Before embarking on a journey of personal growth, it is important to look to the past for a gauge through which to measure yourself. Go through this process with honesty and humility.  Remove egotism and other crutches of vanity that may impede this important process of self-reflection. This ability to look at oneself from a third party’s perspective is an essential survival skill in our personal and business lives.  Before you are able to grow and evolve- you must have a realistic and “unclouded” perception of yourself. 

The past is an excellent soundboard for self-analysis. Those who go through life blaming all their personal misfortunes and flaws on others are missing the vital point: by changing ourselves we can change the way we are perceived and begin to change those around us.

In a business sense, it is often said that a start-up is a mirror image of the founders, so with gains in personal growth you will also see progress in your entrepreneurial life.  Your personal drive, discipline, values, and ethos will flow through your people, processes, and business culture. It is important to understand this business truth as soon as possible, because “a year from now you may wish you had started today.”

Here are some quotes that may inspire you to get started on your journey of personal evolution:

Be the change you want to see in this world
— Gandhi

There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential
— Rusty Berkus

There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.
— Bruce Lee

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
— Martin Luther King

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
— George Eliot

No pressure, no diamonds.
— Mary Case


Dennis Waitley, the American best-selling author, once said 'failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end…' Failure is often misunderstood, a dirty word, only to be whispered in hushed tones. Some of those closest to me have yet to achieve their full potential because of their subconscious fear of the ‘F’ word. In certain cultures, failing is taboo and carries individual and familial shame, like a metaphorical scarlet letter burning on one’s forehead.

In the late seventeenth century, Isaac Newton famously said ‘if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ He recognised a profound truth that ideas and innovations are seldom born in isolation; more often than not, they are simply iterations of those that came before them.

In high school, I was a sprinter. Metaphorically that is. I took on way too much. I wanted to make it big, and do it fast. My ambition and enthusiasm for education, sports and extracurricular activities exceeded my output levels, mainly because I was spread too thin. ‘The fruit of patience is very sweet,’ my father repeated reassuringly over breakfast as I gulped down my hot chocolate, but the Urdu proverb didn’t resonate at all with a young man eager to take on the world.

Winston Churchill once wisely said 'it's a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.' He was addressing the nation in a BBC broadcast, speculating on how Russia may or may not respond in the wake of one of the most uncertain times in recent history - World War II. Leaders are often judged by how they manage uncertainty: when the stakes are high, yet our control of the possible outcomes is limited. At times like this, working out probabilities and other forms of statistical analysis are of little use. Great leaders that have triumphed over the beast of uncertainty are often those that have relied on calculated intuition and instinct.

Legend has it that way back in third century Rome, Emperor Claudius II wished for a radical transformation of his army. While his soldiers were loyal and dedicated, he believed that they could give more. He wanted the success of the military to be each soldier's only meaningful purpose in life. Such men were hard to find; although many were passionate and had risked their lives for the Empire, the soldiers had their loved ones and family life outside of the army. The Emperor saw this as a weakness and a distraction, so he took the bold and ruthless step - and forbade marriage altogether.

1 Comment