5 Keys to Growing as an Individual
Use these quick pieces of advice to be your best self.
Experts suggest that human beings fully develop their brains by age 25.
Although it’s disputed, this finding sure holds true for me. My 25th year on this planet proved to be my most fruitful in many ways.
Whether it is coincidence or not, I was struck with so much understanding about myself, my environment, and the way things work. Some may say it was my coming of age year.
Before, my scope on life was pretty narrow-minded and even if it still is in the grand scheme of things, I know I grew as an individual ten-fold.
Among the things I learned about myself and others is how I can personally keep growing — as an adult and individual human.
One afternoon, I was journaling about this and accidentally put together a list. The most important things to remember for growing as an individual. I wrote them down as to not forget and to come back to regularly.
Here is what I came up with, tell me if you agree.
1. If you’re bad at understanding people, go to college.
Social acknowledgment and social understanding are vital in life. And there is no better place to learn how social you really are than in college.
My college experience was an eye-opener. It was like a miniature version of real society with high involvement in clubs/groups/teams, a continual presence of authority, and freedom of individualism like never before.
Though there are still cliques in college, they’re much less prominent than the ones we experience in high school. This leads to a more functional social experience.
Point blank, if you’re a little socially awkward or don’t quite understand how to operate in a normal social setting, go to college. That will straighten you up and show you who you are.
2. Control your emotions.
Every time you act out of emotions, it leaves a negative impact that is almost impossible to climb out of when you are not using logic.
This can apply to your career, your romantic life, your family matters, your financial situation, and almost every aspect of real life.
Here’s an example:
When I was 23, I was living my dream life. I was living in the Mediterranean and every day/ night was like a movie to me. I was so high on life, I didn’t want it to end.
I rationalized why it’d be okay to break the law and overstay the terms of my visa by a few days. My irrational emotions led to overflowing confidence. I thought I was bigger than international law.
That move sent my life into a tailspin ten days later when I was banned from a whole continent for three years. I’m still dealing with consequences from that action today, three years later to the day.
Because of my inability to control my emotions, I’ve had to claw my way out of the misfortune it led to for years. It was a huge setback in my life. The lesson? Act from emotions and you’ll get burned. Always use logic and reason before acting.
3. Get out of the town you were born in.
This is so crucial in life and I’m glad I learned early on. Don’t hold yourself down to the place you were born. If you can’t find people around to facilitate growth, go find your people. The place you were born was not your choice. Make it your choice where you end up.
At 20-years-old, I left home. Six years later, I’m still looking for my place. Luckily, on the way, people around me have offered me opportunities I couldn’t have dreamed if I was still back in my hometown.
Opportunity comes to those who seek it. Don’t hold yourself back by growing attached to the only place you’ve ever known. As they say, the whole world can be your oyster.
4. Only keep people around you who inspire you to be better.
Get rid of every person — every single person — who doesn’t make your flame shoot like an Elon Musk flamethrower. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration. You can keep them around as long as they don’t kill your dreams.
Until I left home, I was hanging around uninspired people. I was uninspiring, too, so I can’t blame them. I didn’t realize my best friends weren’t the ones that would make the most impact on me. That’s OK. At the end of the day, they will always be your best friends.
But it’s important to differentiate friendship and mentors/idols. In rare instances, you’ll find both in the same person. However, if not, you have to be prepared to look for them.
5. Be yourself.
There are people in this world who will love you for who you are. You will find your lane if you stay true and try hard enough.
Don’t change who you are to fit a mold or be liked. The great thing about having 8 billion people on this planet? There’s bound to be a few you gel with. Don’t quit looking until you’ve found those people.
That’s a fairly simple list. I’m sure there are more detailed philosophies out there, but I’ve found just following these guiding principles has gotten me to a comfortable place. Plus, they’re timeless pieces of advice and can continually be re-applied to your current living situation.
What other pieces of life advice do you have for those looking to grow as an individual?