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Measuring Your Growth


Growth is one of the 6 Critical Needs. Certainty, Uncertainty, Significance and Connection are needed for basic survival. But fulfillment requires Growth and Contribution. Everyone tries in some way to take action that betters their lives. These actions make us grow whether it’s finding a better job or meeting that person we always wanted to meet. We take classes and seminars. We read books. But sometimes, it seems that no matter how much effort we expend, we don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

That’s because we measure growth with 3 different measuring sticks and when you apply the wrong measuring stick to the endeavor in which you’re trying to grow, you feel stuck.

3 Ways We Measure Growth

More. Sooner. Easier.

If you ask most people whether they want more of the good things in their lives or less. They would choose more.

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Time for change

I’m changing. Or at least, I’m trying.

Self-help guru Tony Robbins says that change happens in an instant. It’s not some long drawn out process. It happens the moment we decide. I choose to believe him.

People decide and then take action in that direction. Someone decides to stop drinking then they take action to go to AA. Someone decides to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, they re-evaluate their spending habits. Change does happen in an instant, but results from actions taken require time to come to fruition.

Time enough

For INFPs, time becomes the problem. How long does it take us to decide anything?

We ask ourselves endless questions. Is whatever I want to change as bad as I think or am I just overreacting? What will this mean to me afterward? It could take years before we reach the point where enough is enough and we make decision. It’s those years of inaction that we regret later, wondering why it took us so long.

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Four things I’m doing differently in 2010

I love the New Year. It’s my favorite day on the calendar. It’s the day where I can chalk up last year as a loss without guilt and try again. I love New Year’s resolutions. I like my yearly deadline and the whooshing sound it makes when it goes flying by. This year, I’m doing things a little differently for my resolutions.

1. Realize I can’t solve all my problems by myself

People make resolutions to fix problems. I want to eat healthier so that must mean my current diet is causing some type of problem or else I wouldn’t be resolving to eat more green stuff (healthy green, not moldy green).

All those problems I had a week ago. Still there. Resolutions aren’t going to magically give me the answer.

Don’t get me wrong. I love problems. It’s my way of evaluating progress. At no point in my life will all my problems go away. Progress in life is about going from one set of problems to a better set of problems.

Twenty years ago, my problems usually centered around finding a way to buy alcohol while I was too young. These days, my problems center around finding a way to retire before I’m too old. For me, that’s a better problem to have.

So about all those problems I had a week ago. They’re still there. I’d solve them if I could, but I can’t, not with what I currently know. That means I have to look outside myself for answers which INFPs are loathe to do. INFPs feel that if we think about something hard enough, something will click and we’ll come up with that amazing answer. So how’d that work for me last year?

It’s definitely time to do something new.

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How you do anything is how you do everything


I am so screwed.

Let’s do the INFP thing and begin at a seemingly unrelated topic: fractals and complex systems.

Fractals have a property called self-similarity which means that if you just looked at part of the fractal, that part would look roughly similar to the whole.

Complex systems have self-similarity. A person’s life is one of those complex systems where interconnected behavior act upon each other to produce various outcomes. Say you’re an early riser. That behavior produces a different set of outcomes than if you were a night person. Different opportunities present themselves. Different actions are taken. Different results are produced.

Self-similar properties get observed when you take the entire span of a person’s life and map the ups and down and sideways of that life. That pattern of a lifetime would look very similar to an hour of a person’s life which would be similar to a day which would look similar to a week or a year.

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I’m calling a do-over with my INFP blog

Remember back in 2nd grade playing kickball where you’d get a do-over. You’d kick the ball into a teacher “by accident” or the ball went into the trees or something and you’d just call a do-over and start again.

Don’t you wish life could be more like that? Why not? So I’m calling a do-over for this blog.

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