It's a gorgeous day here in western Arkansas, and I'm outside listening to a mockingbird chattering atop a tall tree and a robin chirping warnings in a nearby bush.
Both are protecting nests.
Incidentally, I'm always amazed at how a fierce mockingbird can sound like there are a dozen mean birds -- all at once.
Pretty sure this one is trying to imitate a rooster. 🤷🏼♀️😉
Both of these nests are protected by the male and female. They work as a unit to provide food, shelter, and security for their eggs and, hopefully, a nest of fledglings.
These are the mechanics of survival.
Beyond survival to human needs
You and I are designed for much more than existing. We are wired to pursue the most we can possibly become.
In the mid-20th Century, American psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy of human needs.
Once basic needs are met, humans require—in order:
- Physiological needs
- Love and belonging
Each of these activities enhances the other.
The quest for self-actualization
According to Maslow, humans achieve self-actualization through a variety of means, including:
- Creative problem-solving
- Strong and supportive relationships
- Pursuing one's passions and interests
- Finding and living our purpose and meaning
- Prioritizing intellectual and personal growth and development
Self-growth: A multi-billion dollar industry
This pursuit for "more" drives startling data about the money spent on self-improvement courses, apps, books, and communities.
In 2022, SelfStarters.com reports:
- The value of the self-improvement market is USD 43.77 billion.
- Consumers in the US spent $32 million on self-care mobile apps
- Millennials are ready to spend $300 per month on self-development products
The ultimate self-growth tool you can do for free
Journaling products are part of another multi-billion dollar market. I have more notebooks than I know what to do with.
Using the darned things—and doing so with purpose—is the key to transformation toward a better version of you.
Written self-reflection gives you a starting point, a measuring stick, a method for solving problems, and a tool for leaving your mark on humanity.
Self-actualization: Intellectual or emotional?
In a recent work session with my friend and collaborator, Felipe Fraga, we set out to capture two things:
- Emotions behind our longing for self-growth.
- Reasons humans prioritize personal improvement.
The list of reasons for pursuing self-growth—by far—outweighed the emotional longing to become our best selves.
Felipe and I have wrestled with the term "better" in describing self-growth outcomes.
While "better" is a terrible descriptor, the term is inescapable.
Only you can determine where – specifically – you seek improvement in any given area at any given moment in any given season.
Define your "better."
What would you change about your life in the next 90 days?
Don't overthink it. Right now, write the first thing that pops into your head.
Next week, I'll show you how to custom-design a daily 15-minute structure for reprogramming your mindset, habits, behaviors, and your identity.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up!