I recently had the realization that I derive the most value from changing and growing as a person. New hobbies, that first bite of a well-executed recipe, realizing how foolish my perspective and actions had been the previous year, and particularly the journey started here with Grit + Dynamite – all these kinds of things help me realize a state of mind I could never describe and thought was only a reward for those that had “succeeded”.
It’s not that I didn’t believe in the idea of change and growth – I’ve sought out countless books and discussions on the subject and given the same advice whenever someone felt I was worth asking for input – but it didn’t truly register. I never had that moment where I sat down and looked back at the progression of my life and tried to understand that pattern that strung the upward swings together.
In all instances of positive progress – alterations of my life that I am proud of and look back on fondly – the catalyst was embracing the challenge ahead and truly believing in the need to change and grow as a person. And what I realized, and think many brilliant people articulate, is that once you honestly embrace the unique importance of growth and change, you appreciate the shockingly limited value that comes with having a rigid “identity”.
To embrace change and growth wholeheartedly, is to always be humble. To embrace new concepts and experiences. To eagerly state when you don’t know the answer and seek the truth. And to be a patient listener with well-intended peers and colleagues.
Have morals, mental models, and guiding mechanisms that help you live an honest and good life. Don’t fall into the traps of being amiable to your own detriment, and think that you can’t have an identity – but be fluid. Be malleable. There is no shame or indignity in admitting you changed your perspective based on new information. What is the alternative?
“Things are not explained by the past, they’re explained by what happens now – that creates the past. And It begins here. That’s the birth of responsibility.”
Live a life on your terms and take agency over the decisions you make. In whatever capacity you can. Making choices is inherently difficult for many. It’s certainly difficult for me. But I know fundamentally that to live a full life – a life that I am proud to live; one where each day I see possibility rather than dread – is to fully embrace change and growth. And part of that is tearing down mental walls, ideologies, and pieces of your identity that you held for a really long time. It is difficult, and it is never ending. But I have not found any other approach that gives me a better return on my investment of time, the most precious of all resources.
The opportunities to make choices to change and grow as a person are all around us. They wait for us in our sleeping habits, on the dinner plate, in our engagement with technology, and with how we interact with those we care most about and who enrich our lives. The past is over. It will not return. You do not have to be that person. Who do you want to be?
See you tomorrow.
Inspirations: Alan Watts, Naval, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Quote: Alan Watts