The 15 invaluable laws of growth

The leadership guru John C. Maxwell recently published his latest book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. It’s a timely and practical “growth tool” based on his 65 years of experience.

In his introduction Mr Maxwell writes: “To reach your potential you must grow. And to grow, you must be highly intentioned about it. This book is my effort to help you learn how to grow and develop yourself so you have the best chance of becoming the person you were created to be. My desire is to help you develop the right attitude, learn more about your strengths, tap into passion, become more in touch with your purpose, and develop your skills so you can be all you can be.”

Do you have a plan for your personal growth? Lots of people assume they grow by experience. That’s wrong. If you want your life to improve, you must improve yourself.

Here is a summation of some of the laws Mr Maxwell writes about:

The law of intentionality: Take a look at your calendar for the next 12 months. How much time have you specifically scheduled for personal growth?

The law of reflection: Most people are busy because they have a lot of demands on them. But there are markers along our life journey. If we don’t take time to pause and reflect, we can miss the significance of such events. Create a place where you can consistently and effectively pause and reflect. The suggested reflection schedules are: daily 10-30 minutes, weekly 1-2 hours, yearly several half-days.

The law of environment: There are several environments that have an impact on us. But people and books are two major ones. The late personal development expert Charles “Tremendous” Jones once said: “You are the same today that you are going to be in five years from now except for two things: the people with whom you associate and the books you read.”

Also notable is this observation from the motivational speaker Jim Rohn. “We become the combined average of the five people we hang around the most.”

When meeting an interesting person, mentor or a role model, prepare these questions to ask them: “What are their strengths? What are they learning now? What do I need right now? Whom have they met, what have they read or what have they done that has helped them? What haven’t I asked that I should have?”

The law of pain: Good management of bad experiences leads to great growth. What separates people who thrive from those merely surviving is how they face their problems. Successful people use bad experiences as stepping stones for success, says Mr Maxwell.

Everyone has bad experiences. No one likes them. Only a few people make bad experiences positive experiences. How do they do it?

1. They choose a positive life stance.

2. They embrace and develop their creativity.

3. They embrace the value of bad experiences.

4. They make good changes after learning from bad experiences.

5. They take responsibility for their lives.

At age 51 Mr Maxwell had a heart attack. Immediately after recovering, he changed his eating habits and bought into the practice of daily exercise. Based on his experiences, he suggests an idea for action:

“Spend time recalling the last five bad experiences you’ve had in your life. Write down each experience, along with what _ if anything _ you learned from it. Then evaluate whether you decided to make changes based on what you learned, and rate yourself on how well you did at implementing those changes in your life.”

The law of the rubber band: This law is about leaving your comfort zone in order to grow. Few people want to stretch. Too many people are willing to settle for average in life. Mr Maxwell writes: “I cannot stand the idea of settling for average.” Abraham Maslow asserted: “If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.” If you want to grow, then you should behave like the rubber band _ stretch yourself.

The law of the trade-off: Successful people make good trade-offs. Mr Maxwell himself says he is willing to give up financial security today for potential tomorrow. He has made seven major career moves in his life and in five of them took a pay cut to do so.

The law of modelling: If you follow only yourself, you will find yourself going in circles. The solution: find a mentor. Don’t shoot too high too soon. Find a mentor who is two or three levels ahead of you. Once you have one, be well prepared with 3-5 thoughtful questions in advance.

After you receive advice, apply it. In the next session, tell your mentor how you applied what you learned (or how you tried to apply it and failed so you can learn what you did wrong). Then ask your new questions and keep following the pattern.

This book is a great New Year gift for everyone.