In a fixed mindset, people believe that talent and intelligence are fixed traits. They spend their time documenting and defending their brains and talent instead of developing them, creating an urgency to prove themselves over and over. By contrast, in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Seeing themselves as a work in progress, growth mindset people tend to embrace feedback and accept failure as a learning opportunity.
Regardless of our mindset, I believe most people want to grow because growth is at the core of everything in our lives that gives us a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, and purpose.
What does “personal growth” mean? How do you define it? If you asked even the most successful people, few could provide a clear, cogent response.
Here are some great descriptions, gathered from some of my favorite authors. Which one of these resonates the most with you?
“Growth is a result of bad habits dropped, wrong priorities changed, and new ways of thinking embraced.” (John Maxwell)
“People who grow consistently are those who embrace the tension between where they are and where they ought to be.” (John Gardiner)
“You will never change anything in your life unless you change something you do daily.” (John Maxwell)
“In order to do more, I’ve got to be more.” (Jim Rohn)
“When your memories exceed your dreams, you’ve stopped growing.” (Andy Stanley)
And finally, here’s my favorite description, from author, business strategist and entrepreneur coach Dan Sullivan:
“Growth is always striving to make your future bigger than your past.”
I love this simple but compelling description. Think about what it means to “make your future bigger than your past.” It’s simple, but not always easy, especially as you grow older. Yet consider the implications of continuously enlarging your future. When you commit yourself to a lifestyle of making your future bigger than your past:
You’re living intentionally. That is, you’re constantly in pursuit of something bigger, better, and more purposeful.
You’re adding value–to yourself, and, more importantly, to others.
Your focus is forward, not neutral or backward.
You are often at the edge of your comfort zone, which is where life really happens.
You engage your imagination. You think BIG.
You’re not afraid to fail.
You are continuously challenged.
If these ideas arouse your interest in pursuing personal growth, I urge you to read Dan Sullivan‘s classic, The Laws of Lifetime Growth: Always Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past. Each of the ten laws described in this insightful book are like mirrors you can use to reflect your behavior so you can see if it’s supporting or undermining your growth.
While no one wants to reach the end of their lives and experience regret, the truth is, many will. That’s why developing the daily habit of pursuing intentional growth–making your future bigger than your past–is the key to a productive, legacy-producing life.
Question: What is one thing you could start doing today that could make your future bigger than your past?