The self-improvement and growth quest is an active process and not a passive one. That’s true in nature and it’s also true in human nature. Growth implies a struggle to break free from existing conditions and expand in importance and influence in our world.  

It is also true that to be truly effective and meaningful, growth has to be done against resistance. The stronger trees grew fighting challenging elements and the sea corals are always more robust where it has to fight the tides and the currents.

Exponential personal growth is the result of the struggles that are self-imposed. It is by voluntary exposing ourselves to challenges that are somewhat beyond our means that we grow the fastest. Nietzsche’s words say it brilliantly in the following quote, “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.”

Rapid growth is done outside of the comfort zone and into what could be called the uncharted lands. So long as we remain in familiar surroundings, the same personal resources are being used over and over again. It is only when we find ourselves in terra incognita that we have to reach down, solicit and bring to the surface those resources that we don’t even know that we have.

We posses vast stores of resources that we don’t even suspect that we have. It may sound unbelievable but every experience that we ever had is stored somewhere in our brain. That represent more information and references than could be stored in hundreds of books.

All that information is stored just below the conscious and just waiting to be brought up to the surface to be used and exploited. The ideal way to turn that vast amount of knowledge into practical information is by subjecting ourselves to new situations and unfamiliar conditions.

When facing a new type of challenge, the brain has to go into problem-solving mode. It has to become creative and imaginative. It has to draw upon previously used solutions and create a new version that will be applicable to a novel situation. When this new process has been created, another tool becomes automatically available.

It is through this process of problem solving that we become better equipped to face more complex situations, become more versatile, more effective and ultimately achieve self-improvement and self-growth.

We cannot learn how to swim by reading about it or by observing other swimmers. We cannot learn how to ride a bicycle unless we get on one and learn through trials and errors and we cannot learn how to be a success in any endeavor unless we roll up our sleeves and get into the action.

It is by taking action that we learn, improve and grow. It is by making mistakes and learning from our mistakes that we improve. It is by taking the chance to look foolish that we get to look good. It is by failing that we learn to win.

Self-improvement is accomplished by flexing our intellectual muscles. It is done by challenging uncharted roads, by going where we’ve never been before. We grow by climbing mountains and slaying dragons… not by watching the parade go by.

Dr. Raymond Comeau aka Shamou is the Owner Administrator of the Personal Development for Personal Success Forums.

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