Does growth exist? Beyond the physical development of our youth, is ongoing personal development a possibility or is everything we already can be present and we only have to realise its presence?
This latter point of view was raised by a friend of mine in a discussion about personal growth. He argued that we were already everything we could be, and that that which we call growth (in the west) is actually just a realisation of something we always were. He went on to say that all that we are is present at birth and that we just had to discover its presence for this truth to emerge.
My immediate reaction to this was, ‘That’s ridiculous’. We experience personal development and growth in response to challenging circumstances, new experiences, formal and informal learning and the assimilation of a number of these thing together over a period of years. Some call this wisdom.
I believe his viewpoint was that whatever we believed the cause was that the ‘development’ was always part of us. The event, circumstances or learning was merely the doorway to that part of ourselves.
Do you know what? I don’t think it really matters how we interpret this aspect of life. Perhaps those two viewpoints are just different ways of describing the same thing and the most important aspect of living is that we pay attention to the opportunities, happenings and make wise choices. What emerges from those choices is what it is.
Planning and Life’s Events
At this time of year the idea of growth (both nature’s and our own personal development) is often on our minds. The idea that we are starting a New Year provides the possibility that we could re-evaluate some of our usual choices, make some wiser decisions and maybe some degree of personal growth will emerge.
I do believe that a regular reflection upon how you are living and what choices you could make to be an even better version of who you are (or open more of those doorways) is a positive strategy for living well. Some commit to New Year’s resolutions. Others plan their year ahead. I have in previous years followed the latter path and have committed to a thorough review of the previous year before anticipating the year to come and developing a loose plan for the achievement of all that I desire!
This year I started the same process (it would have been the 5th year in a row) but it just did not feel right. Instead I sat and reflected upon this feeling, waiting for some wisdom to emerge. Somehow a conclusion suggested itself; distill this planning to a list of priorities. Priorities that I could use whenever I was unclear of the way forward or had a decision to make. I could then look at the list and ask myself what decision, action or choice would best support the achievement of one of these priorities.
I had started to do something similar towards the end of 2017. I know that it seems to support me, but I also recognise that regular evaluation of both the priorities and how I am living is an essential part of the process. Will it result in personal growth? Who knows? Check back here next year!
The photos are all favourites I created whilst I was dog sitting three enormous Labradoodles in Lee-on-the-Solent in between Christmas and New Year. My decision to go there was almost entirely based upon the name of the town!
They exhibit my usual style and sense of humour, but also remind me that professional development in photography is also still desirable. Currently that possibility is in exploring the potential of multiple exposures, all created in camera.