Personal Growth Math

Personal growth is like an equation. Unfortunately too many of us only experience a narrow slice of growth because our growth equation is limited to a single growth approach. If you want to reach your full potential, practice “personal growth math”: Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Addition – The most common equation in personal growth is the addition of knowledge, attitudes, habits, and practices. We don’t struggle too much with this idea of growth. It’s the process of taking what we want to learn, or how we want to grow, and strategically adding it to our lives. Addition is the most common form of “personal growth math.”

Subtraction – Alvin Toffler captured the idea of subtraction best when he said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Lifelong learners understand that personal growth is about subtracting old learning so that you can make room for new learning. Without subtraction, learning becomes stale, outdated, or irrelevant.

Multiplication – Too often we view personal growth solely as our own. But the highest level of personal growth occurs when we multiply our growth…when we pass on what we’ve learned to another, who then does the same for somebody else. When you reach the multiplying level of personal growth, your growth outlives you.

Division – This aspect of personal growth math occurs when you focus through division. That sounds like an oxymoron, but the idea is to divide your attention on four key growth areas. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. Once I created a dozen growth goals, only to be disappointed at the end of the year by my miserable progress. My focus was so diluted that I didn’t accomplish anything of significance. Some people swing to the opposite extreme…focusing on a single growth goal while neglecting other critical areas. It doesn’t do much good to grow your professional life while your spiritual life falls apart, or to invest in growing your physical health without growing your family relationships. The key is to divide your growth by four…to focus on spiritual, mental, relational, and physical growth. Each area of growth is essential to a healthy life. Through division, your growth maintains balance.

Questions: Do you practice personal growth math? Which part of growth math do you need to embrace?