Humans have always been on the quest to improve. The one thing that sets humans apart from animals is the ability to think for oneself apart from the basic needs of food and shelter. The instinct to survive is common in both, but the definition of survival differs.
For us, mere existence is not enough and it doesn’t begin to define what we mean by life. In this need to make our existence worthwhile, we grow and evolve every day. But what do we mean by growth in this context?
It means to move further and improve our abilities and capabilities. This growth can be a drastic change in behavior positively or a minimal one. It can be tangible or intangible advancements in achievements as well.
Growth usually starts with the person questioning himself. “Am I content with the way I am?” “Can I do something which assures me that I am better today than I was yesterday?” “Will my current efforts ensure my life is more comfortable in the coming years”? This self-introspection is the first step to growth.
When we discuss the growth of a human, it is with respect to physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. It is a holistic approach, in a nutshell. After all, that’s what makes us different. All these aspects co-exist and if we are successful in achieving all of them, only then our growth is complete. We do not get up each day to just hunt for food, after all. To take the next step after self-assessment is to put yourself in situations that will undoubtedly start the development.
Here are some ways you can set on a journey of personal growth:
Know yourself completely
Like mentioned before, self-introspection is the first step. Be honest to yourself about your likes and dislikes. What is it that gives you an adrenaline rush? Think sincerely about what creates a spark in you. At the same time, what are the activities that drain out your energy? Is it worth investing your time in those? If required prepare a list of the same. Categorize them as Good and Bad activities. Sometimes, this enlightenment comes with spending time alone or putting yourself in situations that are not in your comfort zone.
Be in the company of people who are growth factors
You have probably heard this several times before, and it’s important you hear it once again. You should be aware that people can be energy drainers too. So, choose your company wisely. Friends who discuss positive things, provide encouragement in big and small ways, peers who exude confidence and pass on the same to you, are some ways to stay in a positive aura. At the same time, you should have people who cheer you up and advise you on the gloomy days as well.
A lot of knowledge is found in the company of others who are more experienced than you. The person may be junior to you but maybe more experienced. Do not let age be the deciding factor. Knowledge is everywhere.
Write things down
Writing is therapeutic. Sometimes, our best supporter is we, ourselves. But we forget to talk to that person. Looking inward is possible when you spend time alone. So, ensure to write down your feelings in a diary. Writing can also be a public blog, which becomes a means to connect with unknown people who share the same interests.
Meet new people
Just as holding on to old friends is important, so is making a new company. Knowledge comes from various sources. When you meet new people, you learn new behavior. In the process, you learn to distinguish right from wrong. This broadens your thinking. Sometimes, you relearn basic life skills like forgiveness, sharing, and caring. These are things forgotten but are a very important aspect of growth. Socializing is medicine, especially in this generation where social media has taken over human relations. Helping people unconditionally is immensely therapeutic. Go out of the way to assist someone in despair.
Get a mentor/coach
If you do not have a person whom you can confide in, it is suggested you have one person with whom you can share your feelings. When there is a free flow of genuine feelings and knowledge without any prenotions of being judgmental, the benefits to you will be immense. Ensure to meet up regularly and keep the environment informal. Feel free to discuss any topic with them.
Develop a hobby
People underestimate the power of a hobby. A hobby is something you do that aligns with your innate behavior and interests. It opens your heart with joy because it cannot be forced upon you like the job, which you may not like but is forced to do for a livelihood. A hobby gives you extra energy for the day. So, take up a hobby like gardening, painting, stitching or choose any such classes from the internet and learn anything that interests you.
It is proven that successful people read a certain number of books per year. You should read diverse books from various authors. Reading improves concentration and enriches your vocabulary. It makes you more confident to talk to people. It gives you different perspectives, apart from your own. If you are a beginner, it is suggested you choose short books of your area of interest and maintain discipline regarding the reading time. It is very easy to lose interest in reading, but it is one of the easiest ways to personal growth, all from the comfort of a room. You can also choose a library to visit or an online library.
Invest in a new course
There is enough proof to show that when you challenge your brain into something new, miracles happen. We underestimate the brain’s power as we grow older. A new course, be it academic or a general self-development course always challenges you to stretch your thinking limits. What felt impossible becomes a daily task, which proves that you have conditioned your brain to think and act in a new way.
If you are someone who has a very sedentary lifestyle, it is strongly recommended that you take up some form of physical exercise. Exercise reduces stress, anxiety, improves sleep, and also your confidence. It stimulates the production of hormones that support the growth of brain cells. So, when we talk of holistic growth, all these aspects should be ticked in the box. There are various forms of exercise you can choose from. Aerobics, yoga, jogging, running, all are excellent ways to get the body moving. If not the heavy form of exercise, start with 20 minutes of brisk walking and graduate to a moderate form of exercise.
Limit the use of social media
Social media is as much a bane as a boon. Do not spend time scrolling through unproductive data. Instead, limit screen time and choose the media and news wisely. It is very easy to get adrift in the news and entertainment world. Instead, connect with friends, exercise, and read books.
Play games like chess
Chess and many computer games improve the power of your brain. They encourage you to exercise your analytical skills, strategic thinking, and concentration. You should even get to playing old-fashioned board and card games once in a while.
Observe daily life
Life is the biggest teacher. So, if you want to grow, learn to observe. Watch people, irrespective of their age, gender, and place where they belong to. If you keep an open mind, there is a lot to learn. You need to take the wisdom passed down by others. Humility is what keeps you grounded and thirsty for more knowledge. Books can only provide limited knowledge but observing life can teach a lot more.
Learn to delegate
To grow oneself, it is important to let others grow. It is a mutual relation of learning and growing. There can be instances when it is okay for someone else to do work so that you can focus on something more important and productive. Make it a habit to prioritize your work and delegate some to others. This increases productivity.
The only thing that is constant is change. This is a well-known proverb. Unless we accept that no day is the same and we need to be open to everything new, we cannot grow. We need to have the mindset to accept every challenge that comes with change. In fact, change is synonymous with growth if taken positively.
About this post
This article has been published with inputs and views from Stephen Barrow, who is the founder and owner of Club Success, an online resource that works with people that are looking to grow and develop in any area of their life. Going by the mantra, “Taking care of your needs is not selfish, it is necessary,” Stephen realized that finding comprehensive answers for life’s major criteria were virtually impossible to find online. He created Club Success to fill that gap. Prior to Club Success, Stephen was a business owner in the real estate industry, where he learned the need to work with people – mentor and guide them – to help them set and achieve goals. Club Success is now his true purpose.