The deeper I went into personal development and different schools of thoughts, the more I realized that all of them are right. That made me crazy. Because I was trying to find definite answers to the questions that don’t have one, I just went in circles, never finding the answers I was seeking.
But then, it all came to me in a single moment. It’s not about what is right, it’s about what’s right in that specific moment. It’s just like mental models— they’re not right or wrong, but the situation where you use them makes it so.
One of those answers I looked for was whether you change yourself incrementally, day by day, and by slowly changing your habits, or if you have to make massive leaps forward where that one moment just propels you forward. I had both of these and they’re both true but only when applied in the right situation.
Below you’ll understand how you will recognize those situations to make the most of them:
1. The First Way of Growing: Filling
Imagine the filling as a progress (experience) bar of your character. You are on level one and your experience bar tells you the number 0/745. Your job at this point is to fill the bar all the way up to 745/745. You do this by slowly gaining experience from doing quests in the game. In real life, you do this by stacking habits and slowly changing your day to day operations.
Simply going to the gym once won’t make you healthy (it’s just 3 experience’s in your experience bar). But if you go 120 times this year (three times a week), you will become fit (360 experience’s in your experience bar). The same thing applies to running, reading books, and writing. It’s about incrementally changing the way you run your day to day operations and you do that by changing your habits.
I did this in my life by reading 20 pages of a book a day (45 books per year), writing 500 words a day (over 400,000 written), going to the gym three times a week and starting my own business.
When you fill the experience bar, and you’re at 745/745, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically hit the next level. You’ll need something different to hit the next level and it’s leaping.
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn
2. The Second Way of Growing: Leaping
This way of growing is less available than the filling one. It only activates itself once the experience bar is full and you need to get to the next level. So what happens here?
When the experience bar is full, your body and mind unlock a special mode of insights where a single spark, a glitch, can make you experience what the old Eastern people used to call Satori moments.
Satori moments are moments of deep insight where you feel one with everything. Time stops for you and suddenly you have clarity of mind, thought, and action. Everything in your life makes complete sense and if it doesn’t, you look at those things as something foolish which you can easily discard.
The best way to give you an earthly example of this is when a person stops smoking because they just witnessed the birth of their first child or saw the lungs of a hardcore smoker. They do it in an instant because the strength of the moment changed them.
Their old self died to give place for a new self to grow. This is how you get to the next level. After the moment passes and you take away everything that you can from it, it’s time to get back to the first way of growing: filling. You leaped forward to the next level only to find yourself at 0/890 experience bar. It’s time to fill it back up.
To do this, you’ll have to apply different habits. You analyze and see what this experience bar requires from you. Because what got you here won’t get you there. So you take a different set of habits and apply them until you fill the bar again. Once you do, the satori moment kicks in and you are at level 3.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Growth is a Circle
There is no growth without the eagle’s perspective, which is the holistic approach toward life, where you suddenly have an insight because you saw the forest. But also, there is no growth without the worm’s perspective where you see the day to day operations and tend to them. Growth requires both and it comes in circles.