We can have more than we’ve got because we can become more than we are. – Jim Rohn
What does that mean?
To me, this speaks of growth. As we grow, we become more than we are (or were, to be more precise). As we become more, we can do more, and we can have more because of that.
Look at a career. You start in the mail room (or washing dishes, if you prefer restaurants to the shirt-n-tie of the business route). Then, as you grow in understanding of the business, you are given more responsibilities and more opportunities, which lead to more growth. You started at minimum wage, and a quick twenty some years later, you run the place, pulling down the kind of cash the teenage version of you couldn’t even have dreamed of.
Why is growth important?
It has been said that you are either growing, or you are dying. I’ve made my choice, how about you? But seriously, are you done growing? Do you have all that you want, all the things, all the people, all the skills, all the knowledge, everything? Are you just going to sit there and wait for death to claim you? We’re all still growing. Just by learning from a mistake, our knowledge and skill base has grown, right?
Growth comes in many forms, and most people think of kids and physical growth. My kids have three separate steps in each cycle of growth: intellectual, emotional and physical. They’ll go through a phase where ideas and concepts that they were struggling with for weeks just click and then the next dozen concepts make sense within days. Then they go through an emotional growth stage, learning more about themselves and how their emotions work (or don’t). Then they start eating everything that isn’t nailed down (and if they can pry it loose, it wasn’t nailed down!) and do the physical growing.
Do you have growth patterns? Can you read and pick up new ideas (intellectual growth) for days and weeks and months on end? Or do you burn out and have to take some time growing in a different area of your life? As an engineer, I am always learning. Technical journals, seminars, books, seminars and more. And that’s just for work! I also mix in martial arts (growing towards some semblance of coordination and grace), wood working, modifying of just about anything I think needs improvement and whatever else comes my way. I also put time into growing as a husband and as a parent (two of my most important jobs). How about you, do you have a growth plan, a personal development plan, or are you drifting through life?
Where can I apply this in my life?
When I first heard this quote, it sounded very consumer oriented. I thought, “Well, yeah. I’ve now got a bigger garage, so now I got more stuff than I used to!” But on closer examination, if what you want to get is knowledge, you can have more knowledge than you have now because you can grow and be more than you are now. If you want more friends than you have now, you can grow and become more friendly (and likable) than you are now. It actually is worded in a rather universal way.
The change in me came at work. They had a meeting for a Personal Development Plan. It was the company trying to help us become better employees (and hopefully more likely to stay with them). We talked about what our career goals were five and even ten years down the road.
It was, to me, a novel concept – setting a direction for my life that was farther away than the next road trip. And it was focused on growth, and it was being planned out. Hmmmm, I said to myself. This sounds interesting. Is this something that could be useful in my life? In case you hadn’t guessed, the answer is yes.
Grab that piece of paper and start writing down all the areas of your life where you are done growing, you have all you are ever going to need already. Now, for the longer list: the things you know you want to improve, the places where you already know that you need to grow.
Depending on how you group things, you might have several personal categories, professional, social, intellectual, hobby or other categories where you want (or need) to grow. Choose one category and select one of the aspects that you wish to work on growth in.
We’ve done this before, but let’s brainstorm all the different ways we can get growth or gain knowledge. Are there books that might help? Classes at the local Community College, private school or from a local expert? Do you have a friend or know of a club that does what you want to grow better at doing?
As an example, I needed to be more physically active, and chose Martial Arts as a venue to work on growth in strength, coordination, grace and stamina. I could have done it by books, by DVD’s, over the internet or remotely (send in video tapes). Being kind of old school, I found a Dojo and learned directly from a master.
Look at your options (you can open another window and search for resources if you want). Now determine your budget in terms of cash and time. What is the best fit of your desires and budget? Life can be tough sometimes, with champagne tastes and a beer budget. But you have to make it fit in with your life and lifestyle, so something has to give. The details you will have to work out, of course.
You can repeat this for any of the other items in any of the categories you have on your list. Some might not be immediate, you might want to revisit this list in late December, to help map out what you are going to be doing for the next year. Or, if your years are measured from September to May, you might want to start looking at the list each summer. Keeping the list might also prove to be humorous in a few years, when you realize that you already learned some of those things, and others were just fads. How many of you are old enough to have taken Disco lessons?
Whatever you are going to do with your life, put aside a little time to grow, to become more than you are. If you think life isn’t that great now, just think of how much better it could be. If you think life is already great, just imagine how much better it could be.