On growth, change & success: personal reflections

My conversation with Cecilia challenged me to reconsider the concept of “change”. In my mind, the word change is synonymous with growth as I view change as an incremental process. Like growth, it does not happen overnight or without intentionality. However, for Cecilia the language of change makes her feel as though the progress she has made up until now is meaningless.

Now that I think about it, I can see where Cecilia is coming from as the language of growth suggests working with what you are now to become a better version of yourself. Change on the other hand, suggests something more radical: a new version of you.

Can the two concepts be reconciled?

I have come to the conclusion that growth and change cannot happen without one another. As we grow, we change – we become a new version of ourselves. New, which means ‘not existing before’. However, just like metamorphosis for a butterfly, becoming a new, better version of ourselves is an uncomfortable process. We often call this “growing pains”.

Don’t waste seasons of hardship. It can be recycled and turned into something new.

Having reflected on this idea of “growing pains”, I notice that some of my most profound revelations have come from seasons of hardship. A verse from Ecclesiastes validates this phenomenon as King Solomon writes: “Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us” (NLT). I do not know why it is the case, but sadness does indeed make us into a more “purified” version of ourselves. Perhaps it is because in those moments we begin to seek for something more and when we seek, we find. We find the More that we were looking for and we are made new.

What’s the point if my life doesn’t lead to the More?

Given that this platform is dedicated to exploring the idea of success, I have thought deeply about what success looks like to me. As I wrote down my “dream life” on a piece of paper, I realised that I did not mention much about what I wanted to do in life, it mostly involved who I wanted to be. That is not to say I do not have particular goals, but when it really comes down to it, I hope for the work that I do on this earth to lead to more than just personal accolades. I believe we have all been given particular gifts and talents that can be used to enhance our realities, and the lives of others. I hope to use my gifts and talents in such a way – particularly to challenge injustices such as food poverty and homelessness.

God is my success.

If I should put my definition of success in its simplest terms: God is my success. This is because all the things that I have achieved and hope to achieve, are made possible because of Him. Also, everything I need and want from life is found in God. He is the More, and so He is my success.

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