Have you ever found yourself stuck in life?
Like it is moving on, yet there is an emptiness and you feel like you ought to be doing something to move to the next level.
You are contemplating self-growth.
Where’s the catch though?
That often you don’t know what needs to be done exactly.
Because personal growth is a life question – it stands in the league of complex and essential life questions like –
- How to be happy?
- What is the meaning of life?
- What is the purpose of life? etc.
The cool thing is, just like all those questions, this has an answer too.
An answer that is tailormade to your needs.
So let us get down to the details of the subject, and pave a clear path to tread on.
What does Self-Growth Mean?
Self-Growth means knowing yourself and growing yourself in all dimensions of your life to a point where you constantly feel joyful and fulfilled, and completely in sync with the world around you.
But wait, that is my definition. What does self-growth mean to you?
So, before we get to outlining your path to self-improvement, it is important to understand the subject in its whole context.
There are tons of definitions that one might come across for self-improvement. Let us look at some popular ones –
So, because self-growth means different things for different people, it is important to derive a common attribute of it.
Whether you look at self-growth as a higher spiritual goal of life in the way of knowing oneself better, or an ongoing exercise to become a better version of yourself in your everyday life, it is the process of fulfilling a gap that currently exists in your life.
There may be different ways to define it, but one thing that is the core of it all is ‘FULFILMENT’. Because what is self-growth without being fulfilled?
Isabella, a fellow self-improvement blogger asked 389 people what personal growth means to them and shared the answers. Going through the answers makes it clear that each and every person is looking for ‘fulfillment’ in one way or another.
Don’t you want to know why you, and all these people want fulfillment so ardently?
Why is Self-Growth Important
Simply put, because you are wired that way.
Let me explain –
And unless you are one of the rare masters who are born self-actualized, you can go on bettering yourself your whole life, until you become ‘everything’ – you become ‘perfect’ or in other words ‘self-realized’.
Do not believe anyone who says perfection cannot be achieved. You just need to better understand the meaning of perfection.
Your proof of perfection is in your own life experience –
Whether you are looking to peak the ladders of the money world, training to chisel a better body, or aiming at good old personality development – once you get there, you feel satisfied only for a short period of time. Once the high is over, you want more!
Well, until you reach self-realization or self-actualization.
And chances are, if you are not moving forward consciously, you are decaying in one or the way.
Because life is a dynamic process. It is evolving every second, whether you notice or not – from a stone to a human being, energy is in eternal movement and nothing is stagnant.
And human beings are the only privileged species having the capability to grow ‘consciously’. And if you do not, you feel stuck and frustrated, basically unhappy!
That is at the heart of why self-growth is so important.
No matter our age, the noble act of engaging ourselves in activities that bring growth and satisfaction to us as well as the world around, keeps us both physically and mentally active, alive, and evolving positively.
While going from point A to B, it is essentially a process of knowing yourself better and better and transforming eventually.
Therefore, how self-growth can change your life, nothing can. And that is why it is indispensable.
The question is how to go about it. And this is exactly what we are going to discuss next.
How can I increase my Self-Growth
How many times have you attempted personal development and failed?
Thing is, a long list of ‘To Dos’ borrowed from the internet is not going to help you. Simply because self-improvement implies means different things to do different people and a seemingly simple step for one could be a journey for another.
Advice to ‘overcome your fears’ or ‘get up early in the morning’ appears easy in a bullet point, but when you get to it, things take on a different proportion altogether.
I have been there, I have failed too.
And from all my experience, I have realized that two things are pivotal for making things work in the world of self-improvement. The first is having a basic understanding of oneself & the other is the awareness of the process.
Only then can expectations be planned and met.
So, let’s get to it.
The Process of Self Growth and Development
By now you have recognized that Self Growth is THE core purpose of human life.
The thing you must be mindful about is that it should be an ‘ALL-ROUNDED’ self-growth.
It is important to cover all edges of your personality, or you can seem un-even, just like an uncut diamond.
The science of personality is so, that if you let one aspect slip away, your growth will be half-baked.
Think I am exaggerating?
Let me explain.
The ancient wisdom of the 7 Chakras is the purest science that explains to us the various aspects of our personality or planes of our existence. There are 6 of them –
- The Basic Necessities of Existence – Security, Certainty, Money, etc.
- Desires beyond the necessary – Indulgences of any kind
- Ego Fulfilment – Exploring self-esteem
- Love – Rising beyond the self and Connecting with the world around you
- Expression – Contribution to the world around you
- Intellect – Creativity beyond worldly pursuits and self-realizations
You will find the reference to these dimensions of human needs and personality even in the best of new age wisdom and coaching.
The Science of personality is a Universal truth and it holds true, no matter what your country, language, or colour.
The point is, there is growth within these dimensions, and these dimensions themselves are set in a vertical nature.
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Therefore, the key is in covering all ground by looking for growth in the right places, because if you keep looking for it in the wrong place, you will end up feeling stuck, frustrated, and joyless again.
What this translates to is this – You need to prepare the whiteboard of your life.
Let me explain.
Developing a basic understanding of yourself and your current standing
Let me ask you this, can you get onto self-development without having a basic idea of the self? YOUR-SELF?
Learning about yourself and your status quo, i.e., your strengths, weaknesses, and your status in all 6 areas of life, at this moment, is the foundation on which the skyscraper of your self-growth is going to stand.
Therefore, it is very important to write these things down.
You must do this exercise to find out where the gaps are. Also, to understand how you can use your strengths towards the goals you set while being aware of your weaknesses so you do not let them hinder the process.
This is what I mean –
Say your strength is that you are creative, and your weakness that you get bored often and leave things in the middle. And you have identified that you need to work on the area of money and career in your life presently.
The abovementioned dynamics will come into play as follows –
You choose a line of career or develop a side hustle (or an altogether new career, depending on your options and financial status quo) that gives you creative satisfaction, and make sure to follow through till you succeed and even after that to maintain it.
Because given your weakness for getting bored, you will start feeling bored even if you choose the work field of your choice. There will come a dip in the interest and you will think of quitting.
But wait. Hang on, believe in yourself, and make conscious decisions without falling through your tendencies of doing so.
Want to know how the whole process works right now? Here we go!
Creating your own Self-Growth Plan + Downloadable Workbook
Analyzing the self in terms of Strengths and Weaknesses
Before we get to identifying the areas of improvement, it is better to grasp our strengths and weaknesses that accompany the process of self-improvement.
Once we do this, we can think of the right things to do as per our strengths to bring improvement while keeping aware of the weaknesses that can befall us in a particular field of work.
I beg of you, do not go for a random SWOT.
It can be biased with your opinion of yourself in many ways – positive or negative.
Instead, take a psychometric/ psychological test that is developed and used by experts in the field.
It is the ‘Ferrari’ of strength tests and is also what I have used since 2016, and have found most easy and comprehensive in terms of understanding my strengths in context.
In case you are on a budget, there are some free strength tests available too, out of which High5 is the latest tool developed with AI.
That said, free tests are based on outdated descriptors and test questions.
The Gallup/Clifton StrengthsFinder test is backed by research spanning over 19 million people worldwide as of 2018 and keeps coming up with new data based on their findings.
When it is about your self-growth, you undoubtedly should want the best for yourself.
The standard version of Gallup that identifies your top 5 strengths is presently available for USD 20 and is good enough to get you going.
The full version for USD 50 provides insights for a deeper self-improvement plan.
Now, about finding the weaknesses – unfortunately, not enough research has been done or tests developed for this. Because they say let us focus on our strengths and not think about the weaknesses.
Question is, can we afford to do that?
Wouldn’t it be more effective to be able to see the pitfall and avoid it?
Assessing and being aware of our tendencies – both positive and negative is a very important part of the self-growth process.
Therefore, given present options, you can either take a quiz like this one from Playbuzz, or this one from Buzzfeed. You can find more on the internet, however, apart from the fact that they are not even remotely as well developed as the strengths-based tests, I took a couple of them and all of them give different answers.
They are not really designed for the kind of sincere exercise we are investing ourselves in.
Fortunately, I have found a fun way that works for me in finding out my weaknesses – a mixture of good old self-study and a keen ear to what my trusted lot has to say about me.
Here is what I am talking about –
You are going to send a few questions to a selected bunch of people you trust.
These people must be –
- A good mixture from different areas of your life
- People who have seen you at different stages of your life
Family, school friends, college mates, work colleagues, your spouse or partner – to name a few.
This is what you send them –
“I am diving in deeper into the process of self-improvement and personal growth and in the course, trying to understand myself better.
I think you are one of the people who understands me well. Therefore, may I ask you to take a few minutes out and answer the following question for me –
What do you think are my greatest strengths and weaknesses – essentially, things that I am naturally good and bad at. If you can think of more than one in each category, that would be awesome! Please explain your answer a little to help me understand it correctly.
Thank you for your support!”
Once you have these responses, sieve out the overlaps – which identify the core of your essential nature.
If what they are saying rings a bell with you, it surely is coming on your whiteboard. But if you do see something you do not agree with, do not outrightly reject it, give it a good eye of self-analysis at least once.
We did reach out to people asking for strong spots as well, as asking only for weaknesses would seem like an exercise in self-bashing and we don’t want that 😊
Also, getting insight into what my trusted ones think my strengths are, has proven to be a major bonus whenever I have done this exercise. You too will be surprised by their answers 😊
Once you have a grasp of your natural instincts, it’s time to analyze where you stand in all the key areas of your existence, to get started with the process of self-growth.
Analyzing the self within the 6 dimensions–
‘If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper questions to ask’ – Albert Einstein
My own personal growth journey started from a simple question. The question was – ‘Are you the kind of person you would like to live with?’.
All life-changing journeys start with the right question.
And, therefore, you should pay the most emphasis on asking the right questions of yourself.
That is going to be the whole process of analysing yourself within the 6 dimensions – asking the right questions and making a note of the answers while being mindful of your strengths and weaknesses.
Questions you should be asking yourself
- HEALTH – Would you call yourself healthy? If not completely, what is the one thing you would like to work upon?
- FINANCE – How is your financial stability? If not good, what is your road map?
- LIFE BALANCE – Would you call yourself a balanced person? What is the number 1 thing you would do to bring balance to your life?
- DISCIPLINE – Would you call yourself a disciplined person? Any habits that are working against you?
- OUTLOOK – What is your perception of this world overall – positive or negative? If positive, how would you like to contribute towards it? If negative, what improvement would you bring to yourself to cope up with it?
- CONNECTION – Do you feel loved? Or disconnected? Do you share genuine love and joy with your family, friends, and the world in general? What is stopping you? What are those one or two rituals that you would like to bring into your life to improve the status quo?
- COMMUNICATION – How would you rate your ability to express yourself? Do you hold back or tend to miscommunicate? How are you planning to get better in this area?
- EXPRESSION – The world is waiting for you, what contribution would you like to make to the world?
Are you mostly –
- experiencing a creative high
- stuck with taking in information non-stop
- feeling mentally dull?
What creatively stimulating activity would you like to engage in to go beyond your status quo?
- SELF STUDY
Are you struggling with the meaning of life? If yes, what do you plan to do about it?
Tada! Your personal growth plan is here
Creating a Hierarchy Sequence
Out of the 10 questions you answered in the section of analyzing the self, arrange them in the priority of most urgent to the least urgent. A hierarchy sequence for example –
- CREATIVITY – I will create a new course based on the information I already have to take my creativity to the next level.
- HEALTH – Lose 5 kgs and work towards healthier knees
- LIFE BALANCE – Plan out months to spend more time with my family to bring more balance to my life, which seems work-oriented at this moment.
- FINANCE – I am going to explore more sources of income including paid content writing, conducting Yoga sessions for resorts, and selling online retreats on consolidator platforms.
- DISCIPLINE – I am going to find inspiration and methods, enabling me to get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning
Arrange them all on a hierarchy timeline, not leaving even one. You may have your top areas of growth but the objective to touch and round up each area eventually.
For each area, make a note of which of your strengths you can use to deal with it and which of your weakness you must watch out for.
Creating your timeline – breaking each goal down
Once the priority is set, take the first improvement area you would like to work upon.
Put a date to when are you starting to plan around it, and another date when you will be ready with the detailed plan.
Distribute the actions you need to take on a 3-month, weekly timeline, which is going to be the plan right now.
Self-Growth is a long-term subject and therefore a yearly plan looks hazy in the beginning.
As you work on the initial plan, it evolves and you evolve too with a better understanding of yourself.
Therefore, going back to the dashboard every 3 months makes more sense than being stuck with a plan you made for an entire year.
Putting a deadline to a particular task is an absolute must as it helps you achieve it by giving a clear target and avoid procrastination to a great extent.
Likewise, make an action plan for each area and start working on them as per priority.
Follow up while being aware of your weaknesses
Now comes probably the most important part of this exercise – following up.
Be warned: All of us make plans all the time, but if we do not follow up on them, this whole exercise may bring minuscule achievement by itself.
Finding someone to be accountable to, helps most people. We often think we are strong enough to do this on our own, but we are still getting there.
Therefore, finding a friend or a mentor whom you trust is crucial. Share your plan with them and request them to follow up on each step.
I would recommend against bringing in our partners for this, as we are too emotionally vulnerable with them – it is good to keep love and self-work separate.
If you still decide to do it on your own, take the help of a Goal Tracking App. Search for ‘Goal Tracking Apps’ and you will see a lot of recommendations – take your own pick.
However, remember, nothing beats a human touch and accountability is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT factor in accomplishing your goals.
And to give your personal development plan an awesome kickstart, download this Fabulous Self-Growth Plan and Workbook PDF, for free!
Resources for Self-Growth and Development
Here are some resources that will encourage you, deepen your self-analysis, and help keep you on your path for per –
Best Self Improvement Books
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen. R. Covey
Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
Mindsight by Daniel J. Siegel
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor. E. Frankl
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravi Kant
Best Self Growth Influencers to Listen today
Pravrajika Divyapranananda – The Science of Happiness
Jiddu Krishnamurti – How does one break free of habits
Osho Rajnish – Rediscovering your joyful self
The above video links are examples only. You can sign up to the respective channels and keep getting benefitted from the evergreen wisdom of the Mystics of India.
What are examples of Personal Growth?
Here are some examples of Personal Growth from my life that might resonate with you –
- Not driven by my fears anymore – in personal or professional life. Left a well-paying job to explore my long-term goals
- Found my long-term professional calling – Yoga, and Writing, and building a career around it
- Have become better at having conversations and connecting with friends, colleagues, and family.
- Developed healthier eating habits and have also evolved into a much healthier person, more aware and discriminative of her needs and compulsions
- Have become a more peaceful and sorted person mentally and emotionally
Practical Tips and Ways for Personal Growth
There are certain key qualities and mind-sets that shall keep you steady on your way to personal development.
Think of them more like habits and traits that you develop within yourself and hang on to. And if you do, they will keep you from falling off the personal development trail.
These are –
- Keep the company or keep in touch with growth-minded people who are walking the same path as you, or at least agree to your path
- Listen to a motivational video or read something that encourages growth, preferably from the people of inner knowledge as given above, before going to bed
- Minimize your exposure to unnecessary internet surfing and stop bringing your mobile phone to bed. Try a mobile free week and see the difference in the clarity of your mind
- Every now and then, do something new that you have never done before
- Do not wait for people to come and talk to you, be the first to start a conversation
- LOVE YOURSELF, if you do not do this, nothing else will ever work. Wake up smiling every morning, look in the mirror and tell yourself ‘I love you’
- BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, or believe in nothing
NOTHING WORKS UNTIL YOU DO
By now you will have realized, you are not the same person anymore.
You not only KNOW what needs to be done, but you also know what needs to take priority to unleash your personal growth in the right direction.
The first thing to do is to commit yourself to this path and start with the self-growth plan and workbook given here.
Once you have your action list ready for the first area of improvement on the hierarchy list, start striking each point down one by one.
You can also work on two areas simultaneously, but do not try and take too much at once initially. As your actions on one area keep completing, keep adding other areas.
Now do it! Ask yourself how badly you want to get unstuck and move on to the next level and what happens if you don’t? How would you like that?
Go ahead, it is YOUR turn!