I like to spend time in quiet reflection, and during these moments I often realize ground-breaking truths for my life. My most recent observation came today as I thought about my own personal growth.
Honestly guys, I used to be a hot mess! All jokes aside I was labeled as a “gifted trouble-maker”. Someone who had potential, but clearly lacked proper decision making skills. I was the type of person who acted first, and dealt with the consequences later.
In short, I was a liability to those around me. Year after year, however, I slowly grew out of my poor character. I grew up. Be clear about one thing - my growth was intentional and required deliberate action on my part. It didn’t just happen!
This realization about myself brought my attention to an alarming truth - Most people are stagnant. They don’t grow. They live an unchanged life, repeating the same mistakes year after year.
Truth be told, this was news to me. In my naive optimism, I thought everyone actively engaged in their own personal growth- not so!
We are all experiencing life, but the sad truth is this: Many people are experiencing, but not growing. They are going through life without seeking the learning points. When you think about it, that’s pretty wasteful.
We should be learning from everything we go through, and every person we interact with - good or bad. Which means we should also be growing as a result of those experiences.
As an athlete I became aware of this from a very young age. We were always taught that our lessons on the court directly translated to our real life. For example we knew how to follow and lead because we learned it in basketball first. We also understood how teamwork and respect intertwined into our daily lives. I started to turn my experiences into life lessons long before I knew the full benefits!
I want you to take note of this:
Drawing wisdom out of your life’s experiences is a skill, and it’s developed by shifting your perspective to that of a student.
Let me explain.
I consider myself to be a student of life, which means there is no shortage to the wisdom around me - I learn from my life.
The reason most people stay stagnant is because they haven’t adopted the attitude of a life student. So what does a student of life do differently? I’ll give you 3 quick answers that will move you from stagnation to growth today!
Life Students Are Humble- If you observe a student you see that they enter the classroom willingly with pen and paper in hand. By entering the classroom they're admitting that they don’t know all there is to know about that particular subject. So, by nature, students are humble.
If you’re going to learn and grow, you must approach life humbly, knowing that you can glean from any person of any age, religion, race, or gender. You can’t be a true student and prideful at the same time.
Life Students Are Focused- When a student enters the classroom, they aren’t thinking about the class they just left. They understand that the most important lesson is the one right in front of them. Growth and distraction don’t go together. The people who break free from stagnation are those who learn to live a focused life. Bad habits and destructive behaviors are fruits of an undisciplined and unfocused life.
Life Students Are Never Satisfied- Students don’t go to school just for the sake of being there. The whole goal behind school is graduation. Life students know the same is true for them. They aren’t satisfied with the level they are on, and they know the next level will take more. More time, more dedication, and more consistency. Growth isn’t available for complacent individuals.
If you want to break free from stagnation, you must apply your life to wisdom. In Proverbs 8 King Solomon discusses the characteristics of wisdom. He describes wisdom as a loud woman “crying out in the streets”. Which means you can’t miss it if you pay attention! Life lessons are all around you, just take the time to reflect on what’s happening.
You have the ability to grow and change into the person you were truly created to be - take it from me!