Personal Growth (1)
"Let the wise listen and add to their learning." Proverbs 1:5 NIV
Here are some things you need to know about growth:
(1) Growth isn't automatic. You're only young once, but you can be immature indefinitely. Each year the lobster is forced to shed its shell; it's a pity we aren't! Come on, if you don't make personal growth your responsibility it'll never happen. The road to anything worthwhile is always uphill, so the sooner you start climbing the closer to reaching your God-ordained potential you'll be.
(2) Growth today brings success tomorrow. What you sow today determines what you reap tomorrow. Oliver Wendell Holmes said: "Once stretched by a new idea, a man's mind never regains its original dimensions." So what are you doing today to become more successful tomorrow?
(3) Growth is your responsibility. When you were a child your parents were responsible for your growth, now you are. Robert Browning wrote: "Why stay we on earth except to grow?" Good question! Yet few of us dedicate ourselves to the process. Why? Because growth requires change and most of us are uncomfortable with change. Gail Sheehy writes: "If we don't change we won't grow, and if we don't grow we're not really living. Growth demands the temporary surrender of security. It means a giving up of familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, relationships that have lost their meaning. Taking a new step is what we fear most, yet our real fear should be the opposite." Can you think of anything worse than living a life devoid of growth and improvement?
Personal Growth (2)
"Get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you." Proverbs 4:7-8 NIV
Be teachable. The famous football coach John Wooden said: "What counts, is what you learn after you know it all." That's because the more you learn, the less you think you have to learn. When that happens you become - unteachable!
Never stay satisfied with your current accomplishments. The greatest enemy of tomorrow's success is today's success. Thinking you've "arrived" because you accomplished certain things is fatal! It takes away your desire for continued growth. Successful people don't sit back and rest on their laurels. They know that wins, like losses, are temporary. They understand that they have to keep growing if they want to stay productive. Some things get you to the top, other things keep you there. You must stay hungry. Refuse to settle in the comfort zone or let success go to your head. Enjoy it briefly, then move on to greater things.
Become a continual learner. A university study done a few years ago found that almost one-third of all physicians were so busy working, they were two years behind in the latest developments in their field. Heaven help their patients! If you want to be a continual learner, you must carve out time to do it! Henry Ford said: "It's been my observation that successful people get ahead during the time other people waste." Carry your Bible, tapes and CDs when you travel. Seize every opportunity to keep growing. The secret to becoming a learner - is to learn something new every day! Listen, "Get understanding. Esteem her and she will exalt you."
Personal Growth (3)
"I guide you in the way of wisdom." Proverbs 4:11 NIV Before we leave the subject of personal growth, let's look at three more things:
(1) Refuse to plateau. It's tempting to find a plateau with comfortable stress, adequate finances and enjoyable relationships, without the intimidation of making new ones or entering unfamiliar situations. We all need to plateau for a time: to climb, rest and assimilate. But once we've assimilated what we've learned we must climb again. It's tragic when we've made our last climb. When that happens we're old, whether we're 9 - or 99!
(2) Pay the price. You'll always have to trade something you have in order to get something you want - like time spent on leisure activities; the price of further instruction; constant change and constant risks. Sometimes growth is just plain lonely. That's why so many of us stop growing; the cost gets too high! Solomon says: "Though it cost all you have, get understanding." (Prov 4:7 NIV) Teddy Roosevelt said: "There's never been a person in history that led a life of ease, whose name is worth remembering." Can you think of one?
(3) Find a way to apply what you learn. Don't let learning lead to knowledge - let it lead to action! If you're not changing as a result of what you're learning, it's because: (a) you're not giving your personal growth plan enough attention; (b) you're focusing on your liabilities instead of your possibilities; (c) you're not applying what you're learning. You've forgotten the all-important principle which says: "When you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves" (Jas 1:22 NCV).
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