The first 4 needs we discussed (variety and certainty, significance and love and connection) may interfere with each other and are in constant strive for balance. The last two needs that people have are the need for growth and for contribution. Unlike the first 4 needs, these needs help and support each other in order to achieve a higher level of fulfillment.
Growth & Contribution
It is estimated that we need to have our first four needs met before we are able to grow and contribute. For example, it is very hard for people to give when they do not have certainty. Think about it. How easy is it for someone to give their time when they are working 14 hours each day to provide for their family? How easy is it for you to invest in growing, learning, developing, when you are busy trying to fit in with others who think learning and developing are not socially favorable? Not very easy, right?
When we are “empty”, it is harder for us to give. When we are supported and strong, our ability to contribute and help others is much greater.
The great thing about growth and contribution is that they support each other and can happen from very small things. When we contribute, we give ourselves an opportunity to grow and when we grow as individuals, we increase our capacity to give and make a difference to those around us.
Think about the two as grains of rice filling a basket of confidence. Every small grain of growth and every small grain of giving adds up. Every person has a level, with which he/she feels giving is receiving and from that point on, the more we give, the more we have.
The best place for us to be is at the place where our basket of confidence is filled up by itself, and our growth is constant and fulfilling. This is the point where we feel powerful, where we are most happy and at peace.
Examples for Growth
Learn a profession
Every time we learn in order to gain a profession, we grow as people, improve our ability to work and support ourselves for years to come.
Music is a wonderful way to increase brain capacity. Regardless of whether you are a good player or not, learning music is a wonderful way to improve yourself. Research on children studying music found an enormous positive impact on academic achievements.
Study a new language
Similar to learning music, learning another language helps the brain capacity. If you have an opportunity to teach your children your primary language (mother language), take advantage of it. Bilingual children are smarter children.
Learn a new skill
Brian Tracy, who is a professional development expert, claimed that small improvements in ourselves on a daily basis will make us capable, happy, successful and fulfilled people. Be committed to learning a new skill every day. It can be learning to cook a dish, to sing a song, to make an art piece or to learn to better communicate. Everything you can add to your list of skills or knowledge base can contribute and help you become a better person.
Read and familiarize yourself with world news
Reading is a wonderful way to learn from experts. You will learn things it would take you far too long to discover for yourself. People spend a life time learning to master a skill and write about it, or bring you coverage from around the world. Reading can widen your knowledge base, help you develop a life philosophy and enable you to make educated choice.
Have goals and pursue them
Having goals is a structured way of pushing yourself forwards. Remember, if you are not moving forwards, you are going backwards. Be committed to small goals and celebrate their achievements.
Stretch yourself – conquer something that is hard for you
Fear is the only obstacle to growth. It is what stops us from going forward and conquering the world. Make a list of fears and have small goals to conquer them. Why? Because you can! Every time you succeed you prove to yourself that you are much stronger than you thought you were.
A Return to Love
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
— Marianne Williamson (spoken by Nelson Mandela)
Exercise as a physical stretch for your body
Physical exercise is very similar to emotional stretches. The more often we do things that are hard for us, the better we get.
Listen or participate in conversation in order to broaden your thinking
Listening is a great way to learn from others, whether you are passive or active about it (of course, if you are active, you learn better). Even if you are not sure what you will get out of the listening, tune your brain into the conversation so you learn something new. I am in a constant search for very healthy beliefs. When I listen to people, I find many that I can adopt.
Challenge yourself by playing games
Improving your brain capacity is a great way to get better memory, thinking, analyzing, problem solving, decision making and being fast and effective. Things like quizzes, puzzles, word play, x-box, sing along, and even computer games are good tools. Research on brain function discovered that those brain challenges were the most effective methods to fight Alzheimer and it is never too late to start.
Go on a spontaneous adventure
Planning is very good and important in achieving certainty but adventures happen when you experience things you were not expecting. Developing flexibility and the ability to manage unexpected situations can contribute greatly to your growth.
As much as it is hard to believe, teaching is the most effective and wonderful way of learning. I have been a teacher for 27 years now and have learned so much in every lesson. I often tell my clients that I think I learned so much from them that I feel that coaching made me a better person.
If you are looking for more ideas for personal growth, you can visit every page on this blog, with over 1000 articles that will give you endless ideas and practical ways for growth.
Join me next week for the last chapter of Six Human Needs about Contribution and some great ways to make a difference in the world around us.
Until next time, be happy in life!