One of the thinking traps we can fall into is believing that we will continue to grow without conscious thought or attention. As children our physical growth is automatic. We have little, if any, control over it. Granted, food and exercise contribute to physical growth, but as a child we have little input over those factors. As children our mental, spiritual, emotional and physical growth “just happen” without any planning on our part. We can enter into adulthood and parenthood with the experience and expectation that our growth will “just happen.”
Our problem is that we don’t improve unless we consciously make a plan to improve. It’s like Alice in Wonderland when she asks the Cheshire Cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
To which the Cat replies, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where,” Alice says.
“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”
If we assume we will grow, we could end up anywhere. If we want to improve we have to be intentional about our growth.
How can we intend to improve?
First we start by making a plan of what areas in our lives we want to develop.
We decide what we need to learn. This is where concentration and self-discipline help us execute our plans with consistency and follow through.
Too often, though, we fail to plan because we don’t think the time is right. “I’ll go on that diet, take that the class, start that exercise program, etc. after New Years.” January 1 appears and we push our improvement plans off into the future.
One of the gifts from my father is the idea of “Do It Now”.
My father gave me the positive mental attitude books of Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone when I was in my late teens. If something is important–Do It Now!
By doing it now, you avoid being sucked into the whirlpool of inertia, where nothing ever gets done, and that turbulent hole is filled with good intentions. Do it now. You might make mistakes, but you will learn, grow, and improve. If something is important, the time is now. Take the first bold step forward in the right direction and you’ll get there. Avoid the trap of “Well, I’ve got to find the best way to get there.” Start in the right direction, be open to growth and improvement, and your path will open in clear and beneficial ways.
As you strive to improve, you’ll make mistakes.
Be friendly with error, because mistakes are at the leading edge of learning. We learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. A mistake is an opportunity for a retake or a remake.
Don’t worry that others are better than you.
Learn from them and their mistakes. Little by little as you consciously work to improve your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being, you’ll wake up one day and find you are better than you had hoped.
Depending on the direction you choose, your path may not be easy. We can choose our direction in a moment. Our destinations may take years to realize. And that is fine. Our concern should be to avoid being in the group of people who fail to plan, and therefore unwittingly plan to fail.
Grow and improve to be the adult you would want your child to be. Make a conscious plan to improve. Do it now. Make it happen.