from the article – if it’s a good one that is. This is, technically, a form of growth is it not? It may seem simple, if not useless, but gaining that knowledge has helped you grow as a person, as a gamer and as an active member of a community.
That is quite a dumbed down yet important example of growth in the form of learning. Let’s look at something more long term and important to ourselves. You will make mistakes in life, it’s part of how you learn. Nobody is perfect, everyone makes mistakes and everyone learns from them. Everyone grows from the mistakes they make, learning how to avoid them in the future and better themselves. An entrepreneur may fail at their first business, maybe even their first few businesses, and whilst this may be disheartening, all the mistakes they made in their failed pursuits will teach them what not to do on their next business idea. Therefore, they learn and grow from their mistakes.
We don’t just learn by making mistakes, we learn passively too. We’re constantly absorbing information, be it through social media, public interactions or even the base senses of the human body. Drink a hot drink too soon, ouch, you get a burnt tongue which as we all know ruins the rest of the drink and what you eat for the rest of the day. You’ve learnt to wait a bit before you go at your unnecessarily long named coffee. Interacted with someone hostile and you learn how to deal with them, or how to avoid them entirely. You grow to understand why they’re hostile and how best to deal with people like this in the future. The constant stream of information we receive actively forces us to learn and adapt, which manifests as a sort of personal growth.
Change Is Inevitable
People change. Some people change their hair colour regularly. Some people lose or gain weight. However, change isn’t just physical. People value change as they get older, they put more value into different things. This could be as simple as liking a new music genre they used to think was naff, or this could be a person deciding to put more value in their close relationships. At the core of this change is growth, it’s a decision made by us that causes us to grow as people. As we grow older, where we place our values will constantly change, we grow in age as we do in mind. Heck, even as I grow older, I’ll change. I may look back at this article and scoff at it, or I may be able to build on it with my personal growth and gained knowledge. The truth is we don’t know how we will grow, change and develop as individual people, and whilst scary this can be an exciting way to view the future. A quick important thing to note is that people don’t always change for the better, and whilst we can work hard at helping people, you must put yourself and your development before anyone else.
It’s funny when people change, because you usually get one of two reactions. The first reaction, the negative one, highlights people’s discomfort with your change. This could be because they’re unwilling to change themselves, or – hopefully not so – that you’ve changed to conform. Most of the time it is the former, which is an unfortunate situation. The other reaction, the more positive one, highlights people’s joy that results from your change. “Oh my god, you’ve changed!” can be said in both a negative and positive way. Your change may inspire other people to change for the better, which means your growth can help others grow too.
Another important example of change is how the world is changing around us. Just like us, the world grows, society grows, and we must grow with it if we don’t want to be left behind. Governments fall and rise, celebrity culture influences millions and technology is progressing faster than we can keep up with. The best example here is the exponential growth of technology. To think how far we’ve come in just a few decades can boggle the mind. Ever faster processing power, increased graphical prowess, continually easier to use interfaces, all of this keeps growing and adapting year by year. We now use our faces or fingerprints to access our bank accounts, money can be sent and received instantaneously and our personal data is circulating all over the internet. Technology is a blessing and a curse, and in order to understand it and how to use it, we have to grow.
We all have that relative that has been left behind in the technological past. A grandmother who still doesn’t have Wi-Fi, an uncle who refuses to learn the simple commands of a MacBook or a parent who can’t use a track pad without smashing at it violently. There’s nothing wrong with this, some people are happy living how they always have been, and that’s their choice. However, if you want to keep up with the world, you must grow with it. I hope when I’m older that I don’t get stuck in the past, and I will always strive to grow along with the world and technology. In my opinion, everyone should be willing to grow with the world, as being left behind stunts not only your growth with the world but also your personal growth.
As we grow, learn and change it’s important to look back, to see how far we’ve come in our profession, skillset and as people. To grow is essential and a positive thing, and the best example of this is our former selves. Anticipating growth is another factor when looking back, like I’ve mentioned. I will probably look back at this article in time to come, and hate things about it. I’ll find mistakes, or I’ll have new knowledge with which I can build upon the discussion, and that’s ok. To accept that we will grow is important and is its own form of growth.