Have you ever wondered when the work of self-development stops? Me too! I’ve often wondered when we’re supposed to stop the work of growing our personalities! But what is personal growth? What triggers it? And when is it indeed transformative? Is there such thing as too much of it? Is there a right or wrong way to go about it? I guess there are a lot of questions that could be asked about this.
There are several opinions of what personal growth is or what it is all about. I personally believe that personal growth is the work that we put in to finesse our personality which grants us increased social advantages. It is the necessary work required to shed dysfunctional beliefs and create a mind that is open and receptive to varying perspectives from others while maintaining the courage or boldness to express our individual perspectives. Personal growth is something we do when we need to reinvent ourselves for newer challenges. Because of how dynamic life is or can be for everyone, it is likely that personal growth will always be required of us.
What triggers our desires to want to better ourselves? Various factors serve as driving forces that determine whether we will put in the work to become better people for ourselves or not. It is likely that a common and most intrinsic driving force for everyone can be summarized into one word – success! Success is the primary driving force to begin the journey for most if not all of us. However, not everyone follows through with the work of personal growth for various reasons. Perhaps this is because success means different things to different people, or people are likely to give up the quest for personal development when they don’t get the results that they are looking for. But guess what else is a potent trigger for personal growth? Setbacks! It would seem like more people have been able to attain personal growth that is truly transformative after a major negative life event than they are able to achieve when everything is going alright for them. Maybe pain is a necessary ingredient? It seems.
But when is personal growth said to be indeed transformative? This is a question that only the individual can answer. Of course people may be kind enough to tell us that they have noticed a change in us when we transform and the feedback can be an uplifting one, but would this be a reliable indicator of how well we have done with our personal growth? But of certainty, the individual almost always knows when they have been transformed in one way or the other, and sometimes, the most reliable marker is usually in one’s ability to exercise ease of self-restraint in areas that they used to quick or impulsive about. From observations, it seems that personal growth often borders on building one’s mental strength and other social ‘soft skills’ that are needed to rise into certain spheres of life. A key theme that seems to be present across board in people who engage in acts of personal growth is discipline. It is almost expected that discipline would be a key sustaining factor in maintaining the new self we build during acts of transformative growth.
By this point, I think that it would be safe to say that while success or setbacks are potent triggers for seeking personal growth of some sort, it takes discipline to maintain the new person we have created until it becomes second nature. This brings us to the next thing we want to explore; can we really do too much of personal growth? I mean, who is to say! For a start, there are no fixed set of rules to establish where we start or where we stop. But as individuals, we can tell when we are doing too much of anything. Once again, the people around us will often give us verbal or nonverbal feedbacks on how too far we are going. So quite interestingly, inter-/intrapersonal relationships are reliable yardsticks that we can use to measure how well or not so well we are doing with our work of personal growth. In other words, if your relationship with otherwise healthy and supportive people in your life starts to deteriorate in the process of personal growth, then it is time to re-evaluate how we are going about the process.
The ‘how’ is always important. Sometimes, people become lousy about their personal growth and end up irritating everyone around them by evangelizing about their new found processes. Weight watchers are the most guilty of this one. Once they have dropped a noticeable pound and start getting compliments, they start to preach about the process & conversations can’t go anywhere else except fitness & dieting. Yes, zeal is a good thing but too much of it can become a problem. There are things that make up the process of personal growth and they all come together to form a routine. The goal is to be disciplined about keeping up with routine without becoming inflexible about other aspects of life, and to hold ourselves to our standards without expecting other people to live by the same standards curated by us.
In conclusion, there is a lot that we can achieve through regular personal growth & reinvention of ourselves. Start by defining what personal growth means in your own way, identify what motives trigger your desire for personal growth, look for markers of positive transformation for you, and apply mental discipline by refusing to evangelize about your processes.
Do you have a story about a process that once triggered you into seeking self-transformation or an information on best practices for transformative personal growth? Send us an email and your story may be published next!