Why Personal Growth Is Essential For Well-BeingJan 29, 2023
In previous articles, we introduced health and relationships (people) as essential foundational parts of well-being and happiness. The final key to unlocking well-being is personal growth, which we will cover in this article in detail. All three are part of our Live better, not perfect (Livebnp) Well-Being Triangle.
We will look at what exactly is personal growth, several other useful growth models, our Livebnp process, and the seven important growth principles.
What Is Personal Growth?
Just like a plant needs water to grow, you need personal growth to develop as a person to reach your full potential. Personal growth (also referred to as personal development or self-growth) is the constant work on yourself to continuously better yourself. This is an essential ingredient on your journey to improved well-being. Personal growth describes necessary activities to develop your capabilities and potential, facilitate employability, and enhance the quality of life and the realization of dreams and aspirations.
This search and drive for well-being is nothing new. In fact, it has existed throughout the existence of human beings. One of the most well-known models to describe this is Maslow's Pyramid of Needs. At the very top is “self-actualization” the highest level of development. Self-actualization is defined as "the full realization of one's potential" and one's "true self."
Another related concept was first proposed by Greek philosopher Aristotle: Eudaimonia. Eudaimonia is the philosophy of developing our sense of meaning and purpose. It stands in stark contrast to hedonia, which is about chasing short-term pleasure and elimination of pain. This is, for instance, eating junk food versus cooking a nutrient-rich, fresh meal.
In contrast, eudaimonia involves the introduction of pain to provide growth, the connection with people who challenge our actions and values. According to Aristotle, the philosophy of eudaimonia encourages four pillars to live a meaningful life:
- Belonging: connecting and bonding with people
- Purpose: engaging in worthwhile activities
- Storytelling: thinking deeply, understanding, and explaining positive and negative experiences in life
- Transcendence: feeling and being aware that we are part of something bigger than just ourselves
Many of those principles are reflected in our Live better, not perfect approach manifested in the Well-Being Triangle.
How Does Growth Fit Into the Live better, not perfect Well-Being Triangle?
At the core of our approach, we rely on our Well-Being Triangle, which we described in the previous article How To Consistently Strive For Optimal Well-Being: The Livebnp Triangle. The triangle covers three areas, which are essential for well-being: health, people, and growth.
Good health is the basis for a happy life. It forms the basis of our triangle. The article A Solid Foundation For Optimal Well-Being: Our Health describes the details.
Furthermore, the people around us and our relationships with them make our lives meaningful. We need other people not only for plain survival, people actually make being alive worthwhile.
Finally, personal growth and development is the constant drive to improve yourself in whatever aspect you deem important. It includes the enhancement of quality of life and the work towards the realization of dreams. This is how growth fits into our triangle and our concept of well-being.
While we can work on and improve the three elements of the triangle individually, they are all also strongly interconnected. If we improve one element, it will have a positive knock-on effect on the others. This leads to a positive feedback loop that will help us consistently optimize well-being for us and the people around us – exactly following our vision at Live better, not perfect.
Models for Personal Growth
There are other useful models for personal growth. One of our favorites is Bill Hettler’s Wellness Wheel. He argues that six dimensions have an influence on our well-being and happiness. Ideally, we develop them all. Of course, it’s unrealistic to grow in all of them equally and in parallel. It’s advisable to focus on some during specific periods. The beauty of this model is also that some areas can compensate for others during harder times. The diagram below depicts the six dimensions.
Source: National Wellness Institute
Another model comes from Japanese philosophy. Japanese people are ranked second in the world for life expectancy. In their traditional philosophy, they invented a concept to work on life purpose and personal growth: ikigai (=”reason for being”).
Ikigai is a model that can help to identify your purpose and then constantly try to grow as a person using seven tools. This is a process and will take time, a lot of introspection, and a lot of fine-tuning but it’s worth it. The diagram below illustrates the seven tools.
The Live better, not perfect Approach to Growth
The general approach at Live better, not perfect (Livebnp) with respect to the growth part of the triangle is divided into overarching ideas, a suggested process, and important growth principles.
Here are our overarching ideas:
- Look at life with a growth mindset and attitude. We have a lot in our control. More than we think. We are not victims.
- Find the process and techniques that best suit your needs and preferences. Then execute them consistently.
- Do what’s effective for you, discard what’s not. This influences your personal effectiveness. There is a lot of advice from a lot of gurus. Not everything works or is good for you. Use your critical thinking.
Whatever aspect you choose to grow or improve yourself, we offer a best-practice suggestion of a process:
- Introspect and gain awareness on which domain you want to grow.
- Describe a clear vision of your future self.
- Break that vision down into a measurable goal or even subgoals.
- Identify knowledge gaps and research required resources or tools.
- Translate your goal into milestones and derive daily actions. Form habits.
- Include the actions in your daily planning
- DO IT consistently!
- Check progress regularly and revise if necessary.
Next, we’ll take a look at growth principles.
7 Important Growth Principles
Here we summarize 7 important growth principles.
Have a Goal
A goal is like a compass that helps you get direction. Without a goal, you will most likely not progress effectively. Your goal can be considered like a lighthouse towards which you are moving. Ideally, you define your goal in a measurable way.
Be Brave. Leave Your Comfort Zone
Real growth happens outside of your comfort zone. The more you dare to step out, the more risky it may be but also the growth will be more significant. You may have to be brave and it may be hard but it’s worth it.
Habits are little automatic actions that you do every day without thinking. They work like systems and should be aligned with your goals. Find out more in our article Why Are Habits So Powerful?
Real and sustainable change comes from consistently working towards your goal and with it your growth. Even if the contribution is minor, it shows over time and pays off. Do not be discouraged by small progress or even little plateaus. Keep going.
A very useful principle is to periodically revise if you are still on track. This is why measurable goals and sub goals are so important. You can compare yourself against those and if you are not getting closer you can change things.
Doing everything alone is possible but harder. Accountability is a useful principle to keep you going. You can give a promise to yourself (by creating a detailed goal achievement plan or writing yourself a letter). More effective, however, is external accountability when you tell someone else about your plan. Our coaches from Livebnp can help too.
Remember: Every Experience Can Be an Opportunity for Growth
Some events or experiences can be hard or painful. But remember with the right positive attitude, everything can be seen as an opportunity for change and growth. Do not use victimhood as an excuse. We are way more in control than we think.
What Does Live better, not perfect Offer?
We created the Live better, not perfect membership as a blueprint to optimal well-being. This is an exclusive membership to achieve better health & happiness through expert guidance, education, and support of a vibrant community.
Livebnp members can gain value by achieving optimal well-being for ultimate freedom and happiness. This typically starts by becoming aware of where and how you can change. We teach all essential aspects of well-being. The coaches from the Livebnp network of well-being experts advise you. As a member, you stay on track by exchanging with like-minded people.
We deliver this value to our members via exclusive access to three primary features:
In this article, we took a closer look at the growth aspect of our Well-Being Triangle. We covered a definition of personal growth, several other useful growth models, our Livebnp process, and the seven important growth principles.
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