Why did you stop growing?

If you are in that confusing 19–34 “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life” age range, it is highly likely that you’ve never really thought about growth and what it takes to become “more capable” of handling life.

It’s not your fault. Nobody warns you that one day you are inevitably going to stop growing automatically.

Up until your late teen years, you are in a constant state of natural growth; so natural, in fact, that you rarely even acknowledge it. I think we can all agree that:

  • From ages 0–puberty, you’re growing exponentially in cognitive and learning abilities, as well as soaking in life’s basic mechanics and principles.
  • From puberty to late teens, you’re growing exponentially in physical stature and (of course) raging hormones.

But something happens when we hit those late teens/early twenties. The automated growth just stops.

At this point, we expect to keep advancing in all areas of life with minimal effort because we’ve been doing it for the past 20 years or so. Instead, we find ourselves disappointed in the progress we’ve made, and worst of all, we don’t know why we aren’t growing as well as we could in certain areas of life. It leads to disappointment, frustration, and an overall bleak outlook on the direction of our lives.

If any of that is relatable to you, it’s time for a deep self-evaluation.

  • First realize: why did you grow when you were younger? For example, when you were a toddler, how did you learn to walk? I’ll tell you: you weren’t afraid to fail, and you weren’t afraid to get back up and try again.
  • Next, ask yourself the gut-check question: “Why did I stop growing?” Going off the earlier example of learning to walk, perhaps the fear of failure is keeping you from expanding your capabilities; or perhaps you’ve been knocked down more times than you’ve gotten back up.

Find specific examples of your life when you’ve experienced massive growth, and try to understand how you accomplished it. Then, ask yourself what you are doing (or not doing) now that is different, and reconcile the two.

We must understand that growth is no longer automatic. We must make conscious decisions to do better, to be better, to live better.

Life is now up to us.

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