I Am Learning; But Am I Growing?

An avid believer in learning and growing, I learned about personal growth the hard way. One day someone very close to me said, “You are always talking about growth, but I don’t see you growing.” I thought I was. I knew I was. After all if I am learning, I am growing, right? Was there a difference between learning and growing? Yes.

Learning results in new knowledge.
Growing results in change.

personal growth

Learning Is Acquiring Knowledge

That conversation made me think long and hard about my personal growth, and challenge myself with:

  • I need to grow, not just learn.
  • How will I know I am growing? Can it be measured?

I have made some progress since that time. I want to briefly share with you what I have learned.

I love to read books to help me grow. I have not always enjoyed reading. But in 2008, I read a book that changed my life: Personality Plus by Florence Littauer. Up to that point, I believed that if I were reading, that meant I was growing. It does not.

I also love to write. But I have not always loved writing. A few years ago, I found something that also impacted my life and my organization (while reading), and decided to write about it, namely: leadership. But I also learned writing does not mean growing. I love going to conferences to learn new things. And when I go, I take a lot of notes. I learn a lot. But attending conferences also does not mean growth.

I absolutely love learning from others. Finding people to mentor me in different areas that they excel in is something I have come to really appreciate. But having a mentor also does not imply growth. I love to reflect on previous failures and successes to learn from them. But I’ve learned that reflection does not equal growth. I love to write down and file away principles and quotes I hear, statements that possess truths. I have been doing that for 6 years, and I have a 600 page Word document to prove it. But recording valuable principles is not growth either.

Growth is Applying Knowledge

All these things I have listed are simply means of acquiring knowledge. Growth is applying knowledge. Twitter_logo_blue Growth is about change: changing our habits of thinking, changing how we manage our emotions, and changing how we handle life.

So many times, I feel so elated when I learn something new. I feel like I am a new person. It is like sitting in church and hearing a great sermon. You feel enthused, inspired, and encouraged to live out the meaning of your faith. But all too often for most of us, nothing happens. We don’t apply what we’ve learned in order to make an actual change. Growing spiritually takes a daily commitment to work out how we would apply spiritual truths in our lives. As much as we would love the change to happen right after we hear the beautiful sermon, it rarely happens then. It is the same with learning and growth.

I know people who are avid readers or prolific writers, but have glaring areas of their lives that need growth and maturity that they quite simply fail to address. The fact of the matter is that as human beings, we are mostly blind to our shortfalls. We don’t want to acknowledge that we have them, and we most certainly don’t want others to tell us that we do. Growth requires extreme forms of humility and self-reflection. It requires that we invite people to be very open with us. We may prefer to ignore them, but growth means change. And change means that we have to acknowledge that we may be doing something in a suboptimal way. If we really want to grow, we must change even when it is hard—or painful.

I seek personal growth daily. If I am going to be a better leader than I am today, I must grow. I must change, not just learn. If I am going to take my people to better places, and make more of an impact on my world than I am today, I must be intentionally dedicated to constantly growing—constantly changing. As a leader in your own right, will you join me to go beyond learning to growing?

To get you started, I invite you to download my free eBook, Challenge to Change, if you have not done so already. I wish you all the best on your journey of growth, friend.

Question: What is one way you ensure that you are growing, and not just learning? (I will be the first to answer this in the comments section below. I look forward to reading your response as well.)

Your Friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

For Further Reading:

The Most Crucial Step of Growth
POWER BOOK: The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth

5 Comments
  • Wes Saade
    Posted at 04:08h, 03 March Reply

    I recently added a new discipline to my daily growth time. This is a time that I dedicate to reflecting on how I am applying principles in the areas I most need improvement. As I read or am exposed to different materials, I mark the areas I want to apply in my life now with the letter “A” (for Apply). These end up in my “growth document.” During my growth time, I review these principles and create different measuring tools to see how I am progressing in each area.

  • Salam David
    Posted at 11:25h, 03 March Reply

    Dear Dr. W,
    I really liked your blog today! It spoke very directly to me. It also gave me new ideas to move forward for myself and for my family. I appreciate all the info you shared in this blog. Have a great day. Stay warm! Love you!

    • Wes Saade
      Posted at 20:55h, 03 March Reply

      Thank you very much Salam for your comment!

  • topsy
    Posted at 01:21h, 07 March Reply

    I am truly inspired by this topic. This really apply to me, I love learning and reading but applying what I have learned has always been a challenge and it has definite hinder my growth. I believe I am not growing even though I have so much knowledge. Thank you for this revelation. I hope I can learn from your post. I will definitely love to read more from your post.

  • Rupal
    Posted at 16:15h, 19 January Reply

    Thank you for being part of my growth

Post A Comment