Wherever you go in the world, you'll find individuals who are reaching for something more. Not in terms of material gain, but in terms of their own personal growth. They view this commitment to personal growth as a key component to a life well-lived.
But a strong commitment doesn’t necessarily mean an easy journey, so it helps to know some of the challenges you’ll likely encounter along the way.
Here are five challenges you’ll face if you’re committed to personal growth.
1. You’ll have to get used to not having all the answers.
Achieving expert status in anything is a great feeling! There’s a sense of security that comes with being at the top of your game, knowing what you’re doing, and having all the answers. But anyone committed to personal growth recognizes that when it comes to life, you never really achieve expert status. You’re a perpetual student, continually learning and growing as you go forward.
If you’re committed to personal growth, you’ll have to get used to not having all the answers. This can feel unsettling at times, but it’s worth it, because it keeps you open to exploring and learning. Believing you have all the answers, on the other hand, can box you in; you wind up limiting yourself to what you already know and have already done. Over time, this can lead to a rigid mindset, making it hard to explore new ideas and perspectives.
If you’re willing to admit you don’t have all the answers, you’re perfectly positioned to discover something new, paving the way for growth.
2. You’ll have to accept that you’ve made mistakes.
This point goes hand in hand with the previous one about not having all the answers. Precisely because we don't know everything and we don't have all the answers, we make mistakes. Every single person, without exception. That includes the rich, the smart, the talented, the good-looking, and all those people who look like they have their lives totally together.
If you’re committed to growing as a person, you’ll have to accept that mistakes are part of life, and that you’ve made a few mistakes along the way. When you’re willing to admit your mistakes, you can examine them to see where you went wrong, what you could have done differently in the situation, or how you might have avoided the situation altogether.
You don’t want to get stuck in the past or start beating yourself up over all the things you’ve done wrong. You do, however, want to extract as much as you can from those past experiences, to help you grow and mature as a person.
3. You’ll notice that your relationships change over time.
If you’re committed to personal growth, you’ll be changing and evolving as a person throughout the course of your life. As you change inwardly, your behaviours will likely change as a result. It works in the opposite direction, too: as you your change habits and behaviours, this leads to inner changes.
At some point, your growth will impact your relationships. For example:
What do the resulting relationship changes look like? You might find yourself getting closer to some people as you develop deeper, richer, more meaningful bonds with them. At the same time, you might find that you don't feel as close to some people as you used to. You might find yourself drifting away from some company, perhaps even feeling a clear need to put some distance between yourself and some individuals.
You’ll also experience a change in who you attract and are attracted to, and the new relationships you get into. As you grow and your identity evolves, the new connections you form will reflect the new you. You may find yourself building friendships with people you wouldn't have connected with before.
4. You’ll sometimes wish you could adopt clear-cut, black-and-white thinking.
Have you ever met someone who sees everything in black and white, with no grey area? Someone who feels strongly about always holding to the rules no matter what the circumstances?
There’s an ease and simplicity to such an approach to problem-solving and decision-making. Operating based solely on rules and viewing everything through a black-and-white-only lens makes thinking easier. At times, it may even serve as a substitute for thinking. But if you’re the type of person who values personal growth, you probably don’t have this orientation.
If you’re committed to personal growth, you’re probably the type of person who questions the rules, believing there are occasions when rules need to be revised, bent, or flat-out broken. You see situations all around you that are characterized by shades of grey and that warrant a nuanced approach. In short, you’re aware of the subtleties, complexities, and complications of life.
This kind of sensitivity and awareness is an asset in situations that call for insight and understanding. At the same time, it's far more difficult to wrestle with complex problems when you don't have preset, quick and easy answers. Don't be surprised if you occasionally find yourself wishing you could adopt clear-cut, black-and-white thinking because it would make things so much simpler and easier.
5. You’ll need courage to embrace new experiences.
New experiences allow us to learn, and this learning leads to growth. But making our way through these new experiences isn’t always comfortable. The process can be unsettling, jarring, intimidating, and frightening. Like the child who stumbles and falls while learning to walk, we can find ourselves stumbling and falling as we venture out into new territory, whether it’s a new job, a new hobby, a new social activity, or a new relationship.
No matter how much you plan and prepare, there's an element of risk with any new experience. Things might not go exactly as planned. You might feel disappointed, or frustrated, or embarrassed. You might pick up a few bumps and bruises along the way.
If you’re committed to growing as a person, you’ll need courage to embrace new experiences. You may still feel fearful when facing the unknown, but courage will enable you to take a risk and go forward in spite of the fear.
What is your fear telling you? Should you push through it, or is something more going on? Discover what the fear you're experiencing really means.
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