Duchess Digest: Growth vs. Change

alice-in-wonderlandWhat it is about change that we seem to be so adverse to? Isn’t change the whole reason for our existence today? Think about it. Change is the whole basis of evolution and how life sustains itself. Those who can change, adapt and be fluid are the ones who survive. Those that don’t are the ones we study in tar pits, sedimentary rock formations and amber deposits.

So if change is the basis of life, in fact the only certainty in life, and we all experience it, what are we afraid of?

The truth is there is a big difference between change and growth. While we all must change, not all of us necessarily grow. As Gail Sheehy put it, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.” A-ha! There is the part about growth that’s difficult; the surrender of security. Giving up our perceived safety with “what is” in order to experience what could be. Surrendering to something bigger, trusting the process and learning from the painful and the joyous experiences is what growth is really about.

Deepak Chopra said, “The search for security is actually an attachment to certainty, to the known, and the known is the prison of our past conditioning. Freedom from our past lies in uncertainty. Without uncertainty, life is just a repetition of outworn memories. There’s no evolution in that, and when there is no evolution, there is stagnation, entropy and decay.”

That is the real difference between growth and change. The decay and decomposition process is a change. The transformation from seed to sapling to tree is growth. Which would you rather have your life reflect?

So how can you ensure your changes include growth? The only way is self-improvement. You can’t change your circumstances or life without first changing yourself. Sorry. There’s just no other way around it. Don’t believe me? Pick up your current self and problems and move to another city. Move to another country. Now wait three to six months and tell me how much you’ve grown. Or save yourself the move and take it from one who has tried that tact many a time; it doesn’t work. You have to grow yourself to change your world. Otherwise you’re simply changing the scenery.

Commit now, today, to ways you are going to institute a new personal growth regiment. Here are a few suggestions on how to get started:

1)  Books.
Browse the self-help section at the book store for assistance on some area of your life you’re looking to improve. Communication? Patience? Self-mastery, organization or time management? Pick up a book and get started!

2)  Seminars. Start local. Check out some evening or day long lectures, seminars or events happening through your local spiritual or independent book store, community center or library. Make it your goal to work up to a weekend retreat, week of learning or semester long class. Never stop learning!

3)  Journaling.
As Benjamin Franklin so wisely suggested, “Those things that hurt, instruct.” Journal about some of your “growing pains.” Then go back and read what you’ve written and search for ways the growing pains may be repeating in your life. Look for ways this hurt is instructing you to learn something; perhaps a new truth, a new skill or a new opportunity.

–Jill Brown

Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California-based life coach and writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: www.theduchessguide.com

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