From our first days of life through our early twenties, our personal development is monitored very closely. All the way through our final years in high school, we are guided and graded by our parents, family members, teachers, coaches, ministers, doctors and whoever else is there to see us through childhood.
As we become young adults and mandatory education has been completed, we are faced with significant choices: going to college, getting a job, or joining the military. Now life becomes a bit more serious and success is placed directly on our own shoulders. From this point, we begin to make our own choices, which are not always easy or triumphant. Some flunk out of college. Some are asked to leave the military. Some get fired from jobs. While there are many who move toward positive life paths, there are those who find that continued growth and personal development grinds to a halt. Now faced with life head on they begin to falter. Some figure they have all the answers. Others leave tremendous potential unfulfilled.
As adults, we are always running into forks in the road. One leads toward growth and development, the other leads to more of the same. For many of us, more of the same is the easier, more comfortable path to take. We choose more of the same because we tell ourselves, “That’s who I am. That’s how I’ve always done it!” The road to progress sometimes feels lonely and frightening. The fear of where the road may take us can be paralyzing.
Unfortunately, by avoiding the risks, we sometimes never get to experience the rewards that await us.
The key to navigating the road to self-growth is to seek out teachers who can show us the way. Often it seems that certain people are self-made achievers. But if you speak to successful people, most will tell you that they had some help along the way —people who motivated them. Teachers in adulthood are like teachers in childhood. They challenge us. They encourage us. They correct us. They open doors to innovative ideas within us. They inspire us to be and do more.
Where do we find such teachers in the adult world? It could be where we found them before—in school (college, trade school), at home or at church. But often, we find them in unexpected places.A teacher might be your boss or co-worker, a friend, your spouse, or children or even your grandchildren. We find teachers in the media—TV, radio, movies, tapes, CDs and books. Teachers even show up through strangers or people we meet who may only briefly cross our paths. Ultimately, everyone who comes into your life does so to teach you a lesson.
For us to grow as adults we must begin with the desire or intention to do so. We must say to ourselves, “I don’t want to be the same person next year that I am today, I want to be a better person.” We must seek out fresh ways of thinking since new ideas are the lifeblood of personal growth.
As you pursue your dreams, and open yourself to the guidance available to you, the appropriate teachers will show up who can aid in your discovery of life-changing ideas!