Daily Leadership Thought #117 – Everyone Can Grow and Change

April 5, 2011

Free Man Standing on Yellow Rapeseed Flower Field Across Mountains Stock Photo

I continue to be fascinated and a bit troubled by people who claim an unwillingness to grow or change.  They seem to live by the Popeye motto, “I am what I am” and assume everyone else will simply accept this point of view whether they like it or not.  Our actions and behaviors will always have consequences both good and bad.  The goal should be to maximize the good and limit the bad.  There is also a widely held view gaining popularity in professional circles that individuals should focus most of their efforts on cultivating their strengths rather than addressing their weaknesses.  Taken out of an appropriate context, this mindset could potentially lead to selfish behaviors and stunted relationship outcomes.

Sure, there are certain parts of us that are hardwired; however, everyone is capable of growth and change.  Not all behaviors are acceptable (or useful) and each of us has character traits/flaws that hold us back rather than propel us forward. For example, it’s not okay to go through life conflict adverse, because conflict is a natural and sometimes essential part of interacting with our fellow human beings.  An individual who struggles with this issue needs to learn how to effectively manage their response when disagreements happen and not default to avoidance behaviors.  In addition, technology has become a critical part of everyday life.  Taking pride in being a technological Luddite only holds someone back and inhibits their ability to ride the insurmountable wave of progress.

There is no shortage of examples I could pull from to make my point.  The fact is that we inhabit this planet with other people.  No one lives in a complete vacuum and our actions (or lack thereof) affect us and others positively and/or negatively.    Life is about personal growth and development.  Besides obvious physical characteristics, everyone has the individual capacity to adapt and change.   It is sometimes arduous work but trust me, it is better than the alternative.  If you are not moving forward and growing, you are going backward and waning.