The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth Summary – This is my book summary of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential by John C. Maxwell.
About the Author and the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
John C. Maxwell’s journey to personal growth started as soon as he purchased a growth kit. What triggered his decision to buy the product and work on his growth was when the salesman asked him if he had a plan for his personal growth.
He didn’t have any.
His prior approach to work and success was to work hard. After pondering, he realized that working hard doesn’t guarantee success and hope is not a strategy. He concluded that the key to success is personal growth.
“If you focus on goals, you may hit goals – but that doesn’t guarantee growth. If you focus on growth, you will grow and always hit goals.”
He also saw the gap between where he was and where he needed to be. it was what he called the growth gap and he had to figure out how to bridge it.
And the insights he gained brought about these 15 invaluable laws of growth.
Who is This Book For?
If you want to grow and improve yourself, this book is for you. It helps you develop the right attitude, learn more about your strengths, increase your skills, and become a more effective individual.
The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
1. The Law of Intentionality
2. The Law of Awareness
3. The Law of the Mirror
4. The Law of Reflection
5. The Law of Consistency
6. The Law of Environment
7. The Law of Design
8. The Law of Pain
9. The Law of the Ladder
10. The Law of the Rubber Band
11. The Law of Trade-Offs
12. The Law of Curiosity
13. The Law of Modeling
14. The Law of Expansion
15. The Law of Contribution
The Law of Intentionality – Growth Doesn’t Just Happen
There are eight growth gaps or mistaken beliefs that keep you from growing and reaching your potential.
1. The assumption gap – “I assume that I will automatically grow”
No one improves by accident. You have to be intentional and take ownership of the growth process.
2. The knowledge gap – “I don’t know how to grow”
Many people learn through difficult experiences. Sometimes they become better. Sometimes they don’t. The better way to do it is to plan your growth. You can decide where you need to grow and what you want to learn. And you set your own pace.
3. The timing gap – “ It’s not the right time to begin”
If you don’t intentionally decide to begin, you will not get much done. It’s how the law of diminishing intent works. The law states that the longer you wait to do something you should do, the greater the odds that you’ll never actually do it. The solution is to go ahead and get started even before you are ready.
4. The mistake gap – “I’m afraid of making mistakes”
You need to get over the fear of making mistakes. Expect that you may experience it every day. Welcome them. Treat them as a cue that you are moving in the right direction.
5. The perfection gap – “I have to find the best way before I start”
To find the best way, you need to start. When you keep going, you’ll find the answer.
6. The inspiration gap – “I don’t feel like doing it”
If you hope for motivation to strike, you can forget it because it won’t happen. Just do it even if you find many reasons not to take action. But if you can find one reason, one big “why,” that’s enough to inspire you to commit. You’ll stick to the discipline or process long enough until you see results.
7. The comparison gap – “ Others are better than I am”
Yes, you will be behind some people in terms of knowledge and experiences. But don’t feel intimidated by it. Coach yourself to push through your comfort zone. Associate with these people and learn from them.
8. The expectation gap – “I thought it would be easier”
Growth doesn’t come quickly. And it’s not easy. It starts with preparation, which will take time.
Strategies to Make Growth Intentional
1. Ask yourself, “How far can I go?
Answering this question will help you set the direction for your personal growth journey.
2. Do it now.
John Maxwell repeated the phrase “do it now” fifty times the first thing every morning and the last thing before he went to sleep. He did this ritual for six months. It gave him a tremendous sense of urgency.
3. Face the fear.
Everyone is affected by fear. Everyone has faith too. Make faith the stronger emotion.
4. Change from accidental to intentional growth.
The author lists the criteria that differentiate between accidental and intentional growth. The list will help you determine which category you fall into. Check out the original book for more details.
How to Apply the Law of Intentionality to Your Life
1. Identify the growth gap (mentioned above). Once you have recognized it, write a specific plan on how you are going to bridge it.
2. Schedule time for your personal growth every day for the next twelve months.
3. Start immediately.
The Law of Awareness – You Must Know Yourself to Grow Yourself
To know yourself means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, interests and opportunities, and being able to gauge where you’ve been and where you are now. You cannot set a course for where you want to go unless you are aware of these things.
To keep improving, you must make use of what you have learned today with the lessons you have learned in the past. You must also know where you want to go and where you are currently at. These pieces of information are necessary to avoid getting lost.
There are three difference kinds of people when it comes to having direction in life.
1. People who don’t know what they would like to do.
2. People who know what they would like to do but don’t do it.
3. People who know what they would like to do and do it.
Most people fall into the first category. And the main reason is because they don’t know themselves well enough. It is difficult for them to know themselves because of a catch 22 situation.
The author says,
“You have to know who you are to grow to your potential. But you have to grow in order to know who you are.”
The solution is to explore yourself as you explore growth. The way to start is to pay attention to your passion, to what you love doing. Tapping into your passion provides you with the energy you need to fulfill your destiny.
To tap into your passion, listen to your heart.
How to Know Yourself and Find Your Passion and Purpose
The author lists the following questions to help you out.
> What would you like to do?
> What talents, skills, and opportunities do you possess that support your desire to do it?
> What are your motives for wanting to do it?
> What steps must you take (beginning today) to start doing what you want to do?
> Whose advice can you get to help you along the way?
> What price are you willing to pay? What will it cost you in time, resources, and sacrifices?
> Where do you most need to grow?
Once you’re done answering these questions, create an action plan.
The Law of the Mirror – You Must See Value in Yourself to Add Value to Yourself
Self-esteem, according to the author, is the most significant key to a person’s behavior. And if you want to become the person you have the potential to be, you must believe you can.
He provides 10 steps to build it.
1. Guard your self-talk.
“If we want to change our lives, we have to change the way we think of ourselves. If we want to change the way we think of ourselves, we need to change the way we talk to ourselves.”
2. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Focus on you. Focus on how you can be better today than yesterday.
3. Move beyond your limiting belief.
Identify a limiting belief that is holding you back. Reflect on how this belief is affecting you. Make a positive turnaround statement. Repeat this affirmation every day until you start to believe in it.
4. Add value to others.
Do good things to others. You will make them feel valued. And you’ll feel good.
5. Do the right thing even if it is the hard thing.
Do what’s right. You’ll feel a sense of satisfaction. It also helps you build your character.
6. Practice a small discipline daily in a specific area of your life.
Take small positive steps daily. It builds self-discipline and will boost your morale.
7. Celebrate small victories.
Celebrating your successes, even the small ones, will encourage and inspire you to keep going.
8. Embrace a positive vision for yourself based on what you value.
Knowing what you value is important. Build your vision around them.
9. Practice the one word strategy.
Pick one positive word that describes you and use it as your mantra.
10. Take responsibility for your life.
Take control of your life regardless of what has happened in your past.
The Law of Reflection – Learning to Pause Allows Growth to Catch Up with You
The Power of Pausing. How Reflection Can Help You Grow
1. Experience itself is not the best teacher.
Without taking the time to pause and reflect on the countless happenings you experience every day, you will learn nothing from them.
2. Keeps you on the right track.
If you’re going down the wrong road, stopping to pause and think allows you to make course correction. Pausing also enables you to notice significant events or experiences in your life which could lead you to implement life changes in addition to gaining wisdom.
3. Alone time is valuable.
Spending time in solitude helps you sort your experiences, put them into perspective, and plan your future. The author suggests that you create a designated place and schedule a time to do this activity.
4. Ask questions.
Use your alone time to ask focused questions. It’ll stimulate your creative thinking.
The Law of Consistency – Motivation Gets You Going. Discipline Keeps You Growing
How to Become More Disciplined and Consistent
1. Focus on mastering yourself, your personal growth, before you master your job or any other areas of your life.
2. Begin by getting to know your personality type. Align your personality with your motivation and strengths.
3. Start small and practice the required skills every day. Aim for small wins when moving toward your goals. You will experience success in increments.
6. Learn to develop patience because things are difficult before they become easy.
7. Value and enjoy the process of growth. It’s a long journey. Learn from your mistakes and work on making improvements along the way.
8. Knowing your why is as important as knowing the “what” and “how.” Your “why” will keep you going when your energy wears off and when things become difficult and discouraging.
9. The time to start is right now.
The Law of Environment – Growth Thrives in Conducive Surroundings
Before you decide to change your environment, assess your present situation and condition. Here are points to consider.
> The environment you are in has been holding back your growth.
> You realized that your growth has slowed down and the future doesn’t look promising.
> You are always on top of your tribe. You no longer feel challenged.
> The environment doesn’t promote growth.
> It doesn’t meet your needs and aspirations.
What a conducive, positive, and nurturing environment would look and feel like.
> Other people are ahead of you. It is a great place to learn.
> You look forward to what you’re doing.
> The people around you are growing and expect everyone to grow.
> You feel excited with the continuous challenges. It pushes you to move out of your comfort zone.
> The atmosphere is nourishing and affirming. It brings out your creativity.
> You feel rejuvenated and encouraged.
Your personal growth will be easier and faster if you also change yourself in addition to changing your environment.
The Law of Design – To Maximize Growth, Develop Strategies
What Constitutes a Good Strategy?
> It is simple.
> It is personal.
> It can be applied easily and repeatedly.
> It is transferable from one area to another.
> The amount of time and resources needed should be multiplied by two.
To accomplish something on a consistent basis, you need a system.
What is a System?
The author says,
“It’s a process for predictably achieving a goal based on specific, orderly, repeatable principles and practices. Systems leverage your time, money, and abilities. They are great tools for personal growth. Systems are deliberate, intentional, and practical. They really work—regardless of your profession, talent level, or experience. They improve your performance. A life without any systems is a life where the person must face every task and challenge from scratch.”
What a System Should Include
> The big picture.
> It’s based on your priorities.
> There is a way to measure.
> Action steps.
> Good organization.
> Is repeatable.
The Law of Pain – Good Management of Bad Experiences Leads to Great Growth
When you encounter a bad or painful experience, it prompts you to make a choice. You can ignore, detach yourself from it, or get angry. Or you can choose to face and deal with it.
How you deal with it defines who you are and what you become. If you choose to face the painful experience or problem, you will get to know yourself better. It will provide you the lessons you need to succeed.
The author lists 12 types of painful experiences that he went through.
1. The pain of inexperience
2. The pain of incompetence
3. The pain of disappointment
4. The pain of conflict
5. The pain of change
6. The pain of bad health
7. The pain of hard decisions
8. The pain of financial loss
9. The pain of relationship losses
10. The pain of not being number one
11. The pain of traveling
12. The pain of responsibility
The best outcome of those experiences was his growth.
How to Turn Your Pain into Gain
> Choose a positive life stance.
> Embrace and develop your creativity – see possibilities within a problem.
> Embrace the value of bad experience – see something positive in a negative experience.
> Make positive changes after learning from bad experiences.
> Take responsibility for your life.
The Law of the Ladder – Character Growth Determines the Height of Your Personal Growth
Pay more attention to your character than to success because good character is essential to success.
Of all good character traits, honesty comes on top. And being honest with yourself is essential for your growth and success.
The Character Ladder
1. Focus on being better on the inside.
You develop a reputation from what others see you on the outside. If you want to reveal your best character, work from the inside. It will show on the outside.
2. Focus on doing good to others.
Use this rule-of-thumb as a guide. You’ll develop empathy and will be well-liked.
“Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.”
3. Live by your principles and beliefs.
Don’t borrow other people’s beliefs. Stick to your own and your passion will show. You will also build integrity.
4. Practice humility.
Everyone makes mistakes and have weaknesses. When you make a mistake, admit it. Remember to see the big picture and be willing to be teachable. Practice serving others and be grateful.
5. Keep building your character.
As long as you are alive, work on becoming a better person every day. Do the right thing.
The Law of the Rubber Band – Growth Stops When You Lose the Tension Between Where You Are and Where You Could Be
The author says that much of his progress came as a result of stretching himself.
> He chose his first pastorate without his father’s help even though his father was a district superintendent.
> He focused on teaching leadership to pastors when it wasn’t popular then.
> He worked on improving his public speaking skills instead of giving up after a not so successful first attempt at it.
> He stretched himself to reach business people through his conferences and books instead of just sharing his knowledge with pastors.
> He challenged himself to start a coaching business at the age of sixty.
He says that you’ll develop your potential by getting out of your comfort zone and by continually stretching physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Why People Don’t Stretch
> They have little desires to grow and succeed.
> They don’t want to move out of their comfort zone.
> The absence of intrinsic motivation.
> They are not willing to embrace change.
> Mediocrity and complacency.
The Law of Trade-Offs – You Have to Give Up to Grow Up
This law states that you have to let go of some of the things that you love and value most because they are holding you back.
But it isn’t easy to give up things if you’ve achieved a level of security. Making a trade-off is also scary because it might turn your life upside down.
If you want to reach your potential, you need to look at the possibility of success instead of allowing yourself to be stymied by the fear of failure.
Some Insights on the Law of Trade-Offs
It’s available to everyone throughout life. The question is whether you are going to make good or bad ones.
To avoid making a wrong decision, evaluate the plusses and minuses. See it as opportunity for growth instead of focusing on your fear.
Making trade-offs pushes you to make difficult personal changes necessary to achieve your dreams and goals.
It takes a while before you gain the benefits. It’s therefore important not to think about the loss and have self-doubt during this transition period.
Most trade-offs come only once. Miss it and the opportunity is gone.
The higher you climb, the tougher it is to make a trade-off because you are no longer feeling desperate or motivated to change. You have become comfortable.
Trade-offs involve trying new things. This means it changes you.
There are things that you must not be willing to give up to. They are not worth the price. Your relationships with your loved-ones should be non-negotiable. And so are your values.
Questions to ask yourself before deciding to make a trade-off:
Are you willing to give up…
> Financial security today for potential tomorrow
> Immediate gratification for personal growth
> The fast life for the good life
> Security for significance
> Addition for multiplication
The Law of Curiosity – Growth Is Stimulated by Asking Why
Curiosity is the catalyst for self-motivated learning. It helps a person to think and expand possibilities beyond the ordinary. It fires imagination, leads to discovery, opens up options, and leads to extraordinary living.
10 Ways to Cultivate Curiosity
1. Believe in yourself. Give yourself permission to be curious.
2. Develop a beginner’s mindset. Ask lots of questions until you get answers.
3. Make “why” your favorite word. Don’t stop questioning.
4. Spend time with other curious people.
5. Learn and experience something new every day.
6. Make failure your friend. Ask why it happened, what you can learn from it, and how you can grow from the experience.
7. Stop looking for the right answer because there is no single solution to a problem. Look for options instead and you will open yourself up to more possibilities.
8. Get over yourself, your ego. Don’t be afraid to look ridiculous or dumb.
9. Get out of your self-imposed boxes so that you can see new ideas and solutions.
10. Enjoy your life by doing what you love, loving what you do, taking risks, and learning.
The Law of Modeling – It’s Hard to Improve When You Have No One but Yourself to Follow
Without a mentor, you’ll learn from hits and misses, and trials and errors. You’ll still grow and improve. But you’ll only go so far if you only have yourself to follow.
A mentor can help you hone your specific strengths and help you navigate through certain problem areas in your life.
Books can be your mentors. Most people start this way. You’ll benefit from having personal mentors too.
However, you got to be selective when choosing someone to become your personal mentor.
Here are the qualities to help you choose a mentor.
> It’s important to pick someone who is a worthy example. This is because we become like the people we admire. The qualities to look for in a mentor include professional excellence, possession of skill sets that you want to learn, and having character worthy of emulating.
> He or she must be accessible and available to mentor in person. This helps because you are able to observe what they do.
> Choose a person with proven experiences. You will learn about their successes and bad experiences. You’ll be prepared and know what to expect and what to avoid.
> Choose someone with wisdom. The wise person can help you open your eyes to a world you aren’t familiar with, help you navigate difficult situations, and enable you to see opportunities you might have missed.
> Pick someone who offers friendship and support.
> Choose a coach, someone one who will bring your from where you are to where you want to be.
The Law of Expansion – Growth Always Increases Your Capacity
You can increase your capacity by changing how you think and what you do.
The author suggests the following:
Start thinking what works. Working more will not necessarily increase your capacity. What’s important is to do the right thing. To be able to do so, ask the following questions:
> What am I required to do?
> What gives the greatest return?
> What gives the greatest reward?
These questions focus your attention to what you must do, ought to do, and want to do.
Stop asking “Can I?” Ask, “How can I?” The question “Can I?” shows doubt, hesitation and limited thinking. The question “How can I?” challenges you to test your limits and pushes your capacity. It assumes that there is a way and it’s a matter of finding it.
Expand your thinking in terms of options. Look for multiple answers.
How to Increase Your Capacity for Action
> Try doing new things. It leads to innovation and new discoveries.
> Just showing up isn’t enough. Do more than expected. Rise above the average.
> Start doing the right and important things daily. It leads to personal expansion.
The Law of Contribution – Growing Yourself Enables You to Grow Others
How do you increase your chances of being able to help others and make a significant contribution in your lifetime?
The author suggests that you develop an abundance mindset.
Think of yourself like a river instead of a reservoir as you learn and grow. A reservoir continually takes in water to fill it up. A river flows and it gives away what it receives.
Be a giver by giving your time, expertise, and resources without expecting anything in return. Life works in ways that when you focus more on the wants and needs of others, your own wants and needs are met.
How to Develop an Attitude of Contribution
1. Be grateful. Show your gratitude by giving to others things that will enable them to go far and achieve more of what you have given.
2. Give something they can pass it on.
3. Don’t let stuff and possessions take charge of your life.
4. Don’t let people own you. Give more than you receive in relationships. But don’t keep score.
5. Define success as sowing, not reaping. Be patient. Don’t give up when it looks like nothing is happening. The reaping will eventually come.
6. Focus on self-development not self-fulfillment. Self-development means doing what you are talented and uniquely fit to do. Self-fulfillment means doing what you enjoy and will receive the most strokes for doing. Self-fulfillment is an emotion that cannot be sustained. Self-development doesn’t rely on emotions, circumstances, or the people around you. You choose how and what you want to do.
7. Keep growing to keep giving. Keep learning. Keep trying.
Buy the book: The 15 Laws of Invaluable Growth
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