If we are serious about making progress in our personal growth, we must be willing to make changes in many things that surround us. Yes, it is true there are many things in our surroundings we cannot change; we cannot change our parents, we cannot change our DNA, and we cannot change the time of life we were born into. But we can change many problem areas in our lives that are holding us back by changing our surroundings, enabling personal growth to flourish.
The following are some tips I picked up in John Maxwell’s book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth to help any of us to get our personal growth on a faster track:
1) Conduct a personal assessment of your current growth. One way to make a judgment concerning your growth is to ask yourself if you are looking forward to what you are doing tomorrow and the day after that. Another way is to look back at what you have done. Have you been learning and growing? Are you proud of how you are spending your time? If your future looks dull, confining, and routine to you, it is possibly time to consider making some changes. The following are some suggested questions to ask yourself to help you understand what encourages you to grow:
- What ideas speak to you?
- What people encourage you?
- What activities stimulate you?
- What spiritual exercises strengthen you?
- What dreams inspire you?
- What family members care for you?
- What makes you smile?
- What have you read that changed you?
2) To personally grow faster and be more successful, you will not only need to change your surroundings but also change yourself. Why? Because in order to change your surroundings, you need to be willing to make changes. Whenever you are searching for the right changes in your life, ask yourself the following test questions:
- Are others ahead of me?
- Am I being challenged?
- Is my focus forward?
- Is my atmosphere affirming?
- Am I often out of my comfort zone?
- Do I wake up excited?
- Am I learning from failures?
- Are others around me growing?
When you are looking at changing yourself, ask if your new environment offers you a) growth b) purpose c) the right people.
3) To grow faster may require changing with whom you spend your time. Consider this quote from John Maxwell, “We become the combined average of the five people we hang around the most.” These people become our influencers and may determine as much as 95 percent of our success or failure in life. Look for the following attributes in the people who make up your environment: people with integrity, who are positive, are ahead of you professionally, are leaders and game changers, who lift you up, and most importantly are growing themselves. Keep in mind it is difficult to take a successful growth journey alone. Look for an accountable friend who will help you avoid wrong turns and stick to your desired path.
4) To grow faster requires developing the habit to challenge yourself. Unfortunately most people underestimate themselves; we strive for goals only which we are confident we can reach. But to grow we must reach for goals which are beyond our present abilities. To reach your potential you must push yourself to achieve what you believe you cannot do. Growth always comes from taking action and learning from our mistakes. We limit our growth when we limit our actions to what we consider safe and within a sphere of our existing knowledge.
5) Focus on the present moment. Any changes you want to make in your life can only happen in the present moment. The past is in the past and the future is out of your control. What actions we take today will determine who we become in the future. Enjoy this quote by Mother Teresa, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
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