A few random thoughts on growth, prompted by some observations of myself, friends, and coaching clients.
Boredom is good. It means that you've reached a new level. Staying bored is really bad, because it means that you aren't moving on to the next thing. So enjoy it for a moment, and then make sure you don't feel it for a while.
People generally grow in one area at once. If you're trying to make too much progress in too many areas, you're risking none of them succeeding. If you focus on one thing, track it, and course-correct, it will probably work eventually . You can maintain or slowly improve others.
Results don't always come at the same time as process. So sometimes you work on all the right things, see metrics improving, but the results still aren't there. That's okay, it's still growth. Sometimes the opposite happens and results all come at once, thanks to work you've put in in the past.
For example, if you're working on storytelling, empathy, hitting the gym, and getting out there and talking to girls, it may still take a long time before you actually meet someone and find a great girlfriend. Or if you're improving your work habits it may take a while for you to find the right application.
The point of growth isn't that you're not good enough, it's that growth is the process of engaging with life. There's no conflict between being happy with who you are and enjoying the moment and trying to become even better.
If you aren't trying to grow, then you've either lost your ambition or you're arrogant enough to think you can't get better.
Growth on its own is good because you learn about yourself and your process for self-improvement. Growth applied towards something you actually care about is a whole lot better. Make sure you're choosing your targets, not society or someone else.
Coasting is very easy, as is doing what your peers do. Surround yourself with other people who focus on growth. As time passes you won't look with envy upon those who didn't focus on it. With the right group of friends, growth becomes almost automatic because it's hard to stagnate when no one else you know is.
Photo is some nice tea I bought here in Chengdu, China. I'm traveling here with my girlfriend for another few days. Cool city!
Sorry this one is a little short. The other posts I have in mind are long and ambitious and I've had a lot of work to fit in while traveling.
Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing. laxman
Hi, since you're the founder of Sett I'm hoping you can help me. I can't figure out any way to contact you or anyone else at Sett via email so I'm resorting to messaging you on your blog. Sorry! I've sent emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and received no reply. I deleted my account and yet I still get billed. How do I cancel my account? I can't find any "contact us" or other way to contact customer service. Can you please help?
My wife is also from Chengdu. . . Best time of year to be there is now. . it SUCKS in the winter. (pollution, damp cold with no indoor heating or insulation). The food is amazing if you can handle the spices.
Thats look like green beans. I don't see any tea:)))
it's always been my weakness to have TOO many irons in the fire and none get completed. I try to detach from the outcome and observe the lessons while doing whatever the process is for a particular skillset, but I get stagnant with never being totally finished. "Some day" never seems to find me...
I used to dislike to work. I saw how most people lived their lives, slogging through work that they hated, and I was determined not to fall into that trap. I made the mistake of generalizing, lumping all work together in the same bucket.
Since then, things have changed. In terms of monumental personal life changes, becoming a hard worker is the most recent one I've undergone. About a year ago, for reasons I touched on in this post, I decided that it was imperative for me to become a hard worker. I didn't do it because I had suddenly fallen in love with work, but rather because I had began to feel as though I was behind. And believe me, it wasn't love at first sight.
To fall in love with hard work, you must understand why it's necessary. When I was young I was told that sugar was bad, but I never understood exactly why it was bad, so I kept eating it. Only when I learned how it chemically affected my body did I finally give it up. The same is true of work-- if you don't know why you have to work hard and love it, you'll probably never actually do it.
Work is your gift to the world. That sounds corny, but it's true. And believe me, you owe the world a gift or two. Think of all of the various things that millions of people around the world have done for you to enjoy the life you have. They made up languages, invented stuff, procreated at the exact right times to create your ancestry, and managed to not kill each other in the process. We're lucky to be here, and the high standard of living we all enjoy now is only because of those who came before us. Some, like Einstein, had huge impact, but even people you don't notice, like the janitors, are making your life better.
Jason Shen has achieved tremendous success in athletics, technology entrepreneurship, writing, and living an outstanding life. To promote his recent GiveGetWin deal on The Science of Willpower, he sat down to tell us how he started learning about willpower, the state of what's known scientifically about how willpower and the brain work, and how you can start improving your life right away by implementing a tiny habit, thinking and systems, and using some powerful thinking tools. Enjoy:
Developing Willpower by Jason Shen, as told to Sebastian Marshall
Willpower has been an undercurrent in my entire life. In gymnastics, you have to use your willpower to overcome your fear of an activity and go for the skill you want, to get over the fear, to push yourself to finish your conditioning and strength training a part of you doesn't want to…
It didn't come automatically to me. When I was a student, I wasn't automatically self-disciplined. There were actions I knew were useful, like doing my homework in one session without getting distracted, or not throwing clothing on my apartment floor. But I wouldn't always do them, and I didn't know why.
I started to learn those answers during a student initiative course at Stanford called The Psychology of Personal Change. That's when I first started reading academic papers on the topic. In academia, willpower and self-discipline is often called "self-regulation," and in 2009 I started to get really serious about it from an academic perspective -- and saw gains from it in my personal life.