“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”―Abraham H. Maslow
When you’re faced with a choice in life, always choose the one that will promote your personal growth instead of taking the easy way.
Whilst I concede the easier choice can be less complicated than enduring pain and suffering, it might not be the best decision.
Don’t leave your personal growth to chance, otherwise you will regret not abiding by your values.
Choices aligned with your personal growth are seldom easy, yet are worth it because of the investment in yourself. Every choice draws you closer to the person you intend to be or further away.
Choices are your barometer for navigating life, so avoid making ones that are easy now but difficult later.
Author Charlie Harary explains in Unlocking Greatness: The Unexpected Journey from the Life You Have to the Life You Want that your choices have a long lasting effect in your life: “It’s your choice how to respond to challenges, how to live in the moment, and whether you will fight for excellence in everything you do.”
Become someone of character, even when others don’t notice. Character relates to the relationship you have with yourself foremost and others.
Sometimes you won’t know how resilient you are until it counts. It is during these times your inner resolve will be known, hence the purpose of your growth.
Consider personal growth as insurance you draw on, but something that is stockpiled the more you engage it.
For example, Navy SEALs train for years and may be called upon for active duty in rare situations. However, they hone their mental and physical training knowing nothing can be left to chance.
You should apply the same discipline and dedication to your personal growth. Be meticulous in choosing growth over the easy path.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” — Viktor Frankl
You are always making choices, even when you can’t decide that is still a choice. Consider the following questions when you find yourself conflicted between two choices and unable to decide:
Sometimes, it will mean stepping out of your comfort zone.
Sometimes, it will mean being uncomfortable or embarrassed before your peers, family and friends.
Sometimes, it will mean making choices that offer no return or appease someone to bring peace to a situation. In these instances, you are choosing your personal growth and reinforcing your strength of character.
Sometimes you are required to take risks which may conflict with your self-esteem and personal character. However, it is unwise to trade in your values since that is the one true measure you cannot rebuild.
Motivational guru Brendon Burchard writes in The Motivation Manifesto of the need to build our character because of how we relate to the world: “If we are to measure and monitor and improve anything, let it be our story, our character, and our conduct — a mindfulness of who we are and how we are experiencing and relating with the world.”
Recently, the Australian cricket team has made the news for the wrong reasons, regarding the ball tampering debacle. Three players, including the team captain and vice-captain have brought the team and country into disrepute because of their actions.
We’ve seen this widespread across many sports including cycling, where disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories.
Whilst their actions will be long forgotten and forgiven in time, they will always be remembered as less than sporting heroes for their actions.
Not all of us will be faced with making such choices, though it shows how our actions have a ripple effect in our lives and the lives of others.
For that reason, choose the path of betterment and excellence because it is lined with moral character. If you deviate from this path, it may be impossible to navigate your way back.
“All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.” — Calvin Coolidge
Many people experience problems in their lives because they choose the easy path. Everyone is looking for shortcuts, whether it be in: business, health, finance or relationships. The craving for success without committing oneself to the task is an attractive undertaking many go in search of.
As you know, what comes quickly may not be long-lasting.
For example, if you want to be in an intimate relationship, you may need to put the other person’s interests before yours. You will need to be a good listener and give of your time to nurture the relationship.
In this example, choosing personal growth means investing in others before your needs are met, which reinforces your character.
If you walk away with one key point from this piece that is: Always choose actions that pull you closer to the person you want to become, even if it means walking away from something you aim to profit from.
Good character and values are scarce nowadays, since many are unwilling to invest in themselves.
We have become a throwaway society with less than optimal values and character. It’s rare to meet a person with strong values because most people are lured by the notion of: “What’s in it for me?”
What’s in it for you may not be what’s in it for others. Personal growth will require you to put other people before you, so it matters in the long run.
It’s what the late Stephen Covey talked about in The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People with Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.
Decide what’s important to you and follow the principles as best you can. Pursue character and integrity as your highest moral code if that is who you intend to be.
“Greatness is a choice. You have to choose to unlock the greatness within. Sometimes all it takes is turning a simple key. Sometimes it takes a hatchet. Sometimes it takes a mound of TNT. And sometimes it just takes the persistence of being there, knocking again and again until that door finally opens,” affirms Charlie Harary.
Choosing the path of good moral character can be a lonely road because not all people walk the path, so you will be required to walk it alone.
Do so anyway.
The one key principle is the relationship you have with yourself which cannot be taken from you, so guard it fiercely so you evolve into someone you are proud to be.
Originally published at medium.com