One of the classic problems that most people struggle with is that they experience bumps in the road or difficulties in general as being unnecessary or unfair. When we were children so much of the world was handled for us by our primary care givers, parents etc. At some point in our later teens/early adulthood we went through a time where the bumps that our parents smoothed over now gave us stubbed toes, headaches or even anxiety when we failed to adjust to these changes. Growing up and growing out of smaller sized clothes as children and teenagers can be a template for the on-going development of our minds as adults.
As we grew larger or taller as children we accepted the feedback and moved to new clothes that would include more of our bodies; failure to do this meant wearing very tight clothes, restricted movement and teasing by our peers.
As adults, our on-going development is no longer delivered automatically from the inside. Instead we have a choice. We either choose to grow through on-going acceptance and utilisation of feedback, or we opt to find a level at which to maintain our sense of self, seeking a kind of stability focused more on investing in a ‘steady-normal’ state than a learning one. Doing the second option creates a comfort zone, but ironically it leads us to invest even more energy on not learning anything new. And comfort zones without on-going learning always get smaller and smaller, limiting what is possible; painting ourselves into a corner.
One reason for not learning anything new is that learning always leads us to change what we believe. If we change our beliefs we are setting ourselves up to change who we are. Most people have invested a lot of energy in being who they are as it is how they have always known how to be safe in the world, how to belong, how to manage their memories, experiences, emotions and relationships with others. It’s not surprising then that when we have an experience that challenges our sense of identity that we sometimes push back, resist and for some they feel the need to fight it.
One thing that is always true when we accept the challenges, bumps, tough feedback as learning experiences is that we become more than both the person we were before the difficult experience and more than the difficult experience itself. What we become is both what we were and what we learn from the experience. We become whatever we are prepared to receive from the learning experience i.e. resilient, adaptive, confident, capable, stable, flexible and invariably: smarter and wiser.
My argument here is that whoever of whatever you think you are right now you are also a part of a much bigger jigsaw puzzle that is the awesome and magnificent life that we have been given, and every new experience is both an opportunity to add new pieces to our existing picture of reality, and also to be included into a much bigger one. And in every moment, by engaging in life in this way, we are always becoming: More Than.
Mark Shraga is Chief Executive Officer of New Star Networks (NSN) Ltd. He is also the owner of Brighter Lives Ltd, founder of NSNrg Ltd, Cloud 100 Ltd and Club owner and co-founder at Shodokan Aikido West London. Mark has a passion for developing himself and others which led him to complete an M.A. in Applied Coaching at the University of Derby in 2015. Mark’s M.A. focused on Embodying Self Authorship in mature adults and was awarded a Merit. Mark qualified as an NLP Trainer in December 2012 and has successfully coached 100’s of people since he began his coaching career back in 2008. Mark received his 1st Dan Black Belt in Aikido from Nariyama Shihan at Shodokan Honbu Osaka in June 2016 and currently runs two Aikido Dojo’s in West London. Picture attached is from when Mark opened the first Aikido dojo in May 2016.