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Steve Martin

Personal Growth

Posted on 2012.12.16 at 00:00
Current Location: 67235
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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.


michelle1963 at 2012-12-17 22:39 (UTC) (Link)
It appears that some people have built such walls around their sense of self, that anything that challenges their underlying worldview is simply dismissed or viewed as a threat and actively fought against.
ehowton at 2012-12-17 22:42 (UTC) (Link)
I've heard it said that if we do not grow, we wither (or something to that effect). While that seems an overly-simplistic comparison allowing for little in-between, it seems to have overtones of truth embedded in it.

Edited at 2012-12-17 10:43 pm (UTC)
michelle1963 at 2012-12-17 22:51 (UTC) (Link)
It does make some sense. If a person sets his or her sense of self in stone at say the ripe old age of 20, with no facility in place for growth and maturation, skills, thoughts, concepts that may have been cutting edge and useful among that age group will eventually become ineffective as one ages when dealing with others of their age group that have grown and matured.

Oddly enough such people are often seen as old before their time.
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