The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth

By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo

Another wonderful book from one of my favorite leadership gurus, John Maxwell.  “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential” is packed with fifteen wise points but we can’t accommodate them all in this article. I’ll just pick out my five favorite ones.  I highly recommend reading the entire book to get the full dose of John Maxwell’s wisdom.

How Far Can I Go?

First, is the attitude of constant improvement to the very end of our life.  When John Maxwell decided to make a goal of growth, he initially asked himself, “How long will this take?” but he came to realize it’s the wrong question because it limits your potential.  “How far can I go?” is a much better one because it makes the sky as the limit.  Think of learning for example.  Will you just be contented of graduating a course in college and say that’s how far you can go in terms of learning.  Learning does not just happen inside the classroom; we should embark on learning as a habit and not just look at it as a diploma.  Learn from others, learn from social media, learn from the news media, learn from books, there is so much information to consume but just choose wisely from those source that could contribute to growth in character and virtues.  There’s much information out there but few that contains wisdom.

Do It Now

Have a sense of urgency with your goals by saying to yourself first thing in the morning upon waking up, “Do it now!”.  In fact, John recommends you say that phrase 50 times a day to psyche you up to doing it.  The idea is to overcome our negative feelings of laziness and comfort that even if we don’t feel doing what needs to be done, we do it because nobody has become successful in life giving in to negative feelings.  John learned this method from W. Clement Stone back in a seminar John attended in 1974.  Stone was a business tycoon who had made his fortune in insurance. His session was titled ‘Do It Now,” and one of the things he shared was: ‘Before you get out of bed every morning, say ‘do it now’ fifty times. At the end of the day before you go to sleep, the last thing you should do is say ‘do it now’.

Discipline

John Maxwell says, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.”  And that kind of discipline should be manifested daily.  John further says “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.”  We need to cross that discipline bridge daily because success is found in our daily routine.  “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing. That’s the Law of Consistency. It doesn’t matter how talented you are. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities you receive. If you want to grow, consistency is key.” (John Maxwell)

Thanking Those Who Dug the Well

A Chinese proverb says that those who drink the water must remember those who dug the well. Everything we do, every accomplishment we have, every milestone we pass has come in part because of the efforts of others. There are no self-made men or women. If we can remember that, we can be grateful. And if we are grateful, we are more likely to develop good character than if we aren’t.  Why does John insist on having this virtue of gratitude towards growth?  Because we can only grow as much as we have the right attitude and character.  If we have vices for example, not only will it limit our growth but vices could even take us away from that attitude to grow constantly.

We are surrounded with “silent gifts” as Patricia Ryan Madson, author of the book “Improve Wisdom” would say it.  The smartphone that you have, the paper that you use for writing, the internet, are all products of hard work of others that we are now enjoying.  We should thank even our garbage collector by saying “Good morning” or just to smile at them for helping keep our homes clean and healthy.

Allow Yourself to Grow Slowly

When it comes to personal growth, we can fall into the vice of impatience.  We want money, internet speed, the food we order in the restaurant, to be fast and easy.  And this impatient attitude can infect our struggle for growth.  The secret isn’t really to want more or want it faster. It’s to put more time and attention into what you have and what you can do now.  Remember that a squash vine or tomato plant grows in a matter of weeks, produces fruits for several days and then dies when winter comes. In comparison, a tree grows slowly—over years, decades, or even centuries and it produces fruit for decades but can stand against the cold of winter and the heat of summer.

We need to be patient with ourselves when intending to grow, for life is a marathon and not a sprint.  Only good habits that have been developed on a daily and constant basis become well rooted in our character compared to those so-called “good habits” developed when finishing a project for example that would just disappear and are co-terminus with the project once the project is finished.

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