Beyond being: The art of becoming

By Herman M. Lagon

In a world fixated on the end result, the journey often gets overlooked. Yet, we genuinely evolve in the journey—the process of becoming. Carol S. Dweck’s “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” champions this notion, suggesting that a fixed mindset limits growth by enforcing the idea that one must simply “be” rather than “become.” But what if we embrace the “growth mindset” notion that life is not about static being but continuous becoming?

First, let us consider the nature of “becoming” in the context of education. For students, a growth mindset transforms challenges into learning opportunities rather than obstacles that might expose a lack of intelligence. This approach encourages resilience, a critical attribute in our fast-evolving world. A student who embraces difficulties with a mindset geared towards growth will likely excel beyond one who gives up when faced with the unknown.

This concept of becoming over being manifests as career adaptability in the professional realm. Workers are more likely to take initiative and try new things when they see their career growth as ongoing. A young professional, for instance, may begin their career at the entry level but, by concentrating on their development, work their way up to a leadership position while learning and adapting.

Personal relationships also benefit from this mindset. Consider a partnership where both individuals focus on growth; such relationships tend to be more dynamic and resilient. Each partner’s commitment to becoming a better person can lead to a more fulfilling and adaptive relationship, unlike relationships where partners are fixed in their ways.

Feelings of mental and physical health are not immune to the influence of the philosophy of becoming. Changing one’s diet, exercise program, and mental health practices can be positively influenced by viewing health as a continuous process. This can make them more resistant to health issues and help them maintain good health over time.

Becoming is also a fertile ground for creativity. Musicians, authors, and artists who believe in their capacity for growth are more inclined to challenge themselves creatively. Rather than viewing their work as an end, they see it as a means to an end—a creative inquiry.

A more in-depth familiarity with one’s identity is another goal of the “becoming” ideology. An individual’s capacity to grow depends on their level of self-knowledge, which can be attained via persistent introspection into their wants, needs, anxieties, and driving forces.

This perspective is crucial in times of failure. To respond to setbacks healthily and productively, one must see them as stepping stones on the road to becoming, not as final verdicts on one’s existence.

An emphasis on becoming promotes strategies and policies that enable continual improvement in community and society development, including community-driven development projects and lifelong learning. Growth that benefits all segments of society can be achieved with this strategy.

Environmental stewardship is another area where the mindset of becoming can lead to significant benefits. Suppose societies view their relationship with the environment as a journey toward sustainability rather than a static state to be maintained. In that case, they are more likely to adopt innovative practices that ensure long-term environmental health.

Lastly, focusing on becoming rather than being in spiritual and philosophical realms can lead to a more fulfilling and expansive existence. Many spiritual traditions emphasize the journey or the path as being more (magis) enlightening than any particular state of enlightenment.

Focusing on “becoming” rather than “being” has far-reaching effects on many areas of life, not simply personal development. It fosters resilience, adaptability, and a deeper engagement with the world. As we face the complexities of modern life, embracing the process of becoming might be the key to a more prosperous, more successful existence. With all its twists and turns, the journey is where the magic truly happens. Let us cherish the becoming and move beyond just being.

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Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.

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