1, 2, 3 Exponentially Me: The basics of personal exponential growth
The joy of life is that we are all born with an immense potential. Although we do not always find the path we need to tread quickly, there is always hope; not only of finding it, but also of rapidly growing into the best person we can be.
Finding the Growth hack
Over the last 3 years I have been delving into who I am, who I could be and who I think I should be. It has taken me on a journey of self-discovery. As with most journeys it has not been without setbacks and struggles. I was confronted with parts of myself which I never thought I had; good and bad. And yet I managed to learn from all of it, or at least tried to. What I discovered though is that when people are on that journey with you they grow with you, others that are not do not. This has been a source of frustration for me as I would love for everyone I care about to share in not only my growth but have their own growth journey. Some people have flat-out either denied the need for growth or have actively refused to be part of it. It is difficult when you see people you care so much about and yourself grow apart as you continue on their journey and from your point of view they are standing still. You can see the gap getting wider and wider and yet you feel helpless in closing the gap.
The exponential math of growth
As with most upturned apple carts (frustrations), it is a source for inspiration and innovation. It has led me to the discovery of a simple formula:
(Skill + Knowledge) x Effort = Achievement*.
As we know from mathematics any formula with a multiplication sign in it has the potential to generate exponential outcomes. Example: 2x2=4 but 3x3=9 and 4x4=16: i.e although both factors only increase by one each the outcomes have increased exponentially. So if this is true for mathematics and for skills and achievements, could this not also be possible for personal growth? I have to conclude that it is so although I have my suspicions that it is not indefinite as we only live on average 80 years ;-)
So for me it is as follows:
(Skilful interaction + Self-knowledge) x Effort = Personal Growth
As can be expected by an effort driven equation it is the engine that drives the whole: If I put more effort into gaining self-knowledge I will not only become more knowledgeable about myself but I also learn new skills of assessing myself and coping strategies. At the same time I also learn more about my interaction with others when I apply the self-knowledge and gained skills. Which allows me to grow exponentially as long as I can sustain the effort.
The value of super feedback loops
So how do we sustain the effort? We find that which motivates us, which drives us every day to not only be the best we can be but to enjoy that which we do. Once we link that to purpose, we can great an engine that has unlimited fuel.
The only thing that is lacking is direction. This comes from (self) knowledge. To gain this knowledge we need to be open to input from outside of ourselves. One of the best tools for this is feedback.
Feedback is also one of the hardest things to ask for and to receive. Especially if you think it is off base, uncalled for critique etc, we all know someone that annoy/irritate us with their feedback that is usually unasked for.
But how wonderful is it when you learn the skills to turn the feedback you receive into knowledge that can benefit you.
Become a skilful feedback receiver and you will have an unending source of oxygen. Combine it with the fuel that is your motivational superpowers and you can build the rocket that is your personal growth.
* Seligman, Maartin E.P.: Flourish - ISBN 9781439190760 | February 2012