Simple question: How do you get your muscles to grow?
Well, you have to break them down first. You have to train until your muscles fail. Your muscles have to encounter stress that they are not used to so that, after recovering, they grow back bigger and stronger.
But in order to make muscles grow, in order to train them, it is not enough to just break them down. You also have to make sure that the muscles are constantly encountering new kinds of stimuli and different kinds of challenges. If a muscle is trained with the same excercise over and over again, it will stop growing and might even deteriorate.
Now think about this question: How do you grow as a person?
The answer, and you probably have guessed it, is pretty much the same that it is for a muscle.
In order to grow as a person, we too have to push ourselves to try things we never tried before. Just like our muscles, we too have to apply ‘training to failure’ so that we can grow stronger and eventually push past that point of failure. But even more important is that we have to constantly challenge ourselves with different kinds of tasks! We have to make sure that the stimuli that we get as a person are as diverse as possible, and this is what a lot of people fail at.
Most people get challenged by their job. They get challenged by their family. And then maybe by a sport or hobby of their choice. That is it.
This however is not a very diverse “training program”. It is like when you are working out, but all you do is sit-ups, push-ups and squats, day in and day out. Sure, that is better than doing nothing at all, but it is also far from being as diverse as a proper training should be. It will keep your muscles from growing faster.
So similarly, if you want to grow as a person, you have to make sure to stimulate your body, mind and soul in as many ways as possible! Diversity is key!
In every area of life we all have so much untapped potential, potential that we only take full advantage of when we mix up the ways we try to improve ourselves. If you only do a certain kind of job, read certain kinds of books and hang out with certain kinds of people, you will grow as a person, sure, but it will not be as fast and comprehensive as it could be.
Instead, make sure to be as diverse in your everyday activities as possible. Do different tasks in your job. Go to lunch with different people. Talk to strangers on the bus. Try a new hobby. Do a new sport. Learn a new skill. Read a different kind of book. Go out and party or stay in and relax, whatever it is that you usually don’t do.
All these are things that stimulate your mind, body and soul in ways that you are not used to. And exactly because you are not used to those stimulations, they will make you grow much quicker than any stimulation from a field that you are already “trained” in.
Personal growth is like working out, it just has a more holistic approach. It focusses on who we become as person as a whole instead of merely focussing on the body. But we still can apply the same training methods that work for growing the body stronger.
So push past what you think you are capable of as often as possible. Break yourself down. But also do it in as many different way and in as many different areas as possible. Because only then do you make sure that you grow as a person the fastest way possible.