When You Must Make A Choice, Always Choose The One That Cultivates Your Personal Growth

Published on: April 1, 2018

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Become Someone Of Character

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”―Abraham H. Maslow

When you’re faced with a choice in life, always choose the one that will promote your personal growth instead of taking the easy way. Whilst I concede the easier choice can be less complicated than enduring pain and suffering, it might not be the best decision. We mustn’t leave our personal growth to chance, otherwise we will regret not abiding by our values. Choices aligned with our personal growth are seldom easy, yet are worth it because of the investment in ourselves. Every choice draws us closer to the person we intend to be or further away. Choices are our barometer for navigating life, so we ought to avoid making ones that are easy now but difficult later. We must strive to become someone of character, even when others don’t notice. Character relates to the relationship we have with ourselves foremost and others. Sometimes we won’t know how resilient we are until it counts. It is during these times our inner resolve will be known, hence the purpose of our growth. Consider personal growth as insurance we draw on, but something that is stockpiled the more we engage it. For example, Navy SEALs train for years and may be called upon for active duty in rare situations. However, they hone their mental and physical training knowing nothing can be left to chance. We should apply the same discipline and dedication to our personal growth by being meticulous in choosing growth over the easy path. How does this sit with you? Are willing to think of your growth first rather than make easy choices you will regret later on?

Choose The Path Of Betterment And Excellence

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”—Viktor Frankl

We are always making choices, even when we can’t decide that is still a choice. Consider the following questions when you find yourself conflicted between two choices and unable to decide: Will I regret this decision later on? Am I upholding my values and integrity? What will I gain by making this decision? What will I lose by making this decision? Sometimes, it will mean stepping out of our comfort zone. Sometimes, it will mean being uncomfortable or embarrassed before our peers, family and friends. Sometimes, it will mean making choices that offer no return or appease someone to bring peace to a situation. In these instances, we are choosing our personal growth and reinforcing our strength of character. Sometimes we are required to take risks which may conflict with our self-esteem and personal character. However, it is unwise to trade in our values since that is the one true measure we cannot rebuild. Motivational guru Brendon Burchard writes in The Motivation Manifesto of the need to build our character because of how we relate to the world: “If we are to measure and monitor and improve anything, let it be our story, our character, and our conduct—a mindfulness of who we are and how we are experiencing and relating with the world.”

In 2018, the Australian cricket team made the news for the wrong reasons, regarding the ball tampering debacle. Three players, including the team captain and vice-captain brought the team and country into disrepute because of their actions. We’ve seen this widespread across many sports including cycling, where disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories. Whilst their actions will be long forgotten and forgiven in time, they will always be remembered as less than sporting heroes for their actions. Not all of us will be faced with making such choices, though it shows how our actions have a ripple effect in our lives and the lives of others. For that reason, we should choose the path of betterment and excellence because it is lined with moral character. If we deviate from this path, it may be impossible to navigate our way back. Do you agree with this insofar as choosing to abide by our highest morals even if we aim to prosper financially or otherwise? It is not always the easy road to take, but the one that cultivates our strength of character.

Pursue Character And Integrity

“All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”—Calvin Coolidge

Many people experience problems in their lives because they choose the easy path. Everyone is looking for shortcuts, whether it be in: business, health, finance or relationships. The craving for success without committing oneself to the task is an attractive undertaking many go in search of. As you know, what comes quickly may not be long-lasting. For example, if we want to be in an intimate relationship, we may need to put the other person’s interests before ours. We will need to be a good listener and give of our time to nurture the relationship. In this example, choosing personal growth means investing in others before our needs are met, which reinforces our character. If you walk away with one key point from this piece that is: Always choose actions that pull you closer to the person you want to become, even if it means walking away from something you aim to profit from. Good character and values are scarce nowadays, since many are unwilling to invest in themselves. We have become a throwaway society with less than optimal values and character. It’s rare to meet a person with strong values because most people are lured by the notion of: “What’s in it for me?” What’s in it for you may not be what’s in it for others. Personal growth will require you to put other people before you, so it matters in the long run. It’s what the late Stephen Covey talked about in The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People with Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Therefore, decide what’s important to you and follow the principles as best you can. Pursue character and integrity as your highest moral code if that is who you intend to be. Choosing the path of good moral character can be a lonely road because not all people walk the path, so you will be required to walk it alone. Do so anyway. The one key principle is the relationship you have with yourself which cannot be taken from you, so guard it fiercely so you evolve into someone you are proud to be.

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