Welcome back to my series on building a foundation to have the freedom to follow your dreams. I introduced the idea behind this foundation in Part I. If you missed it, you can go back and read it here. So far, I’ve covered the first element of the foundation – Good Health and the second element – Supportive Relationships. Last week I covered Financial Fitness which leads up to the final element – Personal Growth.
Our education system can trick us into thinking that when we graduate, we’ve learned everything we need to know. I’m a proponent of a good education. But some of the most important lessons I learned were not learned in school. If we want to achieve our full potential, we must commit to lifelong learning.
The elements of the foundation to freedom are a perfect example of why lifelong learning is important. I recall having a health class in high school and physical education in college, but learning about nutrition was entirely up to me. And although I was a business major, I had to take it upon myself to learn how to make our personal finances work for us.
Personal Growth has a clear connection to the other three elements. As we learn more about what good health, supportive relationships, and financial fitness mean, we can apply these lessons to become our best selves.
Here are five tips to help you foster the foundation of personal growth in your life.
1 – Be Curious
Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
Curiosity and drive trump intelligence all the time. If you weren’t a good student, you may not have found the right subject or teacher yet. If you’re not a strong reader, modern technology provides other options like podcasts, audiobooks, and video courses. Ditch your excuses and false beliefs and let curiosity be your guide.
2 – Be Humble
My husband, Jer, said something that I’ll never forget. He said, “The older I get, the more I realize that the people with the strongest convictions on a subject don’t always have the deepest knowledge.” It’s true, isn’t it? This is especially evident when our country is facing a crisis or an election.
One thousand years from now, people will look back on us and say, “I can’t believe they thought that.” Our level of knowledge and access to information are better than ever, but we’ve barely scratched the surface of what there is to know. Admitting what we don’t know opens us up to accelerated learning and growth.
3 – Ask Questions and Listen
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
Listening is a whole lot easier when you’re curious and humble. You’ll find that when you step back and listen, there will be no shortage of people who want to talk to you.
When you encounter people who have knowledge that interests you, ask lots and lots of questions. People love to talk and share what they know. As a bonus, you might just start a supportive relationship.
You don’t have to limit yourself to one on one, face to face conversations. You could attend a lecture, read a book, or listen to a podcast. Just zip your lip, quiet your mind, ask questions and listen.
4 – Use a Foundation Filter
I truly believe that we become what we think about. If we think negative thoughts all day long, we can’t help but become negative people. If we think positive thoughts, we’ll slowly but surely become more positive.
This is why it’s so important to filter what you let in. According to Shawn Achor, “three minutes of negative news in the morning increased the likelihood of feeling unhappy six to eight hours later.” It’s worth examining what kind of media we’re consuming.
Jer and I have slowly transitioned from no filters to recording the news so that I could skip through to the weather to having no TV at all. On top of that, I’ve been careful to filter the types of messages I see on social media. I can’t be my best if my mind is constantly flooded with garbage and negativity. It’s easy to create filters and replace the bad news with good.
5 – Dream and Set Goals
To make the most of the other four steps, it’s important to have something you are working toward. Take time to dream about what you want your life to look like in all of these areas. Then set attainable and timely goals to get there.
Focusing on these five simple steps will open you up to a lifetime of learning and growth. As you work on your personal growth, you’ll begin to see positive changes in the other areas as well.
Creating the foundation to live our best lives if a lifelong journey. Give yourself the grace to be okay with where you are while finding the determination to keep moving forward.
Don’t miss the other five parts of the foundation. Here’s what you can expect.
Part I – Building a Foundation to Freedom
Part II – Freedom through Good Health
Part III – Freedom through Supportive Relationships
Part IV – Freedom through Financial Fitness
Part V – Freedom through Personal Growth
Part VI – Tying it All Together and Taking Action