Archives For 15 Irrefutable Laws of Growth

Growth Is Stimulated by Asking Why?

What really makes someone smart? Is it all the classes that they take, all the experiences they have, all the books they read?

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© – Fotolia

Sure, you need to be exposed to the information in order for you to learn from it.

But I don’t think that information and experiences REALLY makes someone smart. Don’t you first need the desire to learn, and that desire starts with curiosity, doesn’t it?

So what makes a person want to be more curious? In The Law of Curiosity John lists ten ways to cultivate your curiosity;

1. Believe you can be curious – For some people it starts with just wanting to. More people need to understand that the difference between success and failure is curiosity.

2. Have a beginner’s mindset – Can you ever learn something new if you already thing you know everything about it?

3. Make why your favorite word – Believe it or not, Thomas Edison was kicked out of school for asking why so many times. (If not we may still be living in the dark)

4. Spend time with other curious people – If the people around you don’t like to ask why, you’ll drive them crazy asking them why.

5. Learn something new every day – Yes, everyday!

6. Partake in the fruit of failure – Why did it fail, why did you fail, why did they fail? If you don’t ask why, do you ever get the answer?

Stop looking for the right answer – Look for a different answer.

8. Get over yourself – If your ego won’t let you admit mistakes you won’t learn from them.

9. Get out of the box – Do what you’re afraid of, do something you’ve never done, learn something new.

10. Enjoy your life – Why wouldn’t you, you have only one, why live it in misery?

It all starts with action, away from activities that leaves you with little imagination.

What are you curious about? If you struggle to answer this then think back when you were a kid.

Once you figure that out ask yourself what can I do to live it?

“Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”

   ~ George Bernard Shaw


You Have to Give Up to Grow Up

How many people think about what they need to give for more success?

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© fotomek – Fotolia

How many people think about what they do give up for more success?

Sure, you may need student loans to get a college degree, you agree to the trade-off when you sign the student loan documents. But in reality, are you really giving up to go up? Not immediately, but eventually. The real tradeoff is working enough to pay your tuition without having to rely on student loans. (Something I wish I would’ve put more thought into.)I think the real impact in tradeoffs is what you give up daily.

Do you get up an hour early to work out?

Do you read for an hour at night instead of watching an hour of television?

Tradeoffs really force us to make difficult personal changes and sometimes those around us don’t like those changes. So there’s another piece of the tradeoff that we sometimes forget.

Are those around us willing to make tradeoffs for your growth?

You see this happening when the spouse works an extra job so the other one can go back to school, or they watch the kids every night for two hours so the other one can study. That’s a tradeoff supporting couple’s make.

When you look at the following list of commonly made tradeoffs, which one would you like to become more intentional about making and why?

  • Financial stability today for potential tomorrow
  • Immediate gratification for personal growth
  • The fast life for the good life
  • Security for significance
  • Personal achievement for partnership with others

When you look at the list, or your own list, think about what you won’t ever trade for.

Sometimes people trade their values for what they think is growth, which usually involves self-interests. For me, those tradeoffs are never worth it.

When I see people rise to success quickly, I wonder what values they may have changed in order to get there. What were their tradeoffs?

What values will you not give up for what looks like success?

What do you need to give up to grow to the next level?

Growth Stops When You Lose the Tension Between Where You Are and Where You Could Be

Have you ever found a rubber band that hadn’t been used in a while? Was it stiff and brittle, did it break when you tried to stretch it?

© Xuejun li - Fotolia

© Xuejun li – Fotolia

It failed to stretch because it lost its resilience. If it was used frequently it remained flexible and was able to handle additional stress when needed. Isn’t that how we are? If you stop stretching in your profession, don’t you get old, brittle and useless? Times and professional requirements change, when you don’t stretch to grow in your profession you become less useful.

What happens to things that become less useful?

What happens to you when you can only hold together what you have and the boss gives you something else that makes you stretch? Does the extra work or going outside your comfort zone make you stretch, or cause you to snap?

Once again you need to research yourself and define your own potential.

What are your strengths?

What are you passionate about?

There are roadblocks in people’s lives that hamper their success and they don’t even know it, they are habits. What habits have you developed that have hindered your progress toward your potential?

What productive habits can replace the unproductive ones?

The harder question is, “What productive habits do you have that need to change to take you to the next level? This may be listening to an audio book instead of music when you walk or drive.

Once you start to see the areas of your life that have untapped potential and start to develop them, possibilities will emerge in those areas?

So where do you need to stretch?

Once you figure that out design a plan to grow in that area. If not you may just become old, brittle and useless.

“Only a mediocre person is always at his best.”

~ W. Somerset Maugham

Character Growth Determines the Height of Your Personal Growth

I don’t believe people give much consideration to the level of their own character. LadderThey also wonder why they struggle to improve their life.

What do you think your level of character is? Which one(s) would you not sacrifice?

Is it being honest to others? But you’re not honest with yourself when you sneak that dessert/cigarette/beer, when, “I’m the only one who’ll know.” I’m sorry, if you can’t be honest with yourself, isn’t it hard to be honest with others?

Do you get upset at someone for doing something to you but you’ve done the same thing to them?

Character development doesn’t just happen intentionally, you have to pay attention to your actions, and how those actions affect others. John has a ‘Character Ladder’ that has helped him increase his character height.

Rungs On The Character Ladder 

  1. I will focus on being better on the inside than the outside – Character Matters
  2. I will follow the Golden Rule – People Matter
  3. I will only teach what I believe – Passion Matters
  4. I will value humility above all virtues – Perspective Matters
  5. I will strive to finish well – Faithfulness Matters

Have you ever sat and listened to someone complain why they didn’t get hired for a position? Did you think to yourself, “I can see why the complainer didn’t get the job?” If you failed at something, the first step is to see what you did or didn’t do. People with low character blame others first for what they did not get or do not have.

In which of the following areas do you see the most room for improvement in yourself? How would your life be better if you grew in this area?

  1. Being Humble
  2. Being Teachable
  3. Being Willing to Serve
  4. Being Grateful

The stronger your character, the greater your potential.

“Achievement to most people is something you do… to the higher achiever, it is something you are.”  
~ Doug Firebaugh

Good Management of Bad Experiences Leads to Great Growth

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© masterzphotofo – Fotolia

How do you react to bad experiences? Knowing that everyone has bad experiences and no one likes them, how do you turn them into positive experiences? First, you need to face them. I think it’s too easy to put our bad experiences past us, but unless we learn from the experience, the chances of them happening again are greater.When you face the pain if a bad experience, what is your response?

  • I do anything and everything possible to avoid pain at all.
  • I know pain is inevitable, but I try to ignore it or just block it out.
  • I know everyone endures pain, so I just endure it when it comes.
  • I don’t like pain, but I try to remain positive despite it.
  • I process the emotion of painful experiences quickly and try to find a lesson in them.
  • I process pain, find the lesson, and make changes proactively as a result.

Of course your reaction to different situations may be different, but overall what is your reaction? I think people generally avoid reflecting on their bad experiences because they don’t see value in it. John lists a couple of ways you can turn your pain into gain;

  • Choose a positive life stance
  • Embrace and develop your creativity
  • Embraces the value of bad experiences
  • Make good changes after learning from bad experiences
  • Take responsibility for your life

It is vital for the longevity of the business for the leader to learn from bad experiences. An example could be how some of the automobile manufacturing companies failed to change and needed large government loans to stay operational. One company didn’t because they already made some of those hard decisions.

Whether it’s a personal or business bad experience, think of a problem and use the same process John uses when he encounters a painful experience:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Understand your emotion
  3. Articulate the lesson
  4. Identify a desired change
  5. Brainstorm numerous pathways
  6. Receive other’s input
  7. Implement a course of action

Remember, personal change requires action and sometime you need someone to help you along. You can do this with the help of a trusted friend or a personal coach.

What does the quote, “Every problem introduces a person to himself,” mean to you?


To Maximize Growth, Develop Strategies

This may be one of the hardest things to do to keep growing. No, not to develop a plan, the hard part is to believe that you need one.

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© luna2631 – Fotolia

When you stop planning your life, you stop growing and you start regressing. Nothing stays the same, if you stop growing everything around you is still changing and improving, and you’re not.When looking at the following list of areas in a person’s life, I would think that most of us plan our careers. But how many people plan other areas of their life? Here’s a list of life activities, do you let them happen by chance and which areas of your life should receive the most planning for growth?

  • Career
  • Faith
  • Family
  • Health
  • Hobby
  • Marriage
  • Personal Growth
  • Free Time

We know (or must people know) why you need to work, to fill our basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. Everything else is optional after that and the level of your basic needs is determined by your expectations. Some people are comfortable living on government subsidies, others would rather work to death then accept a hand out.

Both of these groups of people need to design systems to grow, but the first group either has a self-limiting mindset or just lazy. The second group doesn’t have time to design a growth system beyond work, and if they’re not advancing then that plan isn’t working either.

I think there are two basic reasons people don’t develop growth plans. Some people don’t believe that they should or need to and others think that it’s too complicated. In order to design a system that works for you John lists five questions to ask yourself when designing or refining your systems for growth.

  • The Big Picture – Will this system help you reach your big-picture goals?
  • Your Priorities – Is this system consistent with your goals?
  • Measurement – Does this system have a tangible means of determining your success?
  • Application – Does this system have a built in bias toward action?
  • Organization – Does this system make the best use of your time?
  • Consistency – Will you repeat this system on a regular basis?

I think another question you need to ask yourself before these five questions is; “Why?”

Why is it important for you to have a growth plan in specific areas of your life?

What are the benefits if you do? What are the consequences if you don’t?

Take some time this week to explore these thoughts.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.”   ~ Jim Rohn




Growth Thrives in Conducive Surroundings

© Ogerepus - Fotolia

© Ogerepus – Fotolia

When you think about your work place, is it a place where you can grow to the next level? Are there advancement opportunities? Are they in the area you really want to be in because it’s your purpose, or is it just for more money?When looking for the right environment to grow in you need to first look inside yourself. What is your purpose? Unfortunately, I think some people never find their true purpose and end up leaving life with regrets.

The two most important days in your life is the day you’re born and the day you find out what your true purpose of being born is. If you haven’t thought about it, then maybe it’s time to start that journey, it may be the most exciting one you take.

John lists a number of questions to answer true or false to about your environment you’re in (Think about each environment you are in, work, home, non-profit, volunteer group, etc);

  • Others are ahead of me.
  • I am continually challenged.
  • My focus is always forward.
  • The atmosphere is affirming.
  • I am often out of my comfort zone.
  • I wake up excited.
  • Failure is not my enemy.
  • Others are growing.
  • People desire change.
  • Growth is modeled and expected.

After answering these questions ask yourself what the next step should be. Have you reached the limits in your current position? The bigger question may be, “Am I even in the right job?”

Unfortunately I think some supervisors don’t foster a growth environment because they don’t encourage employees to take training classes. They think they need to be the smartest person. Well, that’s one of many reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to quit your job to find your passion. But, should you stay in a job that prevents you from pursuing your passion?

Remember growth comes best and effectively when your environment is aiding, not holding you back.

“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment you first find yourself in.”~ Mark Caine


Motivation Gets You Going – Discipline Keeps You Growing

© iQoncept3 - Fotolia

© iQoncept – Fotolia

When you think about being consistent at doing something, what is it? Besides things you need to do for basic survival like breathing. I was going to add eating and sleeping but that’s different for some people.

What do you need to do as consistently as breathing in order to improve? Not to the extent that you’re always doing it, but it’s an ingrained habit. Maybe it’s reading a daily quote or scripture.

If you struggle to find something that gets you excited when you think about doing it keep trying new things. You might not have found your true passion yet.

If you haven’t taken any personality type assessments like MBTI, Strength Finder, DiSC or one of many other types, check a couple of them out. They each have their own way of interpreting “you,” which is pretty accurate as long as you answer the questions truthfully.

When you can match your strengths to your passions, you’ve hit a home run. Now it should be easy to be consistent at doing what you like to do because it’s what you’re designed to do.

If you’re still struggling being consistent with growing John recommends taking the “The Why Test.”

  • Do you constantly procrastinate on important tasks?
  • Do you require coaxing to do small chores?
  • Do you perform duties just to get by?
  • Do you constantly talk negatively about my work?
  • Do efforts of friends to encourage you or irritate you instead?
  • Do you start projects and abandon them?
  • Do you avoid self-improvement opportunities?

Once you buy into personal growth you need to think about how to grow. Some people go to an event once a year and maybe a couple of day long trainings. The effective way to grow is to do those things, but to also do something daily.

In this chapter John describes how being goal consciousness is different than being growth consciousness.

Goal Consciousness                                                             Growth Consciousness

Focuses on a destination ___________________________ Focuses on the journey

Motivates you and others ___________________________ Mature you and others

Seasonal ___________________________________________________ Lifelong

Challenges you __________________________________________ Changes you

Stops when the goal is reached _______________ Keeps growing beyond the goal

Waits for growth to come ______________________ Takes responsibility to grow

Learns only from mistakes _________________________ Learns before mistakes

Depends on good luck _______________________________ Relies on hard work

Now I’m not saying to not set goals, but those goals need to be in your bigger growth plan. A goal in that plan could be to get a Master’s degree, that’s a goal that should be celebrated. So pat yourself on the back, reflect on why you’re in that field, and then find someone or something to add value to. Set your sights on the next goal and continue growing.

In light of your goals for the future, what is one thing you need to begin doing regularly? Perhaps more importantly, what is something you need to stop doing?

“The hallmark of excellence, the test of greatness, is consistency.”

~ Jim Tressel


Learning to Pause Allows Growth to Catch Up with You

I think reflecting may be one of the most forgotten activities known to man (and woman). Maybe the reason is because most of us don’t really know how to. Isn’t it strange, one of the most important activities to be successful and they don’t teach you how to do it in school.

© peshkova - Fotolia

© peshkova – Fotolia

The first step to reflecting is to find a place to do it, and then schedule the time. You can even build reflecting time into something you’re already doing. If you run, ride bike, or swim you can build reflection time into one of those activities. It may not be the ideal setting, but I think being intentional is more important.John outlines how to reflect by using your “I’s” when you take time to pause;

  1. Investigation – Pausing is about finding meaning in each experience
  2. Incubation – Like Crock-Pot cooking, incubation allows experiences and thoughts to grow to their own full potential
  3. Illumination – The process of placing value on your experiences and performance. “They either applaud you or prod you” – Jim Rohn
  4. Illustration – The process of expanding your experiences into teachable lessons.

One of the main reasons to reflect is to learn more about yourself. Who knows, this may be the reason why some people don’t reflect. John has ten Personal Awareness Questions to ask yourself;

  • What is my biggest asset?
  • What is my biggest liability?
  • What is my highest high?
  • What is my lowest low?
  • What is my most worthwhile emotion?
  • What is my least worthwhile emotion?
  • What is my best habit?
  • What is my worst habit?
  • What is most fulfilling to me?
  • What is my most prized possession?

Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich has a Self-Analysis Questionnaire For Personal Inventory which I’ve listed in the December 2012 Exploring Leadership Soulutions newsletter. But it doesn’t really matter what questions you ask yourself, just start reflecting, the questions and insights will come. To experience growth in a specific area of your life, ask specific questions to that area of your life.

In John Maxwell’s book, How Successful People Think he has a chapter on reflective thinking and states five reasons why it’s so important to do it;

  1. Reflective thinking gives you true perspective
  2. Reflective thinking gives you emotional integrity to your thought life
  3. Reflective thinking increases your confidence in decision making
  4. Reflective thinking clarifies the big picture
  5. Reflective thinking takes a good experience and makes it a valuable experience

Grab a journal or notebook and start reflective thinking. Your future success might depend on it.

 “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

   ~ Peter F. Drucker


 You Must See Value In Yourself And Add Value To Yourself

How many people do you know that don’t value themselves? Is that someone you?Now Is Your Time to Shine Clock Recognition You Deserve

How do you know if you don’t value yourself? I think it’s when you give up on yourself. Have you ever told yourself “I can’t do that,” even when it’s your dream?

You need to figure out what, inside of you, is holding you back.  John outlines a number of ways in The Law of the Mirror that helps us find the value in ourselves in order to realize that, “Yes, I do deserve to live my dream.”

You first need to evaluate your self-esteem, and if you don’t think highly of yourself, how do you expect anyone else to. The value we place on ourselves is usually the value others place on us.

John lists 10 steps to build your self-image.

1.      Guard Your Self-Talk

You first need to guard your self-talk because what we say to ourselves we believe. Interestingly, your conscious thought process has the ability to say yes and no, but your unconscious thought process cannot reject what the conscious thoughts have. The more you tell yourself that you can’t do something your unconscious mind will accept it.

2.      Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

If people are different why would you want to compare yourself to them? Instead, compare yourself to the person you were yesterday.

3.      Move Beyond Your Own Self-Limiting Beliefs.

When you tell yourself that you can’t do something you just gave up on yourself and your dreams.

John offers some solutions from Jack Canfield who outlines in his book The Success Principles, about self-limiting thinking;

  • Identify a limiting belief that you want to change
  • Determine how that belief limits you.
  • Decide how you want to act, feel, or think
  • Create a “turn around” statement that affirms or gives you the permission to act, feel or think differently.

4.      Add Value To Others.

If you add value to others you value yourself more. When you start to see that you can help other people you realize that you need to add value to yourself in order to add value to others.

5.      Do The Right Thing, Even If It’s The Hard Thing

How many times did you decide not to do something because you felt it was going to be too hard and take too much time?  You give up because you didn’t want to give something else up.

6.      Practice A Small Discipline Daily In A Specific Area Of Your Life

Do you want to improve in a specific area? Do you have it marked on your daily calendar? If you’re struggling to find the time, then maybe you need to STOP doing something else, what are your priorities?

7.      Celebrate Small Victories

It seems like people and businesses not only forget to celebrate small successes, but they forget to celebrate large ones. Did you keep your exercise schedule this week, treat yourself to something special. In order to build positive habits you need to have a reward system built into it.

8.      Embrace A Positive Vision For Your Life Based On What You Value

What do you value? What is your passion? Find the answer to these two questions and then you can find your vision.

9.      Practice The One Word Strategy

What is the one word that describes you? What is your strongest value? If you struggle with this question then how do you know what your guiding light is?

10.  Take Responsibility For Your Life

Do you go through your life feeling like a victim? Do other people treat you wrong? Are you always struggling to make enough money? Are you stuck in the same dead end job? Do you blame other people for your problems? If you answered yes to any of these, then you may have victim thinking. You can control how others treat you and how successful you are, it’s you’re responsibility to yourself.

Awareness: What is your level of self-image? Keep track of how many times you think or even say something negative about yourself.

Action: Once you become aware of how many times you think negatively of yourself you can start to change your thought process. Instead of thinking or saying something negative, stop and say something positive, or don’t say anything.

“Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to develop yourself.”

~ Denis Waitley