The Importance of Growth
Imagine if you will…
Before I get into some of the main Engineer Your Life concepts, let’s get our Twilight Zone on for this week’s blog post and use our imaginations.
If you never changed
I want you to sit back and visualise what your life would look like if, from this moment forward you never changed or developed yourself. That means no new skills, no chance encounters with ‘the right person’ or the ‘right job’, you might get promoted for ‘time served’ but think about what the reality is based on your current job and others who’ve ‘climbed the corporate ladder’. Take the average of the last month or two and chart the trajectory forward. What does that look like in 20 years?
Take a breath, close your eyes and consider; what does your job look like? Are you really on track to be a hot shot or is it middle management (or equivalent) for you? If you’re working hard, are you working smart enough with the right people? What are the chances you end up with a stress belly and heart problems instead of on top? Do you get enough rest or too much? What about your diet? What does your health look like in the future? Your relationships? How much work do you currently put in to show the people around you that you care about them? How much have you invested currently in your passions or your dreams? If today’s anything to go by will you ever learn guitar or get that home in southern Italy?
If you’re visualising yourself slaying, you’re probably not projecting honestly or haven’t considered what it means to not change at all, because you likely do a lot of self-development without realising it. Without continual improvement and at least weekly investment towards our hopes and dreams, I’m sorry to break it to you, but probability isn’t on your side. Self-improvement by its very nature involves a commitment change and the fact of the matter is, right now, you don’t know what the change required of you will be. You just have to be ready to embrace it with the end goal in mind.
That person you imagined already exists
That person without change you imagined already exists, they walk among us. You probably don’t have to look very far to find them, every workplace has at least one. They are what I like to call “Cynical Man”, although of course Cynical Men come in all genders.
Cynical Man is the person that tells you there’s no point in trying because “it’s all political around here”. Cynical Man is the one who tells you to cut corners, “nobody ever notices” — trust me, they do. Cynical Man is the person who’s been in the same tier of the company structure for too long. Cynical Man is the person who blames the ‘system’, management or some back stabbing co-worker for the ceiling they’ve reached in their career.
Cynical Man never changed. To be fair to the person you might be thinking of, or if you’re thinking “Oh god, that’s me!” We all have our own crosses to bear and there are often legitimate reasons why Cynical Man is the way they are. Don’t ever think you’re better than Cynical Man. The slippery slope is indeed slippery, time creeps slowly but steadily and it’s really hard to not become a member of the cynical herd. After all, few people ever get to achieve their dreams.
Prepare Yourself For Change
If you’ve really thrown yourself into the visualisation, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re feeling the onset of an existential crisis right now. I could be cruel and end the article here, hoping ‘the fear’ motivates you, but firstly I don’t have it in me to be that cruel and secondly, I’m not convinced ‘the stick’ is much use without ‘the carrot’, there’s reason for optimism.
Okay, so I was going to say here that there’s objectively never been a better time than right now to live on this planet. I don’t have the temerity to suggest that’s currently 100% true given the glaring hole in my argument which would be the global pandemic and its consequences which has caused much hardship. It has truly rocked the globe. Yet, without trivialising this deadly disease and the deaths it has caused, virtually all data shows we’re getting much better at dealing with the virus and a vaccine has been produced and tested in record time and is already in mass production in several parts of the world. We’re certainly not out of the woods and there is still hardship ahead for many as we face the economic fallout of locking down the labour force. Although, many can also testify that during economic recovery is where there is most opportunity, just ask Bill Gates and Microsoft which was started during the oil embargo recession. You just have to be willing to push where there is mush, find those soft spots early and orientate yourself towards them. When we come out of the other side, and we will, as true as it was in January 2020, you will once again live in objectively the best time to be alive.
Yes Gen Z even for you, sure house prices may be massively inflated, I’m mad about that too, and nothing is perfect. But! You also have iPhones that can search anything and reach anyone in an instant, casualties from war have drastically decreased, you have access to tonnes of free education, Kickstarter, YouTube, Etsy, Spotify, Twitch and god knows what else to reach markets quickly and do, make and sell virtually anything. Heck, top businesses are removing their degree requirement from job roles because they recognise experience and self-learning are more valuable, even a university degree isn’t necessarily a gatekeeper to the job you want anymore. I really could go on as I’ve not done the present justice, but check out this article if you need more convincing. Pending a recovery, there has still never been a better time in human history to “follow your truth.”
Positive Change x Effectiveness of Change = Overall Growth
Consider this quote:
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
— Dwight D. Eisenhower
Your life will almost never go to plan, sh*t happens, opportunities are snatched away and fate is a cruel mistress. Nevertheless, it is much worse to face the world without a plan than with one. Therefore, to have a good ‘plan’ it must change constantly and for growth to happen our definition of what positive change is for us must change in order for it to result in overall growth over time.
We can chart our growth and use the current data we have to somewhat predict where we’ll end up, doing so lets us tweak what we’re doing right now to make our trajectory look better. However, only a fool thinks they can stay on that trajectory as time passes. As the world changes the things you were doing to help growth now carry less weight. In our formula this would be ‘effectiveness of change’. For example, learning how to encode Betamax could be considered gaining a skill and a positive change however, with the modern day effectiveness being close to zero, the overall growth ends up close to zero.
Thus, it becomes necessary that we develop a system or an engine of improvement (good eh?) through which we can evaluate these factors and effectuate the most effective forms of change. This is how we can produce the most growth. We can make our growth look exponential rather than linear and totally kick some ass.
So, what’s my take away message from all of this? It can be diluted down to three points:
1. Change is necessary for growth
2. For change to result in growth, it must be effective
3. For change to be effective, it must be constantly evaluated and updated
I want you all to remember this, and hopefully, make a commitment, even just mentally, to the bullet points above as we discuss the principles of Engineer Your Life and how they apply to you can creating that growth.
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This article was written by Cameron Readman. If you’d like to know more or receive notifications for future articles, please head over to the Website and subscribe at the bottom of the page!