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by Ezekiel Olukolajo
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Growth is a process not an event. Someone has said that ‘The secret of lasting success is to grow up and not to go up’. How true! Unfortunately the option of growing up into success is not popular with majority. Many people’s approach and success drive in life is more of ‘going up’ than ‘growing up’ and this is responsible for the monumental crash and downfall of most people.

Growth is a lifetime affair; it involves gradual, consistent and steady transformation of the whole being of a man. True success is not what anyone can stumble into, success is a journey not a destination!
The reason success remains a mirage to so many people is that they pay little or no attention to their personal development and growth. Success is an outcome of a process and that process involves personal growth and development.

Growth and development begins from within. A lot of people are yet to come to terms with the reality that progress is not possible until a man breaks off from bondages and limitations within himself. Somebody once said that ‘you cannot remain stagnant within and hope to travel far outside’. This is very true! Growth begins from a man’s mind. Many people have been held bound and find it difficult to make progress not because the environment is not enabling or the resources are absent, but because their minds are still in bondage. The first step in personal growth and development therefore is mental freedom.

Mental freedom involves a number of things which include re-orientation, self awareness and self discipline. Mind re-orientation is necessary in personal growth and can be achieved through education of the mind. Education here does not necessarily mean formal education as it is generally understood, but refers to the whole process of acquisition of knowledge, ideas, information and thoughts which have the ability of affecting a person’s disposition, values, character and actions. This process is a continuous one and is not restricted to the four walls of a classroom. Interestingly, re-orientation through education of the mind has no restrictions or boundaries in this information age, anyone who is willing to develop himself can make most of the opportunities to learn new things and get better anytime and anywhere. However, it is important to emphasize that the attitude of the individual really matters in re-orientation of his or her mind. Anyone who has a receptive and positive mind is always ready to learn new things, change his or her old ways and get better. The purpose of acquisition of knowledge is not for the sake of it but for the expected changes and transformation it is meant to produce in the life of the individual.

Self awareness or self discovery is another vital step to mental freedom. Ascertaining the abilities and potentials in you will definitely help you to accept, value and have confidence in yourself. Low self esteem is a major barrier to personal development and growth. A man who does not value or sees any good in himself is bound to suffer defeats and setbacks in life, he is likely to be relegated to the background. The cure for low self esteem therefore has to begin in the very core of human’s mind. Self esteem has nothing to do with physical or material things a man surrounds himself with; it is the real worth of a man displayed through good values, ethics, confidence and belief in oneself. One of the ways to build self esteem is by associating with people who will inspire you to belief in yourself and resist mediocrity in whatever form – ‘iron sharpeneth iron’ says the scriptures.

The importance of self discipline in personal growth and development cannot be overemphasized. Self discipline involves training and exercising of the mind so as to keep a man going even in the face of difficulties and challenges. The mind is the power house that controls every action and activity of man, behind every slack hand is an unwilling heart! Our greatest enemy in this age appears to be laziness of the mind. A lazy mind is too sluggish and can never be creative. To be able to keep fit, grow effectively and make progress in life, real time must be devoted to constant exploration of the mind through creative thinking. It has been said that the mind is a parachute, it functions well when it is open! Your mind is never meant to be a trash can for collection of rubbish; your mind can become creative when you fill it with wholesome materials and positive things.

Personal growth and development requires a holistic approach. For a man to remain strong, every sphere of his life must experience transformation concurrently. The undoing of many people is that they place a great deal of emphasis on developing only one aspect of their lives at the detriment of the others. For instance, some people have taken time to build great financial and material empires but paid little or no attention to building their character. This explains the reason why they fall like a pile of cards and are unable to stand the test of time. Wealth without character is like a building without foundation! Some people have also shown a great deal of commitment to building their careers and professions but invested little or no time in building their marriages and homes, a little wonder they become miserable and defenceless when everything else fails out there. Real growth is one in which every aspect of your life undergoes transformation at the same time, you cannot afford to neglect any aspect, the price may be greater than you can afford!

Everyone’s growth is his or her personal responsibility. Your development and advancement in life is a responsibility you cannot delegate to someone else. Growth happens when a man consciously decides to break away from his old ways and methods and accepts to change. Life is not obliged to be fair to anyone, what becomes of your destiny is entirely determined by your choices. You can decide to remain stagnant or go forward; you may decide to settle for the average or go the extra mile; you may decide to quit or keep on going in the face of life’s challenges, the choice is yours.

Success has no provision for luck, when you invest in your personal growth and development, you will be succeeding without realizing it! GROW UP, DON’T GO UP!

Ezekiel Olukolajo
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