The journey to positive change toward our full potential is completely in our hands.
There was a long-running daily American comic strip, created by Walt Kelly in the 1940’s called Pogo. The comic strip often centered on social and political satire through the characters of Pogo the possum and Albert the alligator.
In the Pogo comic strip, Pogo the possum often waxed philosophical and was considered the wisest animal in the swamp.
Probably the most famous Pogo quotation is, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Perhaps more than any other words spoken by Pogo, it perfectly sums up his attitude toward the shortcomings of people and the nature of the human condition.
We have met the enemy and he is us.
It’s really possible to be our own worst enemy.
We’ve probably all admitted we have a treasure trove of “bad habits.”
Anything and everything from biting our fingernails and procrastination to overeating and falling prey to workaholism.
The good news is no matter how many “bad habits” you can add to your own personal list, there is a 100% guaranteed way to deal with them.
Have you heard the fallacy you can simply work on getting rid of a habit that isn’t serving you well and just like magic, it’s gone forever?
The reality is if we don’t replace that habit with another more positive one, the old habit sticks around, and will most certainly pop up again.
Here’s how we can start.
The most effective way to start making changes in ourselves is based on one of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell.
I would encourage you to pick up a copy of the book and spend some time reading and studying these 15 laws.
But in the meantime, here are three laws to study:
- The Law of Intentionality – Growth Doesn’t Just Happen
Once we decide we want to do something about our bad habits, here’s where The Law of Intentionality comes in.
Since those bad habits or qualities in our lives are getting results we don’t want, the first action we must take is to make a decision to become very intentional about making the necessary changes.
Personal growth is not a natural process in most people’s lives. Even when we set our goals in our life, we can achieve those goals, but it doesn’t guarantee growth.
In The Law of Intentionality, Maxwell says there are several “growth gap traps” that we tend to fall into.
The Assumption Gap – I Assume 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 am 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
So what’s the best way to make a transition to intentional growth?
Ask yourself these questions to get started:
- Where do you want to go in life?
- What direction do you want to go?
- What’s the farthest you can imagine going?
- How long will this take?
Chances are you won’t be able to answer all of these questions immediately, but they are great to think about as often as possible.
You will find more and more clarity the more you focus on becoming intentional about your own growth while avoiding the growth traps designed to keep you stuck.
2. The Law of Awareness – You Must Know Yourself to Grow Yourself
It seems like getting to know ourselves, I mean really getting to know ourselves has gotten increasingly difficult.
And there are many reasons for this, like how busy we have gotten in dealing with other things and how many demands are placed on us just to “fit in.”
But those things stand in the way of our becoming more aware of who we are at our core.
If we grow in our own awareness of what makes us tick, we are going to have a much easier time in the areas we want to experience more growth,
If you want to grow yourself, you have to become aware of several things:
- Your strengths
- Your weaknesses
- Your interests
- Your opportunities
When you know these four important areas of your life, it tells you where you are.
To reach your greatest potential, you have to know where you are before you can know where you want to be.
We must be intentional.
In order to do that, we have to watch out for growth gaps that will keep us stuck.
Then, becoming more deeply aware of who we are and where we are now allows us to better know where we want to be.
Practicing The Law of Awareness helps us grow in our potential and changes our lives for the better.
3. The Law of the Mirror – You Must See Value in Yourself to Add Value to Yourself
As a career educator, I’ve seen so many tragedies in the lives of people of all ages because they simply didn’t see much value in themselves.
Self-esteem is the single most significant key to a person’s behavior. How we see ourselves completely dictates how we think and act.
I love the quote by Robert Kivosaki, “It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!”
It’s completely impossible to outperform your own image of yourself.
We can attempt valiant efforts to become something different, to grow and change.
But if in our minds we can’t see ourselves in this new way, doing things and behaving consistently in new and better ways, then we will always revert back to who our thoughts tell us we are.
If you place a small value on yourself, rest assured, the world will not raise the price.
What we say about ourselves, we tend to believe. What we believe, we tend to act. What we act, we tend to become.
A few great tips for making progress in valuing yourself:
- Make it a habit to say three positive things to yourself every morning before you even get out of bed.
- When you have a negative thought about yourself, challenge it and practice replacing it with a more self-valuing one.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. You are uniquely you!
The journey to positive change and growth toward our full potential is never an easy one.
But knowing you have the decision completely in your hands is so empowering.
You can be intentional.
You can develop more self-awareness
You can value yourself.
Today is the day to begin!
Photo credit: Getty Images