Non-Linear Growth Mindsets: Becoming Process-Oriented Or Growing Back


Being that I haven’t applied myself to a large degree to the work I’m most inspired to do, as I wrote about in a previous post, I’ve experienced a tinge of guilt. Nothing serious, but at the end of the day I know I need to be more proactive in my approach to cultivating the community I seek out and sharing the art of intention. None of this simply happens unless the work is put forth first and foremost. Under these impressions, I’ve begun thinking more, and in fact committing to the application of non-linear growth mindsets.


Ideally, we work towards establishing ourselves passionately in work we love. Problem arises for those individuals unable to make money doing work they are most led to do. This creates an issue for those stuck with figuring out where the balance lies -between making money temporarily doing work they may be skilled at (despite a passionate resolve in their productions) and developing skill sets around work they are not currently being paid for (a fanatic hobby).


If you’ve ever watched the stock market or invested in a risky company, it’s easy to see that returns are not always a continuously improving trend. This non-linear notion of the market is a good reflection of what we can expect in our lives when building new skill sets and productive habits toward doing work we feel led to do. In the realm of idealized returns (imagine the perfect investment portfolio, zero risk and extravagant reward), growth happens constantly in a progressive and positively-correlated manner over time. The reality most investors face is fraught with risk, or at least enough volatility to lead to reward. When we think of growth, it commonly appears in our minds as a linear process. We associate growth with gain, and yet we can all think of examples in our lives where we’ve profited from ours or another’s loss. Ideally, an investor buys low and sells high. What we must consider is are we paying enough attention to the dips in our growth cycles? Have we considered the benefits of loss, or at the very least, how to handle them, what we can learn from them, and the importance in using deficit applications? 


The guilt I have been experiencing signals that my conceptual understanding of how my own art develops is flawed. The idea of how I will arrive at Point B from Point A becomes a pseudo-realistic expectation. Cognizant or not to the idea itself, I have stuck onto the premonition that the work I act upon must always be part of a continuous and positively-correlated growth process – which is not how non-linear growth mindsets work, nor for that matter how life proceeds. In other words, mature growth is not always focused on the steady climbing of the mountain. It takes into consideration the times where we must pause and rest, the times we must allow our bodies acclimate to the changing climate of a steep climb, the times we must allow our bodies to adapt to elevated heights, the harsh weather we will encounter unexpectedly, and of course, the times where we must slow down due to the steepening of the climb. 


Growing ourselves is not always about the strength and strain of sheer advancement. There is power, a stamina if you will, in growing back. We must cultivate an awareness of knowing when we need to take a step back, breathe, and grant ourselves the allotment of time needed to resolve our issues (either personal or professional, natural or spiritual, physical or mental, and the like), rest our psyche, recover our anima, and realize the ending of one phase in the growth process births another turn.


Growing back, or what appears linearly as a maturation of descent, is in fact subtle preparation before the next climb. After crossing thresholds of maturity in our lives, we may be forced to take a step back onto the pedestal we preached we’d leave forever, and humbly submit ourselves to the all-so-more-based societal demands of humanity’s lower nature; again this is not to be confused with some thing worse but rather those essential elements that keep us grounded in the realities of our physical existence (for example, the instinctual will to survive) despite our resolve to leave them, conquer them, supersede them, escape them, or any other sort of a seemingly answer/avoidance to our suffering. Each and every attempt to flee from or conquer over the inherent pains of growth can be viewed as regressions along the path of development, regressions which never actually resolve in the attitude we need most to adopt: acceptance: accepting that life’s hand is not always within our control. Our inability to separate ourselves from an environment which controls us, the very fact that we ignore such a plain evidence of our born encapsulation, ineptitude, and enclosure, leads us to revolt time and time again -the infinite reaction – towards relativity bounded in misperception, confused unity, striving to cohese and become what in its very essence it always is.


It’s most obvious that what happens to us due to the choices of those around us is beyond our personal power of control, and yet our constant struggle towards being attentive is our ever-present avoidance of this very fact. On the other hand, how we respond to that which we are given is always our greatest opportunity to arise, meet bare-faced, fresh, and first-timed in our responses to them. Unfortunately for individuals immersed in western cultures, rest has become a rarity, basically frowned upon due to the constant progressive trends, demands, and tendencies of the West. A person becoming courageous enough, trusting enough in their inner nature, to allow themselves proper time of reparation, consolidation, and contemplation may bloom again into yet another new flow-er. This flowering of growth stems from a seed of compassion beginning within ourselves, allowing ourselves time for repair, accepting that we need rest or time away from immersion; enjoying the pains of growth are all part of a integrated process of transformation where if we can come to accept our agonies throughout this life and allow downward spirals to no longer affect us negatively or correlate them to failure, evil, malice, or God’s ill-will -but instead associate them as an appreciative part towards the forwarding of that process of life which is ever so good. The more we commit to mindsets in which one practices merging opposites, i.e. seeing into the connection between the lower halves of their  physical nature (darkness, groundedness, survival instinct) along with and conjoined to the upper recesses of the mind (light, ethereal, spiritual insight), the higher the degree of realization in which one is able to elevate consciousness towards more transformative perspectives of intercorrelation, interpretation, and integrity.


Real maturity begins developing in the human being who constantly recognizes the subtle difference between two states of mind: when we are lying to ourselves out of projection (wishing, wanting, or desiring some ideal form) and when we’ve developed the clairvoyant ability to see life clearly, unbiased, and not based on the ‘me’ concept. Other people have the ability to make choices that affect us; the world, despite our ignorance, isn’t only our oyster to suck. Conflict, the collective art of sucking, begins in our individual efforts to conquer societal ideals based from cultural conditioning . Learning to separate our conditioned ideals from the total realm of possibilities and actual realities is a serious, on-going commitment to having a non-linear growth mindset. Life is not all peaks, nor a continuous high. Likewise, lows must become a serious and attentive part of any non-linear growth mindset. The next time you are frustrated, take some time to see if the frustration is coming from an impression or an expectation of how you wish things would be, instead of seeing the situation more and more clearly. Yes, clarity is a concentrated effort we can begin to apply in every situation. Yes, attention is a concentrated effort we can begin to apply in every situation. When both are practiced cleanly and clearly together, we begin to see life as the yes including the k’no’w. The question becomes, are you seeing things as they are, or is your agitation based in a reality of your own creation of how you wish they’d be? It’s easy to convince ourselves that life should be different than it is. Focus on your struggle and see where the cause truly lies. 



The stunning image above is attributed to Mikael Hvidtfeldt Christensen. It has not been edited.

About Stephan Stansfield

Stephan is the owner, creator, and editor of Peregrine Poise.
He is currently traveling and teaching around the world. When he is not helping others discover their true potential, he finds time to surf, read, and reflect on the important issues of living a good life.


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