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Personal Growth and the Need to Reinvent Yourself

Reinvent Yourself

It always amazes me when I meet people who are resistant to change. In many ways, that’s like being resistant to life itself. You see, life is a growing experience, and growing, by definition, involves change. In essence, no change means no personal growth because the two are actually synonymous.

If you look back on your life, I think you will discover that you have been reinventing yourself from the beginning. When you were a child you saw a vision of the future based on your limited knowledge and experience. You may have said that you wanted to be a fireman or a ballerina when you grew up, well…

Did you become your childhood vision?

Chances are, you did not grow up to fulfill your childhood vision of yourself. Why not? Probably because by the time you were a teenager, you had completely reinvented yourself. Your personal growth meant that you had acquired new knowledge and had new experiences. Your whole perception of the world and your place in it had changed.

Instead of seeing life from a child’s point of view, you were beginning to see things as a young adult. Because of personal growth, you were no longer the same person. Wouldn’t it have seemed ridiculous not to change at that point? Of course it would, because personal growth requires change.

Where did personal growth lead you next?

By your mid twenties you had probably reinvented yourself again. Why? Same reasons as before, more knowledge and experience. In other words, personal growth caused you to grow into a new and different version of yourself.

Now, let me ask you this, at what stage do you imagine that this process stops? When does the need to reinvent yourself cease to exist? If you have followed my reasoning so far, you will see that there is only one answer to this question. The need to reinvent ourselves only stops when our personal growth and development stops!

You cannot have personal growth without change!

When you take in new knowledge and implement it, it changes you. When you have new experiences and learn from them, it changes you. Whenever you act on what you learn it’s called personal growth. So as long as we continue to grow, we will need to reinvent ourselves periodically.

When we resist this process it can have a very negative effect on our sense of joy and our enthusiasm for life. If we know that we need to make a change and yet refuse to do so, it creates internal conflict. That means that our resistance has put us at cross purposes with our true self.

Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself

When we reinvent ourselves it’s like multiplying our knowledge base and perspective. It allows us to consider things from several different angles. We don’t give up our former self, we simply add another dimension.

For example, to be successful in marriage we can’t keep the same mentality we had when we were single. We need to reinvent ourselves and adopt a completely different point of reference. But we can still relate to the thinking of a single person. We didn’t lose that ability, we added to it. We became more multidimensional than we were before.

Enjoy personal growth, embrace change!

I can’t count the number of times I have reinvented myself during my life. As a result, life has been an amazing and exciting adventure. This is a common thread that seems to flow through the field of personal growth and development. If you pay attention to the personal stories of others in this niche, you will notice that they all reinvent themselves periodically.

Every time we add a new dimension to our lives we gain knowledge, insight, and experience. Over the course of a lifetime that becomes a deep well to draw from. There is a richness of wisdom that can only come through experience. That’s a richness we can never know unless we learn to embrace personal growth and change.

How have you reinvented yourself over the years?
Are you comfortable or uneasy with change?
The lines are open!

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40 Comments

  1. Frank J August 6, 2009 Reply

    I am a change champion and even at 47 I like to enter the unknown. If you are not willing to make changes, than you may miss out on something that could change your life for ever.

  2. Zuzanna M August 6, 2009 Reply

    Hello, Jonathan

    “To be able to grow we need to accept the change as nothing stays the same.”

    As you already know every change will be challenging so often times have found difficulties to accept the new that I am facing. It is perhaps the fear of unknown or luck of faith in my own abilities that holds me back. Have faced many changes in my life, some were more difficult then others. With the eagerness to progress, I found ways to change things for better. Now I am embracing change with much more ease then before.

    Thank you for the great article.

    Sincerely,
    Zuzanna

    • Hi Z, thanks for joining in. I think the fact that you now find it easier to embrace change shows that your past efforts have really benefited you.

  3. Steven Aitchison August 6, 2009 Reply

    Jonathan you hit a button every time!

    I feel I am growing every day and it’s purely because I am learning so much in such a short space of time. It’s also due to the fact that I am dipping my toe in the outer circles of my comfort zone and it’s amazing just how big my comfort zone has grown purely by incremental jumps.

  4. Mysticle August 6, 2009 Reply

    Since mid 2007, I’ve traveled a constant path of change. Yes, reinventing Mysticle. I’ve welcomed the changes, embraced the forward momentum. I’ve reached a happy place in my life now; however, I know I will continue to reinvent myself again and again. Thank you, Jonathan, for sharing. You are an inspiration ~

    “Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    • Hi Mysticle, nice quote by Goethe. The interesting thing about change is that it happens. We can embrace it or run from it, but we cannot stop it.

  5. Robin Easton August 6, 2009 Reply

    I think I had to wholeheartedly (even consciously) embrace the reality of change in a big way at a young age (25) because I was on “the way out” and knew that I was. I wouldn’t have lived to be 30. I also knew that change, although often frightening, brought new life and vigor. This may sound odd but over the years I grew to thrive on the repercussions or effects of change, even actively sought out the changes I knew would crack my soul wide open. And I use the word soul because the effects went deep and for me were irrevocable, which was good. It saved my life. In fact it GAVE me life.

    I think embracing change goes hand in hand with seeing life as “the journey” or “our reason for being here”. Seeing life as a journey and not somewhere to get to, achieve or do, etc. (although those things can go with the journey) allows us to embrace change more easily, or with more purpose. Life is rarely about the things we think it’s about.

    Like you I’m constantly reinventing myself. I still thrive on it, even if it’s at times daunting and takes me into new and unknown territory within myself. That’s what change is; we go beyond the known into the unknown. And I hunger for the unknown. I want to experience as much of it as I can while I am here.

    Thank you for inspiring me and so many others to greatness. Yours is such beautiful writing and insight.

    • Hi Robin, thanks for emphasizing the connection between seeing life as a journey and embracing change. The two really do go hand in hand. Like you, I want to experience as much as possible and learn all I can. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Mark Lewis August 6, 2009 Reply

    I don’t see reinventing myself along the way as much as I see myself refocusing. When I was younger I always liked building things. Whether it was building blocks or grand ideas for a photography business, I haven’t reinvented myself as much as I have refocused on my childhood aspirations. No, I’m not building blocks anymore or working to build a photography business; perhaps I have reinvented my model to success, but not the core me.

    • Hi Mark, great to see you here. I think we are on the same page but using different terminology. That’s why I brought out the part about adding a different dimension. I totally appreciate the refocusing concept.

  7. maryann August 6, 2009 Reply

    The only constant is change and it is never too late to begin again. Additionally, as read in the previous comments, I enjoy change. In many ways, change has been my best friend throughout the years

    Thanks for another fantastic post, Jonathan. You’ve done it again.

    • Hi Mary Ann, so glad you left a comment. I love this thought, “In many ways, change has been my best friend throughout the years.” I think that is a great way to look at it.

  8. Rocket Bunny August 6, 2009 Reply

    Change is always good. Sometimes unexpected but I agree in order to grow we must change.
    I really like the Goethe quote, Mysticle wrote. It is one of my favorites.

    Wonderful article -

  9. Fantastic article Jonathan. I couldn’t agree more. I’m changing myself and I have no problem with it. I’ve changed before and I’m so glad I did. I know people who’ve changed and it’s usually for the better. I love the fact that the world is changing fast. I don’t care. It’s what makes life and people exciting.

    “That’s a richness we can never know unless we learn to embrace change.”

    • Thanks Stephen, I also appreciate the way change makes life feel progressive, as long as we keep changing in the right direction. I know that you have been going through a sustained period of personal growth, so you are in a good position to render an opinion on this subject. Thank you.

  10. Vin August 7, 2009 Reply

    Many of us, including myself, are creatures of habit and enjoy the comfort of a routine. This is one reason why it can be so hard to embrace change and why the message in this article is so important! However, I think the more you experience the excitement and benefit of change, the easier it is to embrace! For me, change usually equates to potential and new goals to pursue which I find very exciting.

    • Hi Vin, I also am a creature of habit. No matter how often I reinvent myself I like to bring along the habits that support a balanced life. They may get adjusted from time to time, but they are never left behind. Some my be more comfortable with the phrase “upgrade myself” instead of “reinvent.” It’s like becoming a new, improved version of yourself.

  11. Christie August 7, 2009 Reply

    I have really enjoyed the changes that learning about life and about myself have brought. I think that as we live our lives we have to be conscious of what we are moving toward – and whether it’s a direction we want to go or whether we’re just being pushed along by life.

  12. Arswino August 8, 2009 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I have never thought about when I reinvent myself until I read this article. For me, changes can be tough, but with strong will we can get through it.
    Love this article, Jonathan.

    • Hi Arswino, change is tough for many people so you are definitely not alone. Then there are those of us who thrive on it. Learning to embrace change can open up a world of possibility.

  13. Dragos Roua August 9, 2009 Reply

    Changing is natural, resisting change is unnatural. I am really comfortable with change in my life, so comfortable that I have this tendancy of becoming restless when others don’t change as fast as I am. One of my biggest challenges is to learn patience and trust. For others as well for myself.

    Great one, Jonathan :-)

    • Hi Dragos, I feel the same way about change as you do. As foriegn as it seems to me, I also recognize that some people struggle with change and need some encouragement to learn to embrace it. It just shows how different we all are and yet we can all learn the skills that allow us to overcome the things that feel like obstacles to us personally.

  14. Avani Mehta August 9, 2009 Reply

    I feel a restless energy building within me when things remain same for a long period of time. Equally true is the fact that there are some things which I prefer remain solid in my life and don’t change ever.

    The challenge to reinvent oneself might seem huge but even if we make small changes gradually, over a period of time, we realize we managed to do quite a lot.

  15. Eren Mckay August 10, 2009 Reply

    I’m going through some things in my life right now that require that I make some changes to our daily lives. I am a bit weary and it makes it even harder when I hear family members tell me that I can’t change. That I won’t make it if I make those changes. But right now I am forced to make these changes and I’m excited about them.
    It will already be hard enough to implement the changes it makes it even harder when the people that I love most in my life tell me that I can’t do it.
    Well- I know they mean well but that’s not what I need to hear at this moment. So I just have to continue and not listen to others and make the changes that are needed in my life.
    As you said- we need to embrace change and that’s what I’m going to do ;-)
    All the best,
    Eren
    I need to implement the changes now.

    • Hi Eren, sometimes the people around us have a fear that, if we change it will change their world. When this happens they try to undermine our efforts. Remember, this is not malicious, it’s done out of fear.

      If you can’t get the support you need from your family it can be extremely discouraging. Try to seek out those who have a little more faith in your abilities. Don’t be afraid to tell them the problem and ask for their support and encouragement.

      You can also inform your family members that, if they can’t be encouraging, then they should respect you enough to keep it to themselves. I have a feeling you will tech them all a valuable lesson by your perseverance. Let me know if I can be of service.

  16. Celes August 11, 2009 Reply

    Hey Jon, yet another insightful post! I fully agree that growth comes about as a result of change. It is through exposing yourself to different contexts that we grow. If we face the same old things every time, there is no new stimuli for us to grow from. I’m tweeting and stumbling this!

    • Nicely expressed Celes, an so true. It’s the changes that create new opportunities to grow and learn. Embracing change is how we turn the journey into an adventure. Thanks so much for your kind word and support.

  17. Steve August 21, 2009 Reply

    My sociology professor said something in one of my first classes at college: “Change is the one constant in life.” I have always remembered that. Recently, I read and wrote about the Sigmoid Curve: we all reach points in our jobs, relationships, and even blogs where we can become stale and irrelevant, unless we are willing to change to meet the demands of time and competition.

  18. Jerry August 21, 2013 Reply

    Jonathan – I couldn’t agree more about the need for personal reinvention. Many years ago, when I was much younger, I would tend to resist change if I felt it was taking me somewhere out of my comfort zone. Later in life, however, when I was more mature and had responsibility for managing others and leading programs of work, I could readily see that change was inevitable and I could either stand in its way or surf the wave of change. Thankfully I chose the latter and can honestly say that I’m a much better and more well rounded and likeable person as a result. If only I had gotten on board sooner!

  19. David Carroll September 9, 2013 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    As someone who spent years locked away in their comfort zone, I can personally attest to the benefits of allowing yourself to change and evolve. But I would say that it’s important to never forget who you are and where you’ve come from.

    I’ve made so many positive changes in the last few years, but I will always acknowledge the journey that got me to where I am today. You can take great strength and motivation from looking back at the person you were and realising how much you’ve learned and improved!

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