7 Principles of Growth (Part 1)
1. Choose what you want most over what you want now Whether we choose to believe it or not, we are a society of instant gratification, addiction and more. We want what we want, and we want it now. We have so much abundance that we consume foods, substances, technology, clothes and entertainment at a rate that we have become an addicted society. When we feel feelings, we tend to run away from them by eating chocolate or drinking beer to “take the edge off”, by going shopping or mindlessly browsing one of the social media apps or by binge watching a show on T.V. The sad part is, we have these underlying aspirations like, a healthy mind and body through eating well, exercise and discipline, that we value and never get realized because of the ease and comfort of our lives. I hear you say, people are hyper stressed more than ever now too. Yes, people are hyper stressed, but only as a byproduct of constant distraction and the inability or willingness to relax the mind without external stimulus. This leads to quick fixes. We have goals and virtues that we want to live by, but because we are unwilling to sit with our feelings, we cover them up as quickly as possible without a thought for what we truly want. We reach for that chocolate after dinner or that glass of wine every night because we “deserve” it, or because it is purely an unconscious habit. Don’t believe your own bullshit! We forget about our goals and aspirations for the quick fix. It is time to be disciplined and say no to what you want now, so you can say yes to what you want most. We deserve to be healthy, happy and strong and not a slave to our impulses. 2. Movement will change your mind and your mind will change your life Have you ever had a project or activity that you knew you needed to get done, but you found a way to procrastinate? Have you ever had a task that you knew was difficult or uncomfortable, but you let your mind tell you it is not that important? You can do it later? This is our ego, not in the Freudian sense, but in that animalistic, survival mechanism in our brain that only wants comfort. Whenever we have something that is difficult to tackle, most of us, unless you have trained yourself otherwise, will run away from discomfort. This is a survival mechanism in the brain. This does not make us a bad person; it simply means we have not consciously put ourselves in discomfort often enough to where we almost seek it out. By leaning into the discomfort of having that difficult conversation, making that apology, doing that workout that you know will suck, or taking that daily cold shower, we develop that “muscle” that inevitably strengthens our character. The point being, when we take positive action, no matter what our thoughts tell us, we develop a conscious action of doing the difficult thing because it is the difficult thing. So, when adversity knocks on our door, we don’t run away and hide. We answer the door and give it a hug. It is time we stop believing our thoughts of limitation and start leaning into discomfort. 3. What you do matters. Why you do it matters more. How you do it matters most! What we do matters. That is action. Why we do it matters more. That is motive and results based. How we do it matters most! That is process. Over the years I have heard so many people say “I will be happy when I lose 30 lbs” or “I’ll be happy when I start my new job” or “when the weather changes”. The common denominator here is when. We are looking to the future for happiness and tell ourselves we can’t be happy until we reach that goal. The part we do not understand that it is in the process that we become the people we want to be. It is not when we lose the 30 lbs. that we suddenly become more confident, happier with ourselves, have more energy, make better choices etc. It is in the process. It is in the daily decision we make that make us who we are. So, yes, what and why we do what we do is important, but how we do it makes us who we are. 4. Accept yourself first! Only then can you change yourself! This is one of life’s great paradoxes. We look to change ourselves, so we can accept ourselves, but we cannot truly change to who we want to be until we accept ourselves as we are. For years, I read self-development books, wrote articles and preached to other people about what was necessary to become the person you want to be. I knew mentally and intellectually what was needed to grow, but I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted in life because I didn’t do the work to see who I truly was in that moment. I did not dig deep to question my beliefs, attitudes, habits, values and thought patterns. I did not explore the unconscious and self-limiting patterns that were showing up in my life over and over again. It wasn’t until I did this deep work that I realized how I got to this point. It was in the acceptance of this reality that I was able to make the paradigm shift from mentally and intellectually understanding what need to be done to emotionally and spiritually understanding and embracing what needed to be done. It was only then that my life changed. Look out for Part 2 tomorrow!