“Why is world history and evolution not stories of progress but rather this endless and futile addition of zeroes. No greater values have developed. Hell, the Greeks 3,000 years ago were just as advanced as we are. So what are these barriers that keep people from reaching anywhere near their real potential? The answer to that can be found in another question, and that’s this: Which is the most universal human characteristic – fear or laziness?” – Waking Life
Everyday that we are alive and not personally or spiritually growing is a day that is wasted. If we’re not moving forward then we are moving backwards, or becoming stagnant. If we are going backwards or becoming stagnant then we are dying. We should strive to reach higher levels of growth in our lives every second of existence. When we are continuously growing our lives are filled with much more meaning and purpose. But personal and spiritual growth is not something that just happens overnight. It takes a lot of time, dedication, and patience. We are not striving to reach a destination but learning and experiencing from the journey itself.
So how do we live a life where we are growing and evolving everyday? How do we make sure that we are on the path of growth and not the path of death?
The first step is to realize what holds us back from growing and removing it from our lives. Once we remove the things that are inhibiting us from personal and spiritual growth we can start to focus all of our energy on moving forward. Let’s look at what prevents growth:
What Prevents Growth
Fear of Change
To grow is to constantly change. To be human is to continuously grow. If your desire is to remain what you are then this is ultimately what limits you. When you set out on a path of growth you will be experiencing a lot of change. Your beliefs will change, your outlook on the world will change, your views of other people will change, and ultimately your entire reality as you know it will change. If you are afraid of change or resist change then you are inhibiting your personal and spiritual growth as an individual. You must accept change in order to accept growth.
I don’t believe that change itself is what people are afraid of but fear of the unknown and what is to come. The anticipation of changing is usually a lot more frightening than the change itself. Some people resist change and growth so that they can remain in their comfort zone where they have this false illusion of safety. In reality, this illusion of safety can be taken away at any time: You can get fired from your job, get in a bad car accident on the way to the store, house catch on fire, get Robbed, etc… Anything can happen so you should live every moment to the fullest without letting fear hold you back.
If you don’t change your situations then your situations will change you. Take control.
Laziness robs a person of a sense of accomplishment, a sense of self-worth, and self-development. How are you going to learn anything, pick up a new skill, or develop a talent if you’re too lazy to get up and do something? Laziness leads to poor health, low self-esteem, lack of hope, and low self-confidence – among other things. If laziness is the determining factor of your behavior, then you’re missing out on much of what this beautiful world has to offer. Get off your arse and start making some changes.
I really hate the saying ignorance is bliss. I hate it even more ’cause it’s true. As the old saying goes, out of mind out of sight. It’s really easy for us to be ignorant because it allows us to live life in our comfort zone. When you are not open to any new thoughts or anything that doesn’t fit the reality that you have come accustom to, you can easily reject it. You are set in your ways and you don’t have the pressure of changing because you don’t think about the change.
A simple example to think of, is someone who lives in a messy house or lives an unhealthy lifestyle. As long as they are comfortable living that way and nothing comes up to question their belief – such as someone coming over to their house that makes them wish it was clean or when a doctor informs them that if they keep up this lifestyle they won’t live another ten years – then they will continue to live that way because they are ignorant to living any other way.
If you want to personally and spiritually grow everyday then you must not be ignorant. You must reflect your own life and see what you need to work on, what needs to change, and what you need to do to make that change happen.
Ignorance doesn’t make the problem go away. It only pushes away the problems until we are forced by our situations to face them.
If you become self-righteous you completely cut off your path of growth. This is one of the biggest things that inhibit people from growing and most of them don’t even realize it. If you think that your beliefs and views are higher than everyone else’s, and that you are better than everyone else, then there is nothing new to learn outside of your own reality. There is no reason for you to grow because you believe you have already learned everything there is to know.
It has been proven that the less people know, the less they recognizing their own incompetence, which leads to inflated self-assessments. Or, in other words, the less people know the more they think they know. If you ask any wise person how much they know they will answer very humbly – they understand that the more they learn the more they realize they don’t know.
To get on the path of personal and spiritual growth you must deflate your ego and accept the fact that you know very little. The reality you know is filtered through the way you perceive it – which will change as you grow. If you believe that your perception is the correct one, then you will never want to change it and so you will never grow.
As the great philosopher Socrates once said, “All I know is I know nothing.”
How to Grow
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal is a great way to personally and spiritually grow. When we keep a journal we are using the greatest tool for self reflection and self discovery. This allows you to get a good perspective and realization of where you are at on your path of growth. Once you realize where you are at then you will know where you need to go. Keeping a journal will also show you things about yourself that you never knew. It will help you to discover who and what you truly are.
Besides just personal and spiritual growth there is a lot more benefits to keeping a journal. A journal will keep a record of all your experiences and memories that you will most likely forget later on in life. A journal is also a great to vent unhealthy thoughts and emotions that you have been holding on to inside. If you start keeping a journal now then you will be very happy that you did in 2 years, 5 years, or even 20 years. When you get older and look back at your old journal entries you will realize just how much you have grown since that time and this will help you to stay motivated and remain on the correct path.
Setting goals and sticking to them is essential in personal and spiritual growth. If you don’t set goals and accomplish them then you are like a drifter just floating by with no direction or purpose. Setting goals will give you something to strive for and work towards.
Goals will allow you to concentrate your time and energy into more resourceful and efficient uses. They provide you with motivation and desire. They also make it easier to organize all of your priorities. When you set goals and accomplish them your personal and spiritual growth will excel more than you can imagine.
When you reach higher levels of growth it becomes your responsibility to help pull other people to those higher levels. Not only does this benefit all of humanity, it benefits yourself more than you can imagine. Set examples and be a role model for the world.
When you are more self aware in life you will learn much more and grow much faster. Stop living life like a zombie that just goes through life day by day that doesn’t even have to think too hard. Start living like a conscious human being.
Take Time Each Day For Yourself
You should take at the very least 30 minutes out of your day for yourself. Forget what tasks you have to work on or what needs to get done. Forget all of your problems and just take some time to enjoy the moment. You should turn off your television and unplug or turn off your phone so that you don’t have anything distracting you. This is a great time to just relax, meditate, visualize, or just enjoy the moment of living in the present.
Learn From Experience
Every experience that we go through in life provides us with something to learn from and allows us to grow. Whether it is good or bad, big or small, life changing or something we go through everyday, we can still learn from it. Usually life’s greatest lessons come in the smallest details. We just have to pay attention to them. Start paying attention to the omens all around you guiding you on the correct path.
Learn From Others
Every single person can also provide us with something to learn. Look at every person that you know and every person that you meet and listen to them. Understand them. Observe the world from their perspective. This will give you a greater understanding to why people act a certain way or believe in a certain thing.
You would be surprised just how much you will grow by implementing these things into your daily life. If you are ready to get off the path of stagnation and switch to a path of continuous growth then the time is today, right now.
Resolve. Change. Grow. Evolve…… and above all, be happy!