Growth is a lifelong journey. I believe from the moment we enter earth until we are no longer here, we grow. At least, if we choose to.
Two types of growth
There are two types of growth. There’s forced growth, which comes when life throws a seemingly endless amount of challenges at you, in which you are forced to grow, and the other type is growth by choice. For now, let’s discuss the former.
Forced growth happens all the time. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are forced to grow continually. By definition, forced growth is when something happens to you, and there’s no other option but to grow if you want to change the outcome. For example, if you are in gym class around a bunch of kids playing basketball and the ball flies and hits you in the head, chances are, next time you’re around those kids playing, you’ll be more careful in paying attention.
You see, this is forced growth because you had no choice. You didn’t choose to get hit by the basketball, and really, you didn’t have to choose to pay more attention the next time around to avoid getting hit. You could have just kept getting knocked in the head, but no one likes that, now do they? Point being, growth was forced upon you by a life moment.
Growth by choice
The other, more meaningful type of growth, is by choice. There’s always something to be said for the individual who wakes up and immediately starts seeking growth. You could wake up every day and not do a single thing. You wouldn’t be able to live a fruitful life seeing as you would have no shelter, job, or much else. But past this, you could have a stable career with a house and live a “normal” life with materialistic items such as cars, computers, etc., but not grow at all, outside of the forced kind.
Growth, by nature, involves action. When we are young, we first think of growth as a tree. A tree starts as a little seed, then grows a trunk, and eventually grows branches, among branches, among branches. We begin to think of it as an analogy with our height. How we grow from little children to tall adults, gaining inches every year. But these are natural forms of growth, and we don’t choose them, they just happen.
A chosen form of growth comes from picking up a book, reading it, comprehending it, and walking away with new-found knowledge. It’s this type of growth I feel we must choose throughout our lives to feel fulfilled and most complete.
Decisions, decisions, decisions
By deciding to grow, you can enhance your mental cognition, physical endurance, or spiritual understanding. There is so much to be had when you choose to grow. If it’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s growing through learning. By reading, writing, painting, walking, breathing, talking, listening, etc., you become an open book. What used to be an empty room in your brain is now filled with knowledge and useful information.
“Learning, like growth, is a never-ending quest.”
Considering time is our most valuable asset, what better way of spending it then with growth. Make no mistake about it; growing isn’t just reading books and expanding your knowledge; it involves real-world experience like putting yourself in awkward situations and living life outside your comfort zone.
Often, my girlfriend tells me how well-spoken I am. How, with a little time, I can make anything sound enticing. She says this isn’t only the case in my writing, but when I hold a conversation. She says she doesn’t know how I do it and wishes she could speak more naturally like me. My response to her wasn’t exactly what she was expecting.
While I believe each of us is born with unique gifts, I worked hard and chose to grow to get to where I am today. The same goes for my writing and conversing. Soon, my girlfriend has to record herself for a college course she is taking, and she’s extremely nervous and frightened by public speaking. I told her I once was, too. Honestly, I still have issues with it. I told her I used to stutter on my words and sweat profusely during class presentations and job interviews. Funny enough, I still do the latter.
But I told her that in my most recent interview for the position I am currently in, it was my best to date. Not because the interview was easy, not because I knew the interviewers, not because I was thoroughly familiar with the job description, but because I chose to grow. You see, all of the countless job interviews I had where I stuttered, mumbled, and completely answered the proposed question wrong because I couldn’t remember what I wanted to say, let alone the question, was uncomfortable and embarrassing. But do you know what happened? I grew.
“Growth is an endless journey to better yourself.”
It wasn’t forced growth, either, because I chose to go to the interview. Embarrassment after embarrassment, I would get upset. But I knew one thing to be accurate, with each time, I got more confident. More confident in what I was saying, how I was saying it, and who I was, rattling off answers with the utmost certainty to the interviewers. Feeling confident in myself and knowing that I prepared myself for the very moment. Yet, the preparation started way before I sat in that chair for the interview. At home, I watched countless interview videos and practiced endlessly.
However, if I never put myself in those uncomfortable situations, I would never have grown. I would have stayed the same, a shelled up version of myself, never seeming sure of what I was saying, but I didn’t. Because no matter how many times I practiced, there’s no replacement for the real thing. Only by making myself uncomfortable, did I truly grow.
The moral of the story is you must choose to grow. There is forced growth that will happen to you regardless because of life, and then there’s the more rewarding kind, the one you choose. The type of growth you wholeheartedly choose is special because no one can ever take it from you. Choosing growth in the first place, and taking on any resistance brought against you with that decision, means something. By choosing to grow, you’ll be thankful forever and ever.