7 Principles to Peace, Joy, and Absolute Passion

Principle 2: Be growth-oriented, not close-minded.

First I’d like to bring your attention to my use of the phrase growth-oriented instead of growth-minded (opposite of close-minded). This was done intentionally. Oriented implies a much broader perspective than minded. This Principle encourages us to be intellectually, emotionally and/or functionally directed. Bring everything you have and stay interested!

Let’s begin by understanding the importance of growth. The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) has a principle: “We either grow or die.” This concept may at first seem shocking. But, think about it…what lives that doesn’t grow?

Death implies stagnation and inaction. So often it is much easier to see and point out all the problems or issues that exist or could result and then we may reason that it is best to just leave well enough alone. I once worked with an individual who had to be one of the most negative persons I have ever met. She was genuinely a nice, caring and hard working person whose response to everything was negative. She would not allow herself to really hope or see the good in just about anything, especially in regard to changes. Her immediate response was that any change in the status quo would eventually turn out badly or that any new opportunity would come to ruin. She shared with me that she did not like seeing the world this way but that’s how she was raised. With a new awareness and a desire to “live”, she courageously worked hard to shift her orientation toward growth and to consciously choose her responses in a more positive way. Eventually, with practice and help, she put off the close-minded approach and opened (grew) to a new way of seeing and experiencing the world. What a blessing she is, not only to herself, but to all those around her as well.

Are you willing to grow where you dare? The answer is yes or you probably wouldn’t be reading this. Good for you!

In the first paragraph above, I discuss the importance of the words (or language) we use and the significance of staying interested. Let’s use the word curiosity for staying interested. Adopt a genuinely curious attitude and language to go with it. And, then, from the place of curiosity, seek to grow.

Asking open-ended questions is one of the best ways to learn and grow as they are tools to solicit information, knowledge and insight from others. Open-ended questions may begin with who, what, where, when, and my favorites, how and why. Other great openers are “tell me about” or “tell me more.” I suggest that you even begin to use this curious language with yourself. Oh come on now, we all talk to ourselves – go ahead and admit it and then change up the conversation – use kind and gentle words of encouragement and self-talk that will support you instead of chastise. No one knows who said this but this quote cracks me up – probably because it holds such truth, “If we treated our friends like we treat ourselves, we’d all go to jail.” Don’t go to jail.

After you have asked an open-ended question or invited someone to tell you more, then be quiet and listen intently for his or her response and be fully present as you hear. Be a reflective listener. Per Wikipedia, reflective listening is a communication strategy involving two key steps: seeking to understand a speaker’s idea, and then offering the idea back to the speaker to confirm the idea has been understood correctly.

In order to sustain this kind of language shift and curiosity approach to life (or any change for that matter) so that it becomes part of who we are (growth-oriented for the purpose of this principle), it is imperative that we WAKE UP! Pay attention; become aware; increase consciousness. The more awake (conscious) we are, the less our ego is in charge and thus the more we grow. But don’t be discouraged if old patterns show up as waking up requires practice-practice-practice. Our mind (a.k.a. ego in the broad sense) doesn’t like change. When you become aware of close-minded thinking then this simple awareness means that you are conscious and from this place you have the power to then choose to stay the course or make a shift.  Utilizing the strategies discussed with this principle can help you shift. The good news is that as you become more and more conscious, the ego will begin to dissolve, freeing you for amazing growth potential.

Growth also comes through the release of the need to be in control or to control. You might be asking, control what? Well, everything. Some examples might include the outcome, someone else’s behavior or actions, the situation, and so forth. The irony is that when we release this need to control, we actually gain that which we were seeking – control (or the sense of control to the mind/ego). Furthermore, we open ourselves to possibilities beyond the limits of our own understanding. The amazing result: We grow! We’ll discuss control more in Principle 4: Thrive where you are.

Stretch your limits – growth is beyond your comfort zone. As human beings, most of us desire some level of comfort and security. While comfort and security makes us feel warm, cozy and there is a part of us that wants things to stay “just as they are,” it is prudent to recognize that change is ever present, ever happening.  Getting to a “good place” and wanting to stay there is totally normal, however, we must be mindful of becoming complacent. Complacency can be the enemy of growth.

Be willing to laugh at yourself. I don’t think that anyone has ever really died from embarrassmentJ…not directly anyway. John Leonard once said: “To be capable of embarrassment is the beginning of moral consciousness. Honor grows from qualms.”

Finally, and maybe the most important concept I share as you embrace your growth-oriented journey, is to adopt the quality of humility. Humility is not thinking you are better than other people. But, I really like the way that C.S. Lewis expressed it, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

The Tao saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” imparts great wisdom. Be open to grow and learn from everyone. 

Abound in grace,


P.S. – If you ever have questions, feel comfortable reaching out to me (Click here)