Our growth is usually so much more apparent when we are young.
“Look how much you’ve grown” is a common comment from any mom or dad watching their child develop.
In our youth, we can see it so clearly in not only the way we look, but through all the different milestones we reach and the changes we experience.
Even though it may be more hidden as we age, growth is still a vitally important part of having a healthy and happy life.
So let’s look at the behaviors you will notice in the people who keep growing as they get older.
1) They constantly seek out opportunities to learn
The best way to keep growing as you get older is to commit to becoming a lifelong learner.
Of course, that doesn’t have to involve formal learning. Continuous learning is in essence about managing to keep hold of our curiosity.
It’s about always asking questions and being driven enough to uncover the answers.
This quest for knowledge means that you actively seek out new information. It encourages you to engage in intellectual pursuits.
It prompts you to find new things that interest you, and this is what can help us keep our thirst for life as we age.
2) They surround themselves with people who are different
They may say that opposites attract, but the reality is that’s not true.
Studies have overwhelmingly concluded that we tend to prefer people who are like us.
It makes sense —it’s easier. Being similar gives us a common ground that helps us connect and fosters greater understanding.
But that doesn’t make it good for our growth. When we only surround ourselves with those who think the same as us, it limits our chance to gain new perspectives.
The more people from all sorts of walks of life and circumstances we encounter, the more our horizons can widen.
Of course, it will only have this impact on you if you manage to simultaneously do the next behavior on our list.
3) They keep an open mind
I once jokingly remarked to my partner that I can’t wait to get old so that I am allowed to be cantankerous.
The comment came after an observation that I seemed to meet far more older people who didn’t give a damn about offending or being downright uncooperative.
Of course, I have zero real evidence this is the case, but anecdotally it sometimes feels like it.
Part of me admires the zero f*cks mantra, but I certainly don’t think stubbornness does us any favors at any stage of life.
Certainly when we value growth. Closing yourself off is a surefire way to prevent it.
We have to be objective, non-judgmental, and open if we are to continue to grow as we age.
That means being prepared to change your mind, and perhaps even your beliefs or values where necessary along the way.
4) They don’t shy away from a challenge
In fact, they seek them out.
Fear isn’t something we only have to conquer once. It’s a lifelong companion that we have to get used to.
When we accept its presence we can decide that we don’t want it to hold us back. That means intentionally stepping out of our comfort zone, even though it feels scary.
A lot of us increasingly gravitate toward safety and security the older we get.
But people who keep growing as they age understand that much of our growth happens when we’re faced with adversity and discomfort.
The leaps in our development occur when we willingly take on tasks that push our limits.
It’s by embracing these challenges that growth-minded people are able to expand their abilities and develop new skills.
5) They adapt to inevitable change
Nothing stays the same, that’s for sure.
As they say, “The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”
That’s why another crucial behavior in those who continue to grow is the ability to adapt and be flexible in a variety of situations.
These people are able to embrace what life brings their way and see it as an opportunity, even when it feels at the time like an obstacle.
This sets them up to navigate through life’s ups and downs with a little more grace and ease.
A certain amount of going with the flow may be required of us along the way. But as we’re about to see, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be proactive.
6) They have something to strive for
It’s not just about setting goals and having a plan to follow, although these obviously help to give us greater direction.
It’s about expansion in general. When we know what we want and seek it out, it brings us greater fulfillment.
People who continue to grow are often able to do so because they have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and create actionable steps to reach their objectives.
That can demand that we constantly reevaluate our lives — what we want and where we are heading.
But in doing so it gives us more of a sense of purpose that fuels our personal growth.
7) They make room for relationships
I don’t know about you, but the relationships in my life have offered the opportunity for some of my greatest growth.
Whether it’s romantic partners, friendships, or family — they provide powerful spaces for learning.
After all, we are emotional creatures, and nothing sparks our propensity for feeling quite like the connections we make.
They often hold up a mirror to us so that we can see ourselves more clearly, and in the process, learn plenty about the world around us too.
As highlighted by psychologist Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. in The Conversation:
“A relationship that fosters self-expansion will make you want to be a better person, help you increase your knowledge, build your skills, enhance your capabilities, and broaden your perspectives.”
8) They keep screwing up
Perfectionism may try to convince us it’s a bad thing, but it’s not.
The amount of failure in your life is often directly proportional to the amount of growth. That’s why embracing failure is an important thing as we go through life.
There doesn’t come a time when we suddenly have all the answers.
Whilst wisdom hopefully grows with age, we never get to the end of what we could possibly know or do.
So if we’re still growing, slip-ups are inevitable — no matter how old you are.
If you’ve stopped messing up, chances are you’ve just stopped trying to learn new things.
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