Personal Growth is a Long and Arduous Journey
Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. ~ Jim Rohn
Do you want to improve your life? Are you committed to changing your conditions? Many people will answer yes to these questions, though it is my experience very few people are dedicated to improving their life. This is because the work is difficult, unending and filled with setbacks and disappointments. It is often lined with unpleasant emotions and digging up the past to heal and transform our wounds. But there is no other way than doing the difficult work of attending to our personal growth. It cannot happen overnight nor in thirty days, as many books espouse because this is only skimming the surface.
Everything taking place in your life right now, whether unwanted or not, is the accumulation of your thoughts and beliefs. This is empowering for many reasons least of which means you have the power to change your future by redirecting your thoughts. How do you feel about this? Does it make you unhappy that your life’s conditions result from everything you’ve ever thought? Whilst I understand you might feel this way, you may also see the power to create new circumstances for your life from this point forward. As I alluded to earlier, personal growth is a long and arduous journey with many setbacks and detours. Those who embark on this journey give up because of the difficulties they face.
I liken it to the Navy Seals BUD/S program where only 20 to 30% of candidates will graduate. The training is extreme and purposefully designed to weed out those not equipped to become Navy Seals. In some respects, personal growth is the same if you’re not willing to do the work to improve your life. We cannot expect to do little work on ourselves and be awarded the riches of life, it just doesn’t work that way. Read any biography on those who reached the pinnacle of success and you will learn about the struggles they endured. I’m reminded of the quote by the former American football player and coach Lou Holtz who said: “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.” He was affirming that adversity builds character and contributes to our growth and development.
What Happens When the Going Gets Tough?
Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. ~ William Faulkner
Therefore, to improve the quality of your life, avoid focusing on results but aim to get better instead. The goal is to build on your success while noting areas of improvement. For example, I wrote an article recently where I observed two people talking throughout an entire workshop I attended. Years ago, I would have been angered by their lack of courtesy and let them know about it. Think of those who talk throughout an entire film and ruin it for everyone else. However, I sat with my emotions and noted where I experienced the anger in my body. In the next instance, something unexpected happened. I felt compassion for these two people. I was overcome with a sense of peace and harmony because behind the anger was the realisation that only love exists. To reach this loving and peaceful state, we must first experience the anger, yet many people are quick to act on their emotions which prevent them from reaching love, compassion and inner peace.
Is this beginning to make sense, in that getting better should be our focus instead of wishing our lives were different? Are you willing to do the work no matter what it takes? Obviously, you are invested in your personal growth because you are reading this article and maybe even sharing it with family and friends. But what happens when the going gets tough and you hit a hurdle in your personal growth? How do you react? Who do you become? I have encountered many setbacks over the past decade, yet I have experienced enormous growth during these times. Life will present us with the experiences needed for our personal growth when we least expect it. We can embrace the lessons or resist them, however, they will continue to show up in a different form until we accept what is taking place.
So for now, I’d like you to give some thought to the areas of your life you want to improve. Write down in your journal/diary or on a piece of paper what you would like to improve about your life. Is it your finances, health, love life, career? Be very specific about what you want. Don’t focus on what you don’t want in your journaling. Second, what is required to change your circumstances? You might think you need to hire a life coach or invest in an expensive course but sometimes it is simpler than that. It may be as simple as not complaining for the next thirty days. It might require investigating your beliefs and forming new ones. The point is: everything you need to change your life is right at your fingertips. As you move through your personal development, the next resource will be made available to you. Therefore, to improve the quality of your life, stop focusing on results and direct your attention to enhancing the life you’re living now.