As 2017 draws to a close you might be setting intentions for what you're going to do better and how you're going to grow next year. But before you do, I encourage you focus less on what you want to change, and more on how you want to change it.
Growth means committing to the unknown.
We can only grow when we are faced with the unknown, that expansive edge of possibility which exists beyond our comfort zone.
There is a difference between unconscious growth and conscious growth. We can either let the circumstances of life force us to grow, or we can willingly make the commitment to expand into the unknown of the areas of our life we want to change.
So as the year ends and we are faced with the promises of a new one, are you going to let the unknown come into your life and knock you off your feet, or are you going to venture bravely out to meet it?
Below are examples of few areas of life where research shows most people want to grow and improve their lives, with insights into achieving this growth through the single act of committing to the unknown.
(Okay, I realize that not everybody wants to grow spiritually, but I personally think it's the most important so Its at the top of the list. Humor me.)
On a spiritual level, committing to a relationship with the unknown means taking time to marinate in experiences where we feel the vastness of the universe and a force larger than ourselves. This can be done through prayer, meditation, intently listening to a piece of classical music, watching a sunrise or hiking up a tall mountain. Any action which brings you to a place of awe and a realization of both your own vastness and smallness at the same time.
The growth we can experience on this level, though less tangible than the other areas, is the most powerful. I believe that this is the only are of our life where we can experience true and lasting contentment and a sense of our place in the universe. This belief is what is driving the creation of an Ebook I am currently writing, about the benefits of creating one's own daily spiritual practice. This book illustrates how we can use our daily commitment to the unknown through spiritual practice to create true growth and find meaning in our lives.
The new years resolution which surpasess all others in popularity is to get in shape or improve physical health and appearance. Who doesn’t want to get more in shape? For most of us this means doing things we’ve never done before (the unknown) and pushing our body past its perceived limitations. As the famous quote goes, "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.
(In the case of individuals who are ill, hoping to become well, this still applies, as there are often habits of deep rest which we are equally afraid of experiencing as we are of intensive exercise.)
The unknown when we are working to improve our health or getting into shape, is our physical growth- edge. The edge of comfort, the edge of our old routines, the edge of our habits. We acquire deeply ingrained physiological patterns when we repeatedly sit, walk, stand, eat and spend time on our computers in a certain way. Even in our workout routines and health regimens we become comfortable and relaxed, forgetting that to push against our physical edge, in a direction of vitality, (with the proper recuperation and rest period afterwards) is what initiates true growth.
As we continue to grow in this area, the edge never disappears, but we continue to grow and get stronger. When we are creating physical growth, the edge is both a healthy reminder of what is and isn’t possible, and an invitation to grow into the unknown and create a new reality for our bodies.
Whether you are on the entrepreneurial be-your-own-boss train, or are happily employed, statistics show you probably want to make more money.
The unknown, or growth edge in this area isn’t too hard to figure out. If you want to make more money, learn the skills which will allow you to do so. This doesn’t necessarily mean trade or professional skills (thought it could). Odds are you aren’t lacking in skills which are profitable. You’re probably good at your job. What you need is to learn the specific skills towards increasing revenue. If you work for yourself this might mean investing in learning proper business strategy for your business, or updating your knowledge of online marketing or hiring somebody to do marketing for you. If you are employed, it might look like creating a strategic plan to ask for a raise or a promotion- or to find a job which you enjoy more and which pays you well.
Money is a pretty rational, linear force. It follows the facts. There are people out there who share your personal work ethics and unique life values, who are making the amount of money that you want to make. Find them and learn from them. Relating to the unknown in this area of your means discovering new knowledge and applying it into action.
At first, when you embark on your intentions for growth in the new year, you might feel more vulnerable to failure or risk and less in control. But these are only emotional side effects, growing pains on the journey. In reality, gaining and applying the financial knowledge, changing the way you move and rest your body every day or allowing yourself to experience the vastness of the universe every day will pay off. You might even wake up one day and realize that you have lived yourself into the life of your dreams
Now, go back to your end of year review or 2018 goal setting and ask yourself:
How can I approach my deepest intentions or objectives by creating a relationship with what I don't know?
How can relating to the unknown propell me farther in achieving goals than simply stating a desired result?
How will establishing a relationship with the unknown effect and improve other areas of my life?
The beauty of the unknown is that it will always remain. No matter how much you learn, achieve or experience there will always be more. Creating a lasting relationship with the unknown can help you excel beyond your wildest dreams, as you being to realize there is a world of possibility beyond what you are living now. But it also means that no matter how much we heal, grow and achieve, the unknown will always exist, and this, my friends, is humbling.
I'd love to hear from you. What does committing to the unknown look like for your resolutions in 2018?
Did you have any new insights or ah-ha moments from reading this post?
Leave me a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond to you personally.
May this year bring you greater love and prosperity,