Today we’re chatting about the lifelong journey of getting to know ourselves, with all its twists and turns. For those fortunate enough to even get to a point of wanting to dig deep within, this desire often comes, ironically, from unfortunate circumstances. It could be a traumatic experience that suddenly opens our eyes and shifts our perception. It could be a childhood event that conditions our entire existence in ways we can’t even imagine.
Growth and evolution often stem from adversity and it becomes our responsibility to start looking within to find solutions, instead of living a life based on avoidance and fear, which are biggest obstacles in the way of growth.
“And the Day Came When the Risk to Remain Tight In a Bud Was More Painful Than the Risk It Took to Blossom.” – Anais Nin
When the illusion of invincibility is shattered
When we’re young, fit and living our best life, we perceive ourselves as invincible. How could we not?
Because we choose to nourish this illusion, any physical problem or health issue comes as a strong shock. “I’m so young, how can I get sick? It’s not fair!” - we expect things to go smoothly for us, as if age entitles us to it.
The collapse of this illusion brings about change in one’s perception of the world. It becomes painfully obvious that we’re all so vulnerable. This realisation is a self-development seed that once planted, grows over time and helps us become wiser with our time on this planet, but also more compassionate towards others.
A childhood event can ripple through the decades
We’re not going to go as far as to say that EVERYTHING is related to childhood. But a big chunk of our conditioning comes from childhood, because that’s when we learn how to navigate this world, mostly from our parents.
In some circumstances, the desire to know oneself and grow comes from a childhood event that had a high impact on our psyche. It need not be a traumatic event, it could simply be the memory of a parent struggling to put food on the table. It could simply be seeing a mother suffer deeply.
This raises questions in a child that may stay unanswered for a very long time, until the adult has the right internal-resources to address them. And so, through going back to past events and shedding light on them, we understand our conditioning. We find out why we act in certain ways and that is the first step to moving on.
What’s the first step?
What if there is no traumatic event or catalyst for growth? What is the first step in that case?
Being inquisitive enough to ask the questions and find the answers will also bring about change. There are people who are naturally curious and always seek to know themselves. There are some who get inspired by others on their journey and start asking these questions.
It’s important to dissolve your beliefs about the world in order to become the sponge that is ready to absorb information.
The tools we use for growth
We’re fortunate enough to live in a world where we have access to countless self-development resources, from books and blogs to online courses, coaching sessions and personality tests. In this current environment, it’s enough to find one Youtube video or a podcast that sparks your curiosity and you can find endless resources on that topic.
One of the tests that has gained massive popularity is the Enneagram, which shows you your strengths and weaknesses, but also a path to growth. It’s the only tool that has this comprehensive and proactive approach.
As an addition to the Enneagram, the EnneaThought is a daily email that serves as an orientation tool. It offers you short insights into your personality type (that are often hard-to-swallow pills) and you can take a minute to check in with yourself and discover where you’re at. Are you succumbing to your weaknesses or taking steps on the growth path? Once you answer that question, you can readjust your behaviour.
Self-development books are also great additions to one’s growth efforts. There are so many out there that you would need a few lifetimes just to read them all, but there are certainly a few that can really shift your thinking pattern.
One more thing: Maybe one of the most precious tools for self-growth at your disposal is your entourage. The people you surround yourself with will help you enormously on your journey. Sharing our experiences and being able to see ourselves through the eyes of others helps us add more accuracy or at least additional perspectives on what we call self-awareness.
Thanks For Listening!
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Connect with Simple Minds Podcast:
Host: Conrad “Cone-rad” Francis
Co-Hosts: “Magic” Matt J Hanham, Travis Hayto & Justin Bourn
Production: Joshua Ames & Alexandra Cho