4 Mechanisms of Sustainable Growth
There’s an old adage that states, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying.” In a biological sense this makes sense. If your cells are not being fed the nutrients to stay protected, thus not growing back stronger than they previously were, they are slowly but surely degrading. The same goes for the mind and body- an unstimulated mind, is a deteriorating mind. A body void of exercise and movement, slowly breaks down. Growth then, is a pillar of a healthy mind, body and soul. A necessity as it were.
True meaningful growth – the growth that actually feels like some form of self-actualization is taking place – doesn’t come with sacrifice. There are characteristics needed to achieve this level of growth; characteristics like grit, discipline, awareness, patience, understanding and hunger.
Unfortunately these character traits are frequently underappreciated.
Why? Because these traits require attention, energy and reflection to develop. Time ‘we’d’ rather spend watching television, making excuses, hiding from reality and ignoring the core root issues at hand. This might sound harsh, but it’s the truth for the majority of society.
85% of people hate their job, 15% of people claim to suffer from at least one mental disorder every year, and 40% of people are over weight. These numbers are simply too high to say we are truly happy.
What we consume and our environment only enables unbalanced behaviour to a greater degree. Thankfully this article is about getting real results – no fluff, no rationalizations, no “you’re okay just the way you are”. That’s basically saying, I’m perfect the way I am. Lazy, comfort seeking dogma. Growth is a necessity for happiness and fulfillment, so why sugar coat its importance.
Growth provides excitement, stimulation, engagement and self-actualization, and so, it’s not something we should be telling ourselves and others to hide from. It’s not about being the best, comparing our growth to the likes of others, hating the person we are, it’s about working on being better, across the board, and being able to confidently look ourselves in the mirror, and know we are thriving in all areas of our life. Knowing that we will continue to embark on the endless journey of self-discovery and self-realization.
The 4 Mechanisms of Growth
True growth without some form of passion and excitement behind it has a very low chance of coming to fruition.
It’s our passion that gets us out of bed in the morning. It’s our passion that sparks inspiration. It’s our passion that ignores the devil on the shoulder, suggesting the path of least resistance.
Not every area of your life is going to have the same degree of passion, mind you. My passion for health and wellness exceeds my passion for being financially independent for example. I value both greatly, and they co-exist in the same ecosystem (my passion for wellness will provide financial independence) but I consume a much higher degree of content on wellness, I spend more time educating myself on health and I chose a career based around wellness, when other careers could have been more lucrative in the short term. This is how hierarchies work. We should never neglect any one important area of our life, but there will always be levels of importance, where the majority of our time, energy and attention go to.
With this being stated, a certain level of passion for any sort of growth is required. We must have some spark of interest, that thing that gets us excited about creating a better life for ourselves in that particular realm. I’m passionate about all pillars of my life, in much different ways, and in varying degrees, but each pillar is founded on a passion of some sort to achieve better. I see my why behind each area of growth I pursue. Without the ability to understand the passion we have behind the change we want to make, we will continually be inconsistent in our behaviours, constantly coming back to that ‘area of change’ year after year, never quite attaining our goal for very long, if ever.
If we lack passion, we will surely lack consistency needed for long lasting change. Maybe its passion based on freedom, leverage, clarity, independence, enjoyment, vitality, energy, impact or excitement. Find why your passionate about a particular area of growth. It’s in you. You just have to take the time to look for it.
2. Education (Results)
Knowing how to get where we want to go is also a bit of a necessity in my opinion. Every successful individual I’ve had the opportunity to truly connect with, has shared the importance of eventually understanding in more detail how to achieve the growth they seeked.
This sort of education isn’t required immediately, nor do I even recommend the “I have to know everything about the subject before I start” approach, but I do believe in the importance of developing some form of know-how behind getting to where you want to go. A blind man navigating a ship through the rough seas without a map will never reach his destination, regardless of how passionate he is about getting himself and his crew there safely.
In life, more now than ever, convenience, results and understanding is a necessity for consistent action. We get too bored and drained behind pursuits that lack confidence, development and direction. We want to feel like we’re investing our time somewhat intelligently, not blindly. We need some form of certainty, the idea of, “If I do A.B.C I will have a strong chance of accomplishing D”.
This is where mentors, education, coaches, professionals and success stories come to light. Having the confidence and the education of how to accomplish our desired growth boosts the rate of consistency exponentially, by achieving results. I’ve seen it for years in the gym industry. Those who have help creating certainty and have the education necessary to achieve their results, stick to their goals much longer than those who lack certainty and the know-how.
If a coach or mentor or professional advice isn’t your path, you have to be willing to educate yourself. Seeing results is critical to continued growth. My advice has always been to find bright spots. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Find those who have done what you want to achieve and copy, steal and cheat. There’s nothing wrong with learning from the mistakes and successes of others. That’s called being smart and wise with your time.
“A smart man learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
Be the wise man, and get the growth you seek before losing your pasison.
Without being too long-winded, self-awareness is arguably the most important skill an individual can possess. Without a high degree of self-awareness we don’t really know what we are passionate about and we certainly won’t admit when we need help, what’s working and what’s not working.
Self-awareness is what leads us to seeing things clearly, it’s what allows us to adopt a growth mindset, and keeps us grounded, thinking of ways to be our best possible self. Without this awareness we will constantly make the same mistakes, do things for the wrong reasons, subconsciously sabotage ourselves, and never be able to truly address the root causes for our pain and happiness.
Self-awareness is a learned trait. It’s about taking fault, listening to others’ advice that we respect, and constantly reflecting from a relaxed egoless state of mind. Take this serious. The best performers in the world possess high levels of emotional intelligence, and not surprisingly, those who find themselves as low performers, lack emotional intelligence. Develop this skill or true growth is virtually impossible.
Finally, we have patience. Patience fits in with the self-awareness category as well. Growth takes time. Having awareness of this is the first step. Accepting this is the second step.
Trying to rush the process, skip steps, and achieve success quickly is a fools game. It’s short lived, and rarely leads to actual fulfillment or sustainable growth. The process, contrary to what most people would believe, is where our happiness comes from when achieving a goal. The result is just the pot the gold Trust me, every success I’ve had has only meant a damn because I’ve worked my ass off and done what other’s weren’t willing to do. That’s growth that actually means something.
The idea of gritting our teeth through an unenjoyable process isn’t practical or pleasant, so why do it. Why pursue a goal and look for short cuts when the process is miserable. The process shouldn’t be a constant fight; that’s where education and understanding the passion behind our pursuit is so critical. When we possess the why and constantly educate ourselves, the excitement grows organically. 6 months of unsuccessful misery turns into years of enjoyable growth. And when our excitement grows, patience isn’t something we have to struggle with.
Nothing great happens over night. Knowing this and accepting this will ease your mind, take pressure off, and actually allow you to enjoy the journey. A journey filled with meaning and true results to be proud of and lived with for years to follow.