How do people grow as a person intellectually, emotionally, spiritually? How do you, say, become more confident, more gracious, be less affected by the views of others, or even be a more loving husband or a loving wife, or a more patient parent? How do you pursue a deeper and more insightful spiritual life?
Let’s imagine a path of growth. You are now in point A, where you want to go (say, be a more loving spouse, be a more patient parent, be a valuable team member, etc.), is point B. So our growth is the journey from point A to point B. This sounds simple enough, the question is, why it doesn’t work for most people?
Let’s look for example at New Year resolutions. Many people make new year resolutions, but most will not even come close to their desired goal. Why?
Some set their goals too high or too low
Some have plans but their plans are not concrete enough
Some have concrete plans but the plans are not realistic
Some have realistic and concrete plans, but unforeseen/or underestimated obstacles were on their way
Some have everything ready, but they have no one to be accountable to , no one knows whether they have succeeded or failed, nobody cares
Some just simply forget about their resolutions or just ignored them because there are other more urgent things to deal with.
So, how can we help ourselves to go from A to B and grow as a person?
First, you need to have a better understanding of point A, where you actually are in now. This includes knowing your core values, what you see as important in your life; understanding your background, incl education background, family background, cultural background, experiences you have been through, etc. Your background, your experiences, your values all contribute to who you are now. You cannot move forward without knowing where you are starting from, how far you are from your destination, what gifts, talents and resources you have already been given. Knowing where you are is the foundation of the journey.
Second, you need to know your point B, i.e. your destination, where you want to go. You may want to have a general, flexible but inspiring and motivational life purpose, it gives you a direction in your life, it gives you a sense of purpose and a higher calling which helps you to look beyond difficulties and obstacles on your way. Then you need to have long term, mid term and short term goals, goals that are well defined, realistic, a bit challenging, and aligned with your values. They must be goals that you care.
Then, there are everything in between, things that will happen as you travel from point A to point B. This is the most important part of your growth, this is where you will plan and take concrete steps toward your goals, but this is also where you will encounter obstacles and resistance. You may overcome them and continue your journey, or be defeated by them and give up, or got stuck in front of them and don’t know what to do, or just stop and comfort yourself, saying I have done enough, that’s all there is. That’s why you need someone to be accountable to, perhaps even to help you see things in new perspectives.
In this Personal Growth Series, we will explore these elements together. In the article, we will first consider Core Values. We will explore what are things that are important to you? Where do you get them from? Why do they matter to you? How do they affect you in reaching your goals?