Opposition is the only way forward.
That probably makes you think that I like drama or conflict. But I mean that very scientifically. If we are in a vacuum, and there are no other objects with mass around us, we cannot create propulsion to move.
When you walk, the physical system of your foot trying to move backwards and then being opposed by the ground is the only reason you experience momentum.
What on earth does this have to do with Growth?
When I was younger, the looming question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” was oppressive. I never knew. I would come up with things that made adults and more specifically, my parents, proud. I’d say that I wanted to be a doctor or a brain surgeon… then, once I got older, I didn’t want to make my parents proud. I wanted to frustrate and confound them, so I’d say I wanted to be a rock star.
Now that I have some distance from that question, and now that I’ve fully developed my prefrontal cortex (the part of your brain that understands cause and effect relationships, and the last part of your brain to fully mature around the age of 26), I wonder if that question is a fair question at all.
The question we should be asking our kids (and ourselves) is, “who do you want to be,” not “what do you want to be.” What gives us only actions to take. If I want to be a firefighter, I need to become big and strong, take some fire training courses, get through the academy, and and then get this job that I think I might want. What if I can’t get big enough or strong enough? What if I get hurt, or can’t pass the test? What doesn’t tell me what to do then. What if I get the job and I’m still unhappy?
Who on the other hand, who gives me a goal to strive for for the rest of my life. When I look at the men and women in my life who have challenged me and inspired me to want to do that for others, then I have a goal which A) I can never reach, and B) I can always become more of.
When we say “Grow” what we really mean is dig.
The image on the back of the shirt for this month didn’t start with the idea of a mountain. It started with trees. The bigger the tree, the deeper the roots. I was inspired to use this image because it challenged my idea of what it means to have roots, do mountains have roots?
But nonetheless, I know without doubt, and with all the certainty that pop-culture and politics have shown us; people without a deep root system fall. People without a deep sense of not only who they are, but who they’re becoming, fall. They may fall publicly, they may just quietly fold into themselves and die, but those that flourish seem to have something I can only hope to have.
I don’t know if I can fully articulate every way I would wish for you to grow, but I can articulate one that I am confident applies to all of us.
If you want to challenge yourself to grow in anything, it is this: Self-worth.
You are more valuable than you can imagine, and if you don’t believe me, then this is the perfect area for you to grow in. You are unique and valuable and lovable and worthy to be loved. Deny or reject my statements if you wish, but I believe them. And if I, a random guy on the other end of the internet, can believe that you are valuable, then either I’m crazy or I’m right.
Don’t confuse self-worth with vanity or pride. The moment you do, you are discounting other’s value.
If you don’t believe it, reach out. Reach out to your network, to your friends or family or Facebook. Reach out to google if none of those options are healthy for you. Or reach out to me. I’m more than happy to confirm just how awesome you are.
And once you feel valuable, go grow some more. 🙂
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