Do you realize that the greatest deterrent to personal growth is getting stuck in your ways? We grow when we change our routines, when we are receptive to new ideas, when we try new experiences. We’re part of an ever expanding Universe and, therefore, we’re meant to evolve.
When you evolve, you gain confidence
I never saw myself as an adventurous type. We tend to think of adventure as an experience that we have when we travel. Evolutionary thinkers, however, point out that adventure can be experienced in several ways.
When I push myself to learn something new, I gain confidence in who I am and what my purpose is. If someone questions why I practice digital marketing, for example, I don’t have the need to explain. I’ve reached a level of confidence where I’m comfortable in my own skin. We all eventually do. My instant reaction in the past would have been a quick come back to justify my position. No more. What a great feeling this is. It’s like breaking a chain that tethers you to a ball. Learning new skills makes you grow and gain confidence.
It takes time and opportunities to reach a stage of confidence. It comes through practice or through trial and error. Knowing this helps us to get through adversity calmly. We no longer demand an instant solution to a problem, which may have previously made us angry or frustrated. Finding solutions to problems are opportunities to grow.
Contrasts, like good and bad, show us the way. It is through comparison that we know what we prefer. If we didn’t have these, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to choose one over the other.
We evolve through our choices
Having choice empower us. It gives us confidence over how to create our lives. When we’re confident, we’re more apt to try new things. The more new things we try, the more we experience, the more we experience, the more we evolve and the less we rely on someone else’s experience to validate our actions. How much more fun is that? Wouldn’t you rather be the life of the party instead of hearing about it?
Many people prefer routines because the familiar is safe. But let me give you an example why living like this is limiting to your evolution. What happens to a plant in a small pot? It can’t grow. The instant you place it in a larger vessel, it thrives. It’s pretty much the same for all living things.
Let’s use another example. Some time ago I won a tiny goldfish at a fair and, for a while, I kept in a small bowl. The minute I transferred it to a larger one, it grew. And so it went. He kept growing and growing with the larger environments that I provided until one day the small little fish became a beautiful koi. Humans are similar. Given the opportunity, we grow.
Confidence, not to be confused with arrogance or superiority, is an inner knowing that only comes through direct experience. It’s personal wisdom. It’s a knowledge that keeps us centered. The ancients used to call this “gnosis.”
I went through a period of being reluctant to get on a plane. I don’t know where that feeling came from but it was stymying. It was unlike me. I decided to face my fear head on and take flying lessons. What emerged was empowering. Not only did I learn about the physics of flying but I also gained an understanding of the mechanics of an airplane. It gave me the confidence and reassurance that I’m safer in the air than doing many other things like crossing the street in New York City!
We evolve when we challenge ourselves intellectually
I get a thrill when I learn new things. I’m always exploring emerging ideas, reading leading-edge thought books, taking on-line courses, and listening to unconventional thinkers, all with the purpose of enlarging my world-view. Intuitively, I know that’s one great way to evolve.
Challenging ourselves in the way we think opens our minds in healthy ways. Our brains carry information (thought) which is passed along through electrical nerve impulses. This data travels throughout our body by connection of the brain to the spinal cord via the nervous system. It dictates how it operates.Thoughts affect us on a cellular as well as on a whole level.
Knowing this, when you're feeling stuck, consider learning something new. When we consider innovative ideas or different philosophies we gain a greater understanding of the Universe and especially of ourselves. A malleable world-view helps us to be more open to others, as well. As our intellectual matrix grows, the expanding flow of energy weakens and eventually breaks down preconceived thoughts (barriers) along the way.
I’m not suggesting that we have to accept every piece of information that we come across, but by considering it, we gain additional perspectives and, as a bonus, the process makes us feel alive. Thoughts are energizing.
We don’t have to go through physical experiences to feel exhilarated. We just have to have a thought about an experience, a recall or an envisioning in our minds. This is what manifestation is. If we think about something long enough, it will become an experience, whether in physical or non-physical form.
Think about it. Have you ever remembered a fabulous vacation or a incredible experience? Can you recall the details? The feeling? Can you hear the music, sounds, smell the food, see the people you were with? How does it make you feel right now just thinking about it? Do you need to be there to feel great?
We evolve when we travel
The joy of learning comes through putting things into action. If we stagnate, if we remain in familiar space we have little joy.
I’ve participated in a number of volunteer service trips. Each one has not only given me a different understanding of the world but also of myself. I believe this happens any time we travel. When I want to grow, I pack my bags.
I had the pleasure of spending time with a volunteer in Costa Rica who expressed “this experience tapped into our desire to rise to a challenge and give us the confidence to achieve results, all the while gently guiding and encouraging our personal growth.”
Overcoming self-imposed limitations through travel is a great way to evolve. I’ve met people who wanted to join our volunteer teams but were too set in their ways to try something different.
While traveling through the jungle of Peru in the Amazon, I had an experience that I call upon at times when I have self-doubt or need to overcome a challenging situation. We’ve all faced difficult moments thinking we’d never get through. But we did.
Nighttime in the jungle is not for the faint of heart. On the second evening of this trip, it took me several hours to fall asleep because the noise of the insects was so deafening.
Except for the flimsy screen netting, my room was exposed to the elements on two sides. This mesh was the only barrier between me and the wildlife in the jungle. There were wide gaps between the floor planks, making it easy for large centipedes and scorpions to get in. My room was raised about ten feet off the ground but, in my opinion, still not high enough for a large mammal to ram through.
Suddenly, my body stiffened at the sound of a nearby creature. I sensed that the animal just outside my room was very large. It was hard to gauge its distance because it was pitch dark. I could hear its body rubbing against a tree trunk. It was so close that I thought I could smell its hide. When it started grunting just feet away from my bed, my heart began pounding out of my chest. Could it be a jaguar, a peccary, capybara or giant anteater, known for attacking people with its lethal claws?
The animal sounded massive. Despite being pushed to my limits, I was elated by the experience. I was exhilirated and felt truly alive in that moment. I was living a new adventure. I was energized and I was ready for whatever came next.
For the longest time, I tried to force my heart rate down through long slow deep breaths so I could relax and fall into a slumber. I kept getting distracted by the sound of crunching leaves, the breaking of branches, the howling of monkeys and the snapping of brush. There was hooting and animal calling all around. It was only due to exhaustion that I finally succumbed.
Sometimes my journey as an online marketer reminds me of some feelings I experienced in the jungle. When something big and unfamiliar arises, I take long, slow deep breaths and move forward, knowing that everything will be fine. I remind myself that overcoming challenges is how I grow.
The adventure of online marketing is exciting. Like the experience of the Amazon, each market, each new campaign, each advertising medium is unfamiliar and could be scary at first but in the end, it's gratifying. If you're looking for adventure, growth and rewards, you may want to learn more about our laptop lifestyle. We travel the world digitally. We grow exponentially. That’s how we evolve.
ROXANA BOWGEN, Digital Marketing Consultant
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