It’s the six-letter word everyone aspires to. The evidence that we are not where we used to be. Proof of our progress. The desire for growth is embedded in the human psyche; there’s hardly anyone who, for instance, would not have it listed as a new year resolution—either overtly—or covertly. The quintessential human aspires to be more; he yearns for others to see him and be able to tell that there’s been a marked change. One that has little to do with physical looks and everything to do with an evolving mind which translates to an all-around richer existence.
The process of growth is however not easy. It’s the antithesis of all we are familiar with: our comfort zone. The transformation from who we used to be to the person we currently are can be a frustrating process laden with drudgery and attendant struggles.
Imagine the mathematician; the one whose love affair with numbers predates even the awareness of himself. He is one who loves all things figures and has charted a path that will ensure he plays to his strength. He ends up becoming an accountant or a financial analyst—his dream job.
But after his recent promotion to the position of a Finance Manager, he realises he really needs to learn to write; draft proposals, enhance his business communication skills. He is wary, he hates to write. He remembers how he had to rewrite his high school final exams because of his low grade in English. He was relieved and delighted to have finally passed his exams and more or less swore he was done with his least favourite subject. But now, many years later, he has to confront his “demons” again. So he huffs and puffs and endures the grammar lessons he takes; wondering whether it will be worth it as everything always sounds so confusing.
Fast forward to a couple of months later, he begins to observe that those email correspondences aren’t so difficult to pen anymore; he can now deploy the right tenses in his reports and he is pleasantly surprised that those sequence of words now come with better fluidity. He is growing! He cannot believe it, but it’s evident. He can see it, everyone else can see it too and he is happy.
That’s what growth does—produce results that make us take a second look at ourselves. We wonder if we are the same person, the once shy, timid, weak-kneed individual who was always afraid of being criticised; but who has now morphed into a bolder, more self-assured personality.
The end of a season is always a good time to assess growth. The first three months of the year have flown by—it’s the dawn of a new quarter—a fitting period to the measure progress made thus far. How far have you gone with those new year resolutions? Have you jettisoned them or are you on track regarding actualising your goals?
Growth is not limited to achievements in career or business, rather it’s a phenomenon that should permeate all facets of our lives. Any positive evolution signifies growth. The most minuscule departure from negative to positive is an advancement because you are not where you used to be. If you were a tirade champion and now, you are able to let things go after a few seconds of venting, you are growing. Perhaps you never could bring yourself to pray but now you have found a sparse rhythm of communication with God, you’re making headway.
Life is all about growth and time is a good measure of growth. The same way a newborn would be a source of worry if they made no attempt to walk or talk after a year, you should be concerned if you are simply winging life. You should be deliberate. You should desire growth and work deliberately to ensure you aren’t the same person you used to be.
The quest to be better should be top on the priority list of everyone. The ability to let go of things we would normally hold onto, transforming from the one who would instantly clap back at a perceived slight to this new person who chooses to ignore.
Growth is a symbol of strength. It is the hallmark of endeavour; the signpost along the road to success.
It’s why I hope you are growing. I really hope you are.