December 16th, 2012

Steve Martin

Personal Growth

I've been under the impression for many years that personal growth required a variety of experiences. I was able to easily explain away those who grew and matured without a plethora of experiences as unique to their cognitive ability, but have recently been stymied by those who have had many experiences without seemingly changing at all. An explanation for this has eluded me for many months, but I may have hit on something - more an extrapolation really of the sort of nonsense I've been spouting here for many years. So let me know what you think. Here we go!

Experiences alone do not create individual growth, they are simply the gateways for the opportunity in which to do so. What experience affords us is a platform on which to challenge ourselves; a reason. It is more difficult challenging held beliefs without first facing them. Experience has the occasion to create scenarios in which to face new ideas. If we have new experiences and do not allow them to challenge us or our way of thinking, growth cannot occur. Its not enough to experience something new. We have to contrast and compare that new experience with our expectations and belief. We don't even have to change what we believe, so long as we consider it. Its not necessarily the change which causes growth - though it could very well go hand-in-hand - simply the possibility of change; entertaining it - the challenge to current worldview.

Ergo, experiences do not equal growth, challenging ourselves is what changes us - experience simply gives us the new information in which to process. Because even we don't change our minds, we have new information on which to fall back on - also a good thing - and are therefore "changed" by the experience (growth) whether or not we change our worldview.