The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell [Book Summary – Review]

There is a time when we feel that we need to work on our personal growth. There are lots of things that make us want this. It can be a huge change in one’s life, a hurdle faced at work, or just one’s urge to improve oneself as a person. 

As for the growth, you have to be ready to quit from your comfort zone, have big dreams, and venture into risks. However, having dreams isn’t sufficient on its own. Genuine transformation occurs gradually, with time, via industriousness and commitment to work. or transformation to be realized, you have to consolidate your greatest, passionate dreams with the practicality of everyday actions. 

In this summary, you’ll learn the way to deal with the challenges that you formed for yourself and stay faithful, even through those infuriating moments where there appears to be no advancement. The advice and strategies of The 15 Laws of Growth will help you realize your dreams. Furthermore, thanks to them, you’ll be attentive as you are on work to realize your dreams and explore potential which wasn’t even known to you.

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Chapter 1 – Don’t venture out directly as you must be conscious of yourself and your expectations first.

There is no way of walking in the jungle if you’ve got no map and thus you cannot anticipate getting to your destination. Similarly, you can’t truly develop yourself without being cognizant of your desired destination. However, many people find the idea very difficult as being cognizant of your desired destination can be blurry. 

Then how will you discover it? The most solid method is to truly understand who you are and your expectations. It may not be simple to achieve, naturally. However, when you start directing these fundamental questions at yourself, you will succeed.

For the starter, what you do now make you feel idyllic? Does your job satisfy you and evoke the feeling of ardor in you? Are you always joyful when a new day begins? Or do you feel listless, fatigued, and irascible? You’re apparently not satisfied with what you do if the final question describes you.

What does complete you? The answer is only idiosyncratic to you; Your personality, things that are estimable for you, and your aspirations define the answer. To find the answer, you have to inspect yourself meticulously. Recognize the thing that gives you joy, excites you, or gets you particularly passionate. Consider the moments in your life in which you’ve had the feeling of being important and appreciated by the others. 

When finding out what your aspirations are, you should wait and think a while whether it can be realized. If it is so, you can make your dreams come true – this is the reason why we call them dreams. However, if you want to be a professional basketball player, yet you dislike training and have poor coordination, then it isn’t a dream but a fantasy. Your skills and abilities should match with your dreams. Once you decide that you can achieve your dreams, ask yourself: What is your motivation? 

This question is rather significant. You have to think in detail whether you’ve got any secret plans. Suppose that you claim you aspire to do a Ph.D. due to your passion for learning, but in reality, your real desire is to be perceived by people as someone impressive, which will cause trouble for you. 

Of course, you may want to be perceived so by others! Nothing is wrong in that. However, this motivation may not be sufficient to help you succeed in an exhausting Ph.D. program. Furthermore, since you won’t be doing it for yourself, you won’t be able to with your decision at the end of the day. You must find something that evokes the feeling of ardor in you, even the pursuit of which will give you satisfaction.

Chapter 2 – Personal growth doesn’t fall from the Sky.

The growth of your hair is automatic. If there is sufficient water and sunlight plants can sprout and develop on their own. However, the development of a person spiritually, emotionally, and personally is another thing– you have to pull the strings for them to happen.

Plants need sunlight to grow. In the same fashion, for personal growth, one must be intended to make it happen. You need to consider thoroughly what your aspirations are, what your destination is, and what stages you’ll have to pass to reach there.

However, intention doesn’t mean anything unless you put them into action – don’t procrastinate them until when you can create a space in your agenda; take action now.

This is the stage that many people cannot pass. They are always expectant that the magical time will come one day, the day when they will have been able to afford and to create time to follow their aspirations. Or they take action if they can find adequate motivation or inspiration to start. 

This problem, expecting the right conditions to form, follows from the fact that personal growth may be frightening; you have to confront numerous worrying things and then cope with the distress caused by ambiguity and the fact that you may get hurt. Quite many people, naturally, are really talented when it comes to evading frightening things. As a result, the right time when you want to engage in personal growth will occur by no means. 

To be over with the fear, you’ll have to admit that growth cause in its nature unease – and that there’ll be many mistakes as you work on your personal growth since you try to accomplish quite different and new things.

When you acknowledge this, you need to begin to get down to work. Have you got insufficient money for it? Do you have kids to attend the whole day, or is everything you want to do lie on the sofa and watch TV? Whatever it is you want to do, just start to get down to work.

Motivation is a bit tricky. Without starting to do something, you won’t get it. This is similar to going to the gym, nagging along the way, but then being full of joy and of motivation to do more training. If you don’t begin to work on your personal growth, then there will be no motivation to push you further.

Chapter 3 – If you want to attain success, then you can always use some help. 

Do not confuse that knowing your aspirations doesn’t mean the same thing as knowing how to attain it. You can be aware that a dream house is what you want, which is a nice way to begin, but you’ll need to know how you can have it constructed.  

The question is how to attain what you want. Well, setting out to undertake an intimidating project is strenuous. It definitely won’t happen on its own. 

Asking for help can be a great option to start. There have been many people who’ve walked the same road that you’ll walk and these people can assist you. Don’t hesitate to tell your dreams aloud, no matter whether weak and stupid. Telling others what your dream is is an important initial move to realize it. 

What matters as much as telling your dreams is the person or people whom you tell your vision. Thus, your entourage should consist of people as dedicated to personal development as you are. Who you have around you will affect your success. Either you will see people boosting you and encouraging you, or people who pull you down with their indifference and unproductive criticism. Find people around you who are interested, modest, and craving to discover new things. Once your search is a success, ask those people to hold you responsible in deciding on and fulfilling objectives by means of which you’ll be more likely to achieve your dream. Responsibility to others is a strong motivation when it comes to having objectives fulfilled. 

Then, find people working on the same thing you want to accomplish. They will be your tutors. Although face-to-face meetings with them might not be possible, you’ll get the chance to obtain a bulk of inspiration by learning more about their work. Is your vision to work as an interviewer? Then you’ll find your inspiration in Oprah, but you won’t need to have lunch with her at her place to gain information from her. Search her interviews on the Internet and watch them. Analyzing those who’ve realized your vision is a great way to extract information!

Occasionally, you’ll be fortunate enough to come across a person ready to rigorously teach you. By doing this, you can gain information in the best way. You must appreciate whoever mentors you and show your esteem to the time they allocated for you by fulfilling your assignments for every session and being eager to absorb as many pieces of information as possible. 

Chapter 4 – You must be your own cheerleader.

Getting help from other people is invaluable, yet you have to support and motivate yourself in the end. But it isn’t that simple, naturally. Usually, our inner self voice the biggest criticism. 

Confidence is not an innate quality for every person. As they were brought up, many people have even realized they cannot put trust in themselves. Rather, we were told to doubt ourselves and our talents. As for people who were brought up in an abusive setting, negative messages arising from our inner self will be copious. Understanding your own value despite the negativity which has become a part of you will be hard – but it is achievable, and it will be worth your efforts.

Initially, give ear to your internal monologue very thoroughly. What do you think of yourself in your mind? Do you get angry at yourself for not being sufficiently successful in what you do, or scold yourself if you commit an error? Having all these negative messages hovering around your head the whole day, you’ll have difficulty in staying motivated and feeling comfortable enough to run the hazard. Recognizing these negative messages and feelings is the first stage in transforming them. 

After doing this, you can jump on to the second stage: launching the project of change. After you discover you’ve been criticizing yourself because you mess things up, you can now alter these thoughts in your mind with consciousness. Keep in mind there is nothing abnormal in committing blunders and that you’re brave for running the hazard. You might feel uncomfortable as it may not come naturally, but if you practice sufficiently, you won’t feel that way after a while.

In the third stage, avoid making comparisons between yourself and others. What you set out for is only peculiar to yourself, and the actions of others are nothing but distractions. The only person with whom you make comparisons is yourself. Guarantee that you adhere to the objectives and values of nobody but your own! Don’t hurry to enjoy your achievements, no matter how important they are, and know what sacrifices you had to make to accomplish them.

In the final stage, you must do anything that’ll improve the lives of others if the chance presents itself to you. Usually, if you’re beset with the thoughts that you don’t matter and are unimportant, you cannot understand how you can change another person’s life. Employing your abilities for the good of everyone will be helpful to other people. In addition, it’ll provide you with new knowledge helping you realize what you can achieve.

Chapter 5 – Patience is the password since real growth won’t happen suddenly and drastically.

Brought up watching Hollywood films, you must’ve noticed change packaged clearly and in a dramatic way: A mathematician finds suddenly inspiration to solve an extremely difficult problem! A woman runs after her lover to the airport and asks her to marry him before lots of spectators!

Exciting moments such as these are excellent baits for producers. In reality, however, it’s the more traditional thing– the thing that mostly winds up neglected– that is responsible for real growth. The films don’t demonstrate how the mathematician woke up each morning and pondered on the numbers and had no results for a while, but he continued to ponder on it the next day. We don’t the young woman had to go through numerous trifling dates on Tinder before she finds The One. 

Real growth takes lots of time and usually can be infuriating. For it to happen, you need to undertake small actions day by day, following your aspirations. To continue to do all these without any noticeable quick progress demands much patience and resolute discipline. 

One other requirement of it is that you have to begin to think that the process of learning matters much more than the final results. Learning and growing are both amazing! Examining the most brilliant people, you’ll notice the high level of curiosity in them. However much information they possess, they constantly want to learn more and are so modest that they continue to ask questions.  

To preserve your motivation, you’ll have to remember your objectives and remind yourself that if you aim for higher, then it lasts longer to fulfill your objectives. Compare tomato plants with apple trees, for example. Tomatoes will mature after several months and it is possible to pick them off from the vine. However, if the frost strikes, then the plant dies. Let’s look at apple trees now. It lasts way longer for them to become tall trees and provide their best products. However, they continue to bloom each year. By devoting your time and perseverance to your vision, you’ll achieve robust, sustainable growth just like the development of an apple tree.

This kind of growth that takes too long is hardly close to swiftness in films. However, it’ll provide you with some more beneficial: the everyday pleasure of using your brain for something you’re eager about, and the awareness that you’re chasing your dreams.

Chapter 6 – To realize your dream, you have to act strategically and systematically.

Working diligently toward your dream is excellent but won’t be adequate. It is like trying to walk underwater: you can exhaust yourself while trying and still make no headway. Just like a hamster running on a wheel, it is possible to put lots of energy to realize our vision but we can still be unable to do so. 

No matter how industrious and busy with work one can be, these won’t suffice for us to reach our destination; For genuine success, we have to have a strategy and create daily systems which will assist us to fulfill our objectives. 

Where do we begin? Give a pause from being absorbed in work – for some time, at least – and use this pause to ponder and form a strategy. The writer inspects what he has done in the last 365 days on the last day of each year, for instance. He re-examines every meeting and speaking engagements and assesses them, by asking this question to himself: which of them were worth my time? He also examines his work-life balance to see whether he spends enough time when he hangs out with his family and friends? 

To see what he’s done in each and every hour of every year allows him to continue his successes and to carry out adjustments for the next year, by prudently deciding where his time will be primarily spent. In one of these reviews of the last year, he saw he was most prolific during the morning when it comes to writing and thinking. So From that moment onward, he no longer arranged appointments in the morning and put them off for afternoon time when he was usually less prolific.

There is no need to go through each day in a year to accomplish your goals. However, you should have some spare time to contemplate what you’ve done to develop yourself and to realize your vision. Has the time you’ve spent given you anything valuable, or have the conferences in which you participated given you just headaches at home? Does the organization of your office improve or impede your progress? Thinking about these questions, you can use practical systems helpful in achieving your goals, such as creating a novel method in filing documents or participating in a seminar to improve your abilities. 

The process of reflection and evaluation goes on; so, you’ll have to continue to assess how properly your systems are functioning. What are the concrete results that would be pleasing to see in several weeks or months for you? At the end of the year? And what can you do to gauge to understand if you’ve failed or succeeded? Have precise objectives– for example, define the target number of new customers you’d like to see in the next quarter – will support you to remain on the trail to realize your dream. 

Chapter 7 – Experiences that caused anguish for you can push you to develop yourself personally.

Life can present both good and bad things for us. Of course, many prefer to circumvent the bad things. After all, no one would want to experience a loss or have to confront disturbing facts about their own.

Much as we want to circumvent them, such unpleasant experiences can be useful for our development. The writer had a stroke at the age of 51. The experience was agonizing; however, it urged him to begin to diet and exercise. But, it can be interpreted that the stroke helped him to reconsider his health through the hard way so that the inevitable wouldn’t hit sooner.

But, the stroke wasn’t responsible for the genuine transformation the writer’s had in his life; his reaction was. Since his health was deteriorating already, he could’ve made a decision to relish his remaining time and do whatever he liked doing. Instead, the stroke could’ve caused him to feel frustrated because of the unfortunate destiny and pushed him to self-pity. But both of them could’ve shortened his lifetime and impeded any personal growth.

There are also other things that are outside of the sphere of our control aside from sudden health problems. Most agonizing experiences, such as loss and failure, can be an obstruction on our road, like it or lump it. If we’re aiming for very high and running the hazard, we unavoidably begin to take more risks and fail more terribly. So, it makes us feel as if we lose more of our control.

However, it is possible to decide how we will respond to pain – and what our interpretation of it will be. Rather than having a feeling of guiltiness for what happened, we can look at the pain from a different perspective and think about whether it can assist us in our growth. What can we learn from it? In case of an error, what pragmatic steps are there to ensure the outcome won’t be the same the next time? Through these sorts of questions, we’ll know ourselves further and discover ways to improve new abilities and skills to handle the situation. 

When everything is on the right track, the need for motivation for personal growth will never occur again. Agonizing experiences demand our inherent creativity and innovation. They make our growth very faster. Though we tend to avoid pain, we can make great use of it by confronting it from the beginning.

Chapter 8 – Concentrate on growing your character, and you’ll see success will ensue.

Suppose your vision is to set up a business. While trying to realize this vision, you’re striving for being able to pay your debts. You won’t possibly think about personal growth at that point – how can you create time to think about it while you’re preoccupied with making more customers and booming your business?

However, everything you do is centered around you. Neglecting growing a good character, by means of such personal attributes as honesty and integrity, you’ll end up having loose establishment for your building. Suppose you work on a propitious business strategy – it may be a marvelous chance; however, unless you can win the trust of people, then they will be much less likely to fund it. 

You might suppose character is an innate quality such as fingerprints. It is correct to some extent. Your childhood and the society in which you were brought up have surely affected you. There is a positive thing you should know, though, which is the fact that it is probable to improve character. This very essential thing is in fact something you can control.

The development needs to start from the inside out. Doing the exact opposite won’t be enough on its own. Calculate how much you spend on clothing, makeup, and personal care or a deluxe laptop and the newest iPhone. Later, direct this money to whatever is best for your emotional health and soul. such as participating in coaching sessions, going to opera, or participating in a motivational seminar. Do not neglect your inner life and don’t give more heed to your outer life. Be sure your inner life is of primary concern for you.

Then ensure your actions are carried out with integrity; your beliefs shouldn’t be conflicting with your words. When they are congruous people will rely on your speech, which will constitute the real power of your words. Your words will deliver your thoughts to other people and make them share your vision, seeing how truly enthusiastic you are about your beliefs.

Lastly, accepting criticism is important in growing real character. Rather than objecting negative messages by others, consider it as a present. Don’t forget that this is another person spending his time to show what your weak sides are. Understand that character development lasts for a lifetime and there is no end for it. In the best-case scenario, you’ll probably constantly be a work in process.

Chapter 9 – Without acknowledging when you lose, you cannot win.

This occurs always whenever children are on a playground: one child will be play games with an entertaining toy and then another child will come and take the toy from him. In reprisal for this, she expresses her anger and desperation.

Though it might not be as easy for us to speak up our feelings as it is for children, most adults go through those same feelings if we are forced to let something go. But character development means there will be a loss but it will occur as trade-offs. Time and other resources have all an end; thus, if you can only decide on one thing, and you will have to say no to another thing. 

Acknowledging loss is important as it shows we can make trade-offs consciously. It makes sure as well that our loss turns into a bigger win for us.

There have been seven huge career changes throughout the writer’s life, there’ve been times when he was paid his salary in five of his careers. However, he concluded that the chance of growth he had was much important than the loss of money. Had he not been ready to accept those losses, he could’ve had a more stable career – but then he couldn’t have had personal and financial development he has today. 

The trade-off didn’t only involve the loss of money for the writer. Moving from one career to another, he gave up security. He was a pastor first but hen became a public speaker in the business world. Subsequently, he started giving speeches about writing books and then established an NGO. In each step he took, he had to make a trade-off between professions at which he was adept and professions in which he had not much experience or no experience at all– well, in the beginning at least.

Holding success within your palms makes it difficult to trade roles. Well, if you go higher, there’ll be more things for you to lose. However, complacency will be a hindrance for you since you won’t achieve your full potential.

Surely, there is no such thing that every trade-off will be great. Personal values also matter. However, once you detect a chance that will truly enhance you, don’t even wait for a minute to put this chance into practice – even though it might cost a lot.

Chapter 10 – If you are serious about developing yourself, you have to make contributions to other people’s lives. 

Have you ever heard the “no person is an island” saying? It is very meaningful in that since it emphasizes the concept of community in our lives – we are part of a community in families, firms, church groups, knitting circles, and parenting groups. You can apply this argument to success as what we achieve is never completely a product of our own effort since there are many things around us, such as our family, teachers, mentors, co-workers, friends, and a myriad of other people that support us.

Knowing that, and showing your appreciation, will just make us develop more – also, ensuring that we also think about ways to support others will have the same effect.

Think about what you would like people to do for you. Next, ensure that you help others by doing those stuff. You can bring this idea into operation in any area of your life. Would you like your husband or wife to be more thoughtful when it comes to washing the dishes? Think about the areas significant for them and but you fail to meet what they want you to do. Do you want skills to be appreciated in your working environment? Then ensure that your colleagues feel appreciated, too, by making them see their work is valued. 

Are you the manager? Put the work environment in your vision into practice, through which it’ll be possible for you to provide happiness to people working for you. Put a good leadership example that can inspire other people to take a good lesson from it. 

In this age of mass consumption, most people firmly want to possess more tangible possessions, more cash, and more important status. On the road to achieving personal growth, you may end up being merely a product everyone wants to keep and benefit from you for themselves.

This is not how real growth functions. Actually, real growth is most efficient when you share it with everyone. If the writer had preserved his wisdom, which he struggled a lot to gain, only to himself, there would’ve been no way he could’ve found inspiration to launch a coaching business and make other people talk about his teachings. There would’ve been no sign of his nonprofit leadership academy – which became one of the most satisfying things he’s done in his life. Willingly sharing his knowledge about the world, he eventually had a more enjoyable – and extensive – career beyond his vision.

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential by John C. Maxwell Book Review

Though we are unable to control many things in life, we still can pull the strings of our personal growth. Our self-development takes place once we start taking responsibility and using negative things in our lives to quicken our growth. Having a solid way to deal with hurdles and working regularly will allow us to fulfill our objectives. Personal growth is followed by loss, uncertainty, and eagerness to commit blunders. However, the pleasure of going beyond your potential over and over will worth more than the tiny cost of personal growth.

Nurture a beginner’s mind.

Your nemesis in your work to achieve personal growth is being complacent. To avoid this feeling, you should do something totally different and scary. Start taking tango classes, for instance. Or register in a calligraphy course. Or start recounting a story with an open microphone in your hand in improvision. Acquiring new abilities will aid you to cultivate a beginner’s mind – a mind that is always inquisitive and open to new things.

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Savaş Ateş

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