Why Most People Are Stuck At A Me-Centered Level Of Personal Growth — And How We Can Get To The Next Level

Vishen Lakhiani

I once attended a seminar where one of the speakers said there are five reasons why people buy personal growth programs. She called it the 5 Pillar Model. She said people start personal growth…

  1. To make more money
  2. To feel more important
  3. To get more love (and sex)
  4. To get thinner and healthier
  5. And to live longer

According to her, everything in personal growth ultimately leads to these five fundamental human desires.

And while these are all great things, they normally only motivate the ones who are just starting out on their personal growth journey.

But once you have spent a good amount of time pursuing personal growth, those five elements are not the key drivers of your life anymore.

By that time, you have probably become healthier because you’re eating well.

You’re expecting to live longer as you’re taking good care of your body.

You’re more equipped to have the right kind of relationships that fulfil your need for love (and sex).

You’re doing better in your career and you are (or soon about to) earn more money.

And you’ve realized that significance actually doesn’t matter because your happiness comes from within and you don’t need someone else to recognize you.

So if that’s the case, we could think that people who are satisfied in these five areas would stop developing themselves.

But in reality, the more you get into personal growth, the more it becomes a fundamental part of your life. You spend more and more time on it. You want to do it every day.

So what’s happening here?

You see, the 5 Pillar Model is true for people who are just starting out. But once you’ve surpassed that, personal growth gets a new meaning.

The Second Stage: Growth As The End Goal


At this stage, you no longer use your personal growth as a means to achieve your goals assuming that it would be the destination to your journey.

Because the truth is: There is no end to your growth.

There’s nothing on this planet you can get or achieve that would make you feel your work is done. That you don’t need to do or learn anything else. That you don’t have to show up every day because you’ve already achieved everything you had to.

The human mind is built with an infinite capacity for growth. This is why the most successful and self-actualized people on the planet will tell you that growth is actually the end goal.

They’ll tell you that being an optimal human being is about more than just chasing money, success or recognition. It’s more than just studying a course or attending a seminar hoping these things would “fix” you for good.

It stops being a means to an end. It becomes a goal in itself. You’re growing for the sake of growth.

The Third Stage: The Number One Thing In Life


By this time, as you’re constantly evolving, life-long learning is part of your DNA. But there’s a level even beyond that.

When I asked Dr. Srikumar Rao, the legendary business teacher in Ivy League Schools what the most important thing in life is, this is what he answered.

Srikumar Rao at Reunion
Dr. Srikumar Rao speaking at Mindvalley Reunion

He said, most people think that their business or their family is their first priority in their life. But they’re missing the point.

As Dr. Srikumar Rao says, your business and career is a vehicle for your growth. Just like your marriage, your passions, the adventures you take on, even parenting your children.

This means that if your business fails, it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether you’ve grown or not. If your business succeeds, great. But did you grow?

At this stage, personal growth becomes the number one thing in your life. The one and only thing you focus on so that everything else falls into place.

The people who have reached that stage don’t focus on their net worth anymore. They are no longer attached to one static goal or one rigid idea of success. Instead, their entire life is a journey of growth after growth after growth.

These people live a growth-oriented lifestyle.

They live their life learning exciting new things…

They are constantly reinventing themselves…

They go on reality-bending adventures…

They give back in amazing ways…

And they find comfort in discomfort.

They are pursuing growth for the love of growth — knowing that money, success, and recognition are simply the byproducts of that growth itself.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy things on your journey as you go through the wonderful dance of life. It doesn’t mean you should not try to achieve goals.

Rather, it means that the key to true happiness and fulfilment is that life is growth and growth is life itself.

Perhaps, Tony Robbins was right when he said that our soul’s two spiritual needs are the need to grow and the need to contribute.

When you approach personal growth from this perspective — as an end to itself — and not as a means to something else, you truly start living a growth-oriented life.

So while reaching your goals—whatever they are to you—is certainly exciting, maybe that sense of achievement we all feel is really less about the goal itself…

But rather about knowing that you’ve evolved, grown and transformed as a person.

That you’ve tapped into a little more of your hidden potential.

And that you’ve reignited that love of learning we all inherently knew we had since we were kids.

So go forth and keep learning—And watch as your life expands in an extraordinary way that only happens when you embrace a growth-oriented life.


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Which area of your personal growth are you focusing on right now? Share it with us in a comment below.

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Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen Lakhiani is the founder of Mindvalley, the education company behind many of the world's top apps, festivals, events, courses and more in the field of human transformation and personal growth.

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