Personal Growth Categories


If you are like me then the term personal growth can irk you. It seems so broad and nebulous.

The problem with trying to define “personal growth” is that means so many different things to so many different people.

What works for one person isn’t guaranteed to work for another. I love the Ikigai framework but when I share it with some certain people they find it overly-simplistic.

But there are common themes. All personal growth fits into these high-level categories.

I am going to put my foot down and define the personal growth categories. If you disagree or agree with this approach, I would love to hear about it in the comments.

The goal of this blog post is to give some teeth to the term “personal growth” and put every single personal growth goal into a bucket.

Let’s get started.

Optimization

These personal growth goals are all about maxing out a system. Currently, the most popular optimization personal growth goals revolve around bio-hacking, homeostasis, binaural sounds and any sort of ingredients you put into your body and mind.

Most people researching and executing these types of personal growth hacks are looking to feel better in the most primitive sense possible. They are accessing the earliest developed parts of our brains and psyche to build a foundation of personal growth and happiness.

The better your body and mind feels the easier it is to grow in more areas.

Some common goals are as follows

  • Eating healthy
  • Working out regularly
  • Increasing your running pace
  • Losing weight
  • Getting a six-pack of abs

Recommended Reading: Dave Asprey is one of the biggest authorities when it comes to biohacking and knowing how to get the most out of the food you put in your body. Check out his book Head Strong on Amazon

Armament

The armament personal growth category is all about security. The most common goals surround around 3 core ideas

  • Personal security
  • Financial security
  • Health and well-being

Again, these personal goals hit a very basic instinct in humans. You may have read about fight or flight instincts. Everyone wants to feel secure. Secure with their money, secure in their self-image, secure in their home. We actively seek out ways to reduce the stress that comes from fear.

There are thousands of books written about financial security as it can be the hardest personal goal to control in this category.

Recommended Reading: One of my favorite books about financial security is Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It takes a non-traditional approach to teach about financial independence and how some of the wealthiest people in America make their money.

Connection

The connection personal growth category is all about relationships. There is nothing worse than feeling depressed and alone. One of the quickest personal growth goals you can achieve is something relating to human connection.

Nearly every human on Earth wants connection, community, and fellowship.

If you are socially awkward, have social anxiety, or find it hard to make meaningful connections with people you likely read about ways to improve your social standing.

The same can be said about anyone who struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with their family.

At the end of the day, people want to see personal growth in all areas of the relationships they value.

Recommended Reading: Building meaningful relationships is like building social wealth, which happens to be the book I recommend for these types of personal growth goals. Check out Jason Treu’s book here.

Ego

The word “ego” has a negative connotation. Nobody wants to admit they have a big ego. But the fact remains that we all have them and when kept in check they can be a very powerful personal growth tool.

Your ego is how you view yourself in relation to others. For some personal growth hackers, this is where your ambition comes from. You have an ideal version of yourself you are striving for.

Your ego is what drives you to achieve the social status you desire. Some common ego-driven personal goals could be

  • Placing first in a competition
  • Looking a certain way with your shirt off
  • Getting a new job promotion
  • Buying a bigger house
  • Taking an exotic vacation
  • Drinking more than your friends
  • The list goes on and on

Here is what I want you to know about Ego.

Having an ego isn’t a bad thing. The power of an ego is in being aware of the ego and becoming the observer to the thoughts. The ego is necessary for sifting through your personal growth goals and for having a physical experience in general. You must learn how to observe your thoughts and become aware of your ego. Only then can you began to become more present. Awareness and presence of mind help to balance the ego. It’s is here that you USE your ego instead of the other way around.

Recommended Reading: Not only is the best book ever written about Ego but it happens to be one of my all time favorite books ever. If you only read one book this year, read Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday.

Realization

These personal growth goals are the hardest to control because they use the most complex and developed part of your brain. The neocortex is responsible for the rationalization of decisions.

Realization personal growth goals are things that make you slow down and introspectively consider your motivations and decisions. You are forced to have tough conversations with yourself. Some common realization activities include

  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Actualization
  • New habit formation

Nearly any personal growth goal that involves you changing your behavior for a new desired outcome can fall in this bucket.

Recommended Reading: One of the best books I have read about habit formation and how to retrain your mind is Charles Duhigg’s “The Power Of Habit”. Check it out here.

In conclusion

How did I do? Do you feel I captured all personal growth goals into these 5 categories?

If you think I failed, I want you to tell me where and how. I am a big believer in always learning from mistakes and think it’s a great personal growth hack that most people miss. Be vulnerable and ask for feedback and you will learn quicker.

“Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”  – John Dewey

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