3 lessons that help you evolve into the next version of yourself

This week I write about three golden nuggets, or insights, or wise expressions, that I believe to be related and of great importance. For me they highlight how we are always changing, how growth is something in our lives that lies deep within us, and how we should accept the fact that we will not remain the same.

Lesson 1: Growth is continuous.

Whatever stage you are in life right now, there is always room for improvement, room for growth. I find it fascinating about life that we can always learn and explore new things that are unknown to us. Life is full of gifts in the form of new experiences, which all provide room for growth.  

Some say that everyone of us has this inner desire, an inner force, that is hungry to grow. Meaning, that if we listen to our deepest desires there is an urge to learn and experience life. To explore the outer world and travel to multiple countries and get to know cultures and traditions. But also to travel inward and get to know yourself. We are never done learning.

A profoundly studied psychological theory is called the Self-Determination Theory. According to this theory we have a need, a desire, for growth. It states that we are motivated to develop ourselves in whatever areas possible, to become a better friend, father, daughter, football player, musician, actor, cook, and more. We are built for growth and have an inner desire to continuously evolve ourselves.

When we talk about intrinsic motivation, we talk about motivation in which we behave because of the inner pleasures and satisfactions it can provide. This action is not stimulated by an external stimulus, but is driven from within.

Extrinsic motivation describes behaviours or activities that are performed in order to obtain an external reward or avoid an external punishment. So you might want to go to work because you can earn money that way, or you decide to go to work because otherwise you might get fired and lose your job.

It is said that extrinsic motivation can be very effective in achieving short-term goals, however, once the motivation wears off (you are not that interested in that job anymore) you tend to lose motivation for it. Intrinsic motivation is far more effective in the long run and is seen as the best type of motivation. Just imagine having this inner fire that never runs out and that provide you with so much energy and desire to go after every goal you set for yourself. This is intrinsic motivation and it is powerful.

Lesson 2: Every new chapter in your life requires a new you.

To get to a place you have not been before, you must do things you have not done yet. You will not experience new adventures if you continue to do the same things. You will not taste new flavours if you eat the same food and you will not hear new sounds if you listen to the same songs. I think it is a good thing that we change. Think about it. Would you want to have the same mindset that you had 10 years ago? How would that serve you in your current situation?

If you stay the same, speak the same truths, feel the same feelings, taste the same flavours, behave the same, you will stay in the same place. You might experience feeling stuck or unmotivated by life.

Lesson 3: Let go of who you think you are to become your authentic self

If you have this image of yourself and you live by it, not allowing any change at all, you are stopping you from being who you truly are. This might sound wishy washy, so I’ll elaborate. if you life up to an image you have of yourself, you hold yourself back in certain areas that you haven’t explored yet.

Sometimes you just need to let life flow and not be to bothered about if it suits your ‘image’ or not. Sometimes you need to try things, new things, and gain new experiences. Isn’t that something beautiful about life? Being able to experience all kind of things. 

Sometimes you might think to yourself ‘why don’t I do that anymore’, or ‘why am I not like that anymore’? I’ve encountered this a couple of times. Usually, I find myself feeling sad that I am not behaving, thinking, living life as I used to. Is this bad or wrong? I don’t think so. I actually think it is a tool for yourself that you have changed and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

As the previous two lessons explain, you are continuously growing and changing. There is an urge inside you that wants to grow and explore the magical experiences life has to offer. And for you to be able to explore them, you are going to need to change. So holding on to a past version of yourself is like wanting to stay at level 5 because you know it and it is comfortable, but life is pushing you to level 6. Sometimes all you need to do is have faith and trust that you are going in the right direction, even if you don’t know where that is yet.

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