Personal Growth Is Not a Straight Line

Last Updated on: September 28, 2023

Personal growth is not something we can achieve because it is an abstract concept. It is also not a destination but a long and continuous journey toward self-improvement and mastery. 

There will be many things that we’ve encountered and will continuously experience in our lives. What’s essential is to march on and keep moving forward.

Imagine your younger selves and look just how far you’ve grown, how wide you’ve learned, and how much you’ve persevered.

However, we also know that personal growth is much faster when we are younger. Think of a baby. They start to crawl, and then they’ll walk, and soon they’ll run and play.

We also learned faster in school when we were younger. Look at grade schoolers. They can read and write by the time they are in Grade 2.

So for most of our lives, we are growing at a pace that we thought we could sustain forever. We then start to believe that growth is simple and relatively easy, leading to unrealistic expectations like the many things we need to accomplish by 30.

However, reality soon starts to loom, and we begin to realize that it is impossible to progress without any decline. Here are some of my realizations.

There Will Be Ups.

There Will Be Ups In Personal Growth
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When we talk about personal growth, we always talk about our upward trajectory. We think about promotions, upgrades, sales, and recognition.

We can even look back at our journey and see how much we’ve grown. There are also times when everything is going great that we can only look up and thank the Lord for His grace and the blessings we received.

However, at the back of our minds, we’re anxious that anything that goes up will eventually come down.

There Will Be Downs.

There Will Be Downs In Personal Growth.
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One of the best illustrations of personal growth is the stock market. A stock, no matter how strong it is, will always go down momentarily before continuing its upward thrust.

That is what I often imagine with our journey in life. Even if everything is great, there are times when we will face adversities and setbacks in everything that we do.

But those trials are what we also need if we want to learn perseverance and grow resilient.

Some Ups Can Be Very High, And Some Downs Very Low.

Some Ups Can Be Very High, And Some Downs Can Be Very Low.
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With the uptick and the downtick in our growth journey, the steep highs and the sharp lows can also come.

There are years when everything is going great. We receive promotions, salary increases, significant personal or professional milestones, and more.

The euphoria of obtaining something you worked so hard on can place the dots of progress on the high end.

Then there’s the crash.

With every high, there can also be lows. Similar to the years when everything seems to go right, there are also years when nothing seems to go your way.

I remember in 2019, that year was one of the best years of my adult life. I made several significant changes that positively impacted my life – that, for me, is one of my very highs.

Then in 2020, like many, the pandemic brought us to our knees. I just always try to remember that when trials push us to kneel, it is the best time to pray.

The Plateau of Complacency.

Aside from the highs and lows comes the danger of complacency. 

There are times when our growth journey comes to a standstill. This is when we get unhealthy satisfaction with where we are or what we do.

I often see this with middle-aged individuals who, after attaining regular status, become satisfied with their job position and salary and stop learning.

The plateau of complacency is dangerous because this is where dreams come to die.

Zooming Out To The Bigger Picture

Zooming Out To Look At The Bigger Picture
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With all the ups, the downs, and the plateau, it may sometimes feel like nothing has changed. 

But if we look closely at our lives, though we feel like nothing has changed, at the same time, our life is no longer the same.

We can’t tell how our lives have changed through the years, but if we try to zoom out and look at the bigger picture, we will see the general direction of our lives.

The general directions may point us upwards or downwards depending on our significant life decisions, small but consistent actions, and different circumstances.

Remember that every major decline is an opportunity to bounce back. Every upward push is a chance to maintain consistency, and every plateau is a wake-up call that we need to change things up.

Final Thought

Personal Growth is a long and continuous journey. It is not something we can obtain overnight. 

It combines major and minor decisions, life lessons, and marginal gains.

Think of personal growth like a plant. It starts with a seed, then it begins to grow roots, then its first leaves, then it slowly gets stronger and bigger as time passes. 

However, plants will not typically grow healthy in just any environment. Depending on what type of plant, it will need different nourishments, water, sunlight, and more. 

Simply put, one formula may not work for another. What is effective to one person may be less effective to another.

We need the right environment to nurture us, enough difficulties to challenge us, the right attitude to keep us grounded, and a lot of God to guide us.

Our journey towards personal growth lasts for a lifetime, and if we do it right, then we can pass the fire lit inside of us to the next generation that will continue a legacy.

God bless you!

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