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The law of curiosity (DW#394)

Have you noticed how curious children are? They constantly want to know how things work or why they are the way they are. They rarely accept things at face value, an explanation is almost always required. 

As we age, many of us begin to lose this natural curiosity. 
In order to grow, learn something new or get better at anything, we need to get our curiosity back. 

Maxwell suggests ten ways to re-cultivate our natural curiosity. Here are my favorites: 

Have a Beginner’s Mind-Set

When you first begin something, a job, a hobby, a sport, or anything else, it is natural to be curious and ask questions. We are not expected to step into something new knowing all the answers. But as we gain experience, we are expected to stop with the questions and curiosity.

Maxwell says that in order to grow, we must keep our beginners’ mind-set. Instead of being a know it all who see themselves as experts, beginners spend their time asking questions like "how can we do...

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What are you willing to give up? (DW#393)

Many of us want to do it all and have it all. 

A wise teacher of mine once told me: yes, you CAN have it all – just not at the same time! 

She was trying to explain what Maxwell calls the Law of Trade-Offs: that you have to give up something in the short term to get something in the long term. 

If we want to grow in the health domain and get fitter for example, we have to give up the desire to sit on the couch in the short term to gain health in the long term. To put it another way, we need to be able to delay instant gratification in order to reap greater rewards later. 

Given that all of us have limited time and resources, this law makes sense, right? I remember when I was writing the book, I gave up watching TV for a whole year. It was not easy in the short term but soooo fulfilling when it got done. 

What are working on and what are you willing to trade to get it done? 

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The law of environment (DW#392)

Maxwell reminds us that growth thrives in conducive surroundings. 

In nature, spring is the time for growth when conditions are right with warmer temperatures, longer days and more sunlight. On the other hand, when environmental conditions are not ideal, growth is stunted or delayed. 

Similarly, for human beings to reach their full potential, we can flourish in the right environment. You and I experience personal growth when we surround ourselves with people and opportunities conducive to our development.

So what are some indications of an environment conducive to growth? 

A place where we are continually challenged: A good growth environment puts pressure on us to improve. If our daily work is too easy or comfortable, then we shortchange ourselves and stunt our development. It’s okay and even healthy for us to be in over our heads from time to time. It forces us to swim against the current so to speak and we grow stronger as a result. 

A place...

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The Laws of Growth (DW#391)

In The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell writes that the way to reach our full potential and live a life of purpose is to choose a path of intentional growth. In explaining the "Laws of Growth" he suggests that personal development and growth follow set principles and laws that can be discovered and applied for sustained personal growth. 

This week, let us explore 5 of the 15 laws that Maxwell teaches us. 

The law of consistency: How many times have we heard or read something inspirational, tried it for a few days and then forgot all about it? According to Maxwell, the key to turning these lessons and motivations into permanent change is his fifth law of growth, the law of consistency. Maxwell says that the key to this law is that motivation gets you going, but discipline, keeps you growing. Discipline turns motivation and inspiration into habits and our habits determine our growth.

I love the way Steven Pressfield puts it in his...

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What’s your excuse? (DW#389)

Can you think of at least one area in your life where there is room for growth and where you know you need to make changes but you haven’t made any progress yet?

In The 15 invaluable Laws of Growth John Maxwell outlines some gaps and limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in unhealthy ways and stop us from reaching our full potential.

Here are the 7 "gaps" that he identifies:

The Assumption Gap—I assume that I will automatically grow. 
The Knowledge Gap—I don’t know how to grow.
The Timing Gap—It’s not the right time to begin.
The Mistake Gap—I’m afraid of making mistakes. 
The Perfection Gap—I have to find the best way before I start. 
The Inspiration Gap—I don’t feel like doing it.
The Comparison Gap—Others are better than I am.
The Expectation Gap—I thought it would be easier than this. 

You know the domains and growth areas that we identified a couple of days ago? Just go...

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Where do you need to grow? (DW#387)

As we said, we need self-awareness to begin the process of growth and self development. 

But here’s the thing: we don’t know what we don’t know. How then do we recognize a growth edge or opportunity in our lives? How do we shift it from the unconscious zone in our minds and bring it into conscious awareness?

Here is one idea: break down your life into domains: mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual. Give yourself a score from 1 – 10 in each domain to assess how well you are doing or how satisfied you are in this domain of your life. 

Hint: when giving yourself a score, consider not only yourself but your loved ones as well. What do they most complain about you? This question can reveal some personal blind-spots we may have by shining the light of awareness on them. 

Now ask yourself: Am I happy where I am? What would it mean for me and my life if I could move from a 6 to an 8 in the physical/health domain, for example? How would my life...

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Growth does not happen by accident (DW#386)

We have been comparing fixed mindsets versus growth mindsets and hopefully we are beginning to see the value of cultivating a growth mindset for ourselves.

Many of us may already have a growth mindset in some areas of our lives and yet be stuck in a fixed mindset in others.

For example, I could be very successful in my career and be updating my skill set through continuous professional development and yet believe that I am just unlucky at relationships, or health, or …. Do you get the picture? Just because we have a growth mindset in one area of our lives does not automatically mean that we have the same set of beliefs in others.

John Maxwell in his book The 15 invaluable Laws of Growthreiterates what we have been saying over and over again: that all change and growth begins with awareness and intention. To put it another way, positive change and growth does not happen by accident. If we were to ignore an area of our lives, it is more likely that it would devolve rather...

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Why does your mindset matter? (DW#375)

Carol Dweck believes that the mindsets that we have been exploring are manifested from a very early age. And they determine to a large extent, our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in professional and personal contexts and ultimately our capacity for happiness itself. 

She writes: "For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life"?

She goes on to explain that because people with growth mindsets are willing to try different things they are more likely to discover talents that they were unaware of. Because they believe that everyone can change and grow though application and experience they have a sense of hope and personal agency. 

Also because people...

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Personal growth begins in the mind (DW#374)

What do you believe about your ability to grow and progress in your life?

Do you believe that you can and must grow in every area of your life? Or do you believe that you are born with a certain set of talents and abilities that are fixed? 

Do you think or say things like "I am too old to change" or "That’s just the way I am" or "Some people are just born that way" or "I could never do that"? 

Do you believe that the reason that some people are smarter or more successful than you is because they have "what it takes" in their area of success and you don’t?


Science is telling us that the way we think about our ability to grow (or not) has a major impact on all areas of our lives. 

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. is one of the leading researchers in the field of motivation and is a renowned Professor at Stanford University. In her recent and highly acclaimed book, Mindset, she employs rigorous science to help us understand why we do what we do. 

She explains...

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Boundaries online (DW#359)

In the age of digital technology, giving in to temptation is only a click away. 

On social media, for example, it is easy to track down old friendships that may have meant something in the past. Or you may encounter someone who appears to have the same interests as yourself, who likes the same things, responds to your actions on social media. You find yourself looking for them and their interactions when you are online. Their engagement and reactions to your postings begin to mean something to you. 

Even if you realize that you are in close call territory at this point, the nature of social media interaction is such that you find yourself unable to stop. You are faced with the choice of stopping it or hiding it. In such situations, hiding it usually wins. You convince yourself that you are not doing anything wrong. That no one is being harmed. 

At times like this we need to remind ourselves that the above thought process itself is a sign that we are on the threshold of...

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