It was one of the Sundays and as usual, many thoughts were passing through my head and suddenly my thought process got stuck at one point and made me to think and re-think as how one can or how one should measure his or her personal growth?
1) Your success in exams is measured by the marks that you score (your percentile).
2) Your success in business is measured by revenues and profits that you earn.
3) The versatility of your business is measured by your expansion plans, both in terms of geographical expansion as well as venture into new industries.
4) Experience is usually measured in number of years.
5) Your height, your weight, your age…everything can be measured.
So, how can you measure your “Personal Growth”?
Things that you do
To understand and measure your personal growth, lets first list out and understand various activities that we do in our life. Once we understand that, it will help us in setting the measuring parameters and/or selecting the measurement scale. There is no second doubt in my mind that when we talk about “Growth”, it needs to be objective and not subjective. It should be measured.
As an individual, whatever you do, can easily be classified into two parts:
As a child or a teenager we do certain things which either help us in our profession (give directions to our professional life) or make our private life, more satisfactory.
1) Professional Life: Basic Education, Professional Education, Salaries (Wealth), Promotions (Role, Power to take Decisions, Span of Control etc), Training and Development (Workshops and Seminars), your popularity (and demand) and Professional Network.
2) Private Life: Relations with family (Parents, Siblings, Relatives) and friends, Marriage (Success, Happiness and longevity of your married life), House and other comforts, Health, Children (Birth, Growth, Grooming and Values of your children), Love, Care and SATISFACTION.
(Note: Care has been taken to include everything that an individual should have or like to have in this life. However, this list is inclusive and not exclusive.)
Let’s Analyze and Measure
Well, the “Professional Front” of your life can be measured by following factors:
1) Number of professional degrees that you have.
2) Institutes that you have studied in (To study in good institutes, you should not only be intelligent and knowledgeable but should also have enough money to take care of expenses of your studies).
3) In Case, you are a salaried employee then what is your salary and how much increments you get every year. In case, you have your own business, then your profits and wealth.
4) The Position and Designation that you hold. In short, it is your ability to take and influence decisions that matters.
5) Your demand and popularity in your profession and industry, is another criteria to measure “Professional Front” of your life.
All these factors are part of your “Personal Growth” and all are measurable.
Now, let’s calculate your “growth” in “Private Life”. It is not possible to be successful at “Professional Front” without “sacrificing” and making adjustments in your “Private Life”. However, what you have sacrificed and how you have set the balance in relations determines and measures your success in “Private Front”.
Following are the factors that can be measured and calculated:
1) Longevity and happiness of your married life
2) Amount you spent on your medicines
3) Value-system, education and success of your children (Believe it or not, but if your children are good citizens of your country; if they are doing well in academics; if they are successful in life…that reflects in your success).
4) It is not possible to keep everyone happy, one need to identify (in fact, choose) people that they want to keep happy and then go all out to ensure their happiness. Hence, your success is measured on the choices that you make your judgment and setting priorities.
Though, there can be a slight difference, but all these factors can be measured and evaluated. As I said earlier, to measure your growth, you need to have a base. Measuring growth, starts from past and ends with present. Your dreams and goals, starts from your present and ends, somewhere in your future.
Discussion Table – Brainstorming
I asked several people from different countries, age groups and of both genders as what do they actually understand by “Personal Growth” and how, they think that one should measure the personal growth. Due to space constraint, it is not possible for me to include all responses, but instead, I have taken a sample size.
According to Marc Aniballi (Managing Director, Crack Method, Canada), your criteria to measure your personal growth changes with time and entirely based on the phase of life, you are passing through.
A baby measures their growth in inches;
A youth measures their growth by their peers;
A young person measures their growth against their parents;
An adult measures their growth against the world around them;
A mature adult measures their growth against themselves;
An elder measures their growth against ideals;
Maria Sheila Riikonen (Business Intelligence Consultants, Finland), gave a philosophical touch to her answer and said that the path to personal and professional success is seldom smooth sailing, so it’s important to have a strong sense of self wherever the road leads you. I always like to recall my favorite mantra from American Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) :
“To laugh often and much,
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children,
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends,
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition,
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”
In the words of Mukund Toro (Director Engineering, Sasken, Bangalore, India), one cannot generalize parameters to measure personal growth and it all varies and differs from person to person and to an large extent, depends on the background of an individual. He said, “I find it difficult to answer your question. I think it depends upon the individual; Depends on his or her needs, aspirations, obligations and duties. I guess it depends upon what is central to your life. You could look at Steven Covey’s habit two (2) regarding what are the various centers of life. I have found myself struggling between various ways of defining success. Sometimes it is career, sometimes finances, sometimes doing something for others etc. To quote (not verbatim) Dr. E S Srinivas of XLRI, some questions may never have clear answers. What is important is to raise these questions.”
Dinky (Denise) Durso (Business Development, Manager, Alliant Credit Union, Greater Chicago Area), is also of the similar opinion and says that the criteria to measure personal growth, varies from individual to individual and is largely influced by the personal convictions, ideology and principles. He says, “While I can appreciate the basis for your question, I have difficulty aligning my beliefs and values within the confines of your question and answer terms. Growth and success does not have to be measured, even within the terms you put forward; years, total revenue or total wealth (income) during the year. Rather growth and success have more to do with immeasurable personal wealth – (ideals, convictions, ethics) and personal successes, such as independence, work/life balance, personal growth, and income (which is measurable from one year to another – but not true measure within ones experiences.)
I measure my growth with how engaged I am, how much support I receive from my manager/director, how successful I am within my business and personal relationships and goals, how much balance I have between my business and personal lives and how many relationships I have within all aspects of my life. I am sure I am missing something important within this answer; but the main point is ~ money or your bank accounts cannot measure your growth, satisfaction or success only your feelings, relationships and heart can measure your personal success.”
Jay Sison (General Manager, 1 & 1 Internet, Philippines) is of the opinion that in order to measure your “personal growth” one must clearly define his goals along with a time frame to achieve those goals. The views are expressed in the following manner, “The beauty of this question is that only the person alone can answer it and he/she can set the baseline and timeline. One just has to outline the desired goal that can be quantified objectively and subjectively. Once defined, then you can set out the timeline by which you want to accomplish and how aggressive one would like to accomplish. I would recommend short, medium and long term. So measurement is all up to the person’s standards. The keyword in your question is “personal”. “Growth” and “success” is relative to the person”.
In the words of Gary Sieling (Software Engineer at Thomson West, Rochester, New York Area), growth measurement differs from time-to-time and also based on the phases in life. A person is a complex entity and there are so many things (activities) that are involved in his life. One cannot measure those entire things with one measure scale. To measure everything, that is involved in an individual’s life, one need to use different scales. The thoughts are expressed as, “What I consider growth changes over time. Sometimes there are new things I want to learn or do, but sometimes you your perspectives totally change, e.g. after having a health crisis. You can set up metrics for those things – just not numeric measurements like you want. E.g. if you want to grow a relationship, you can say “I keep up with them at least once a quarter on average” or “I’d like to have a friend who I can talk to about personal issues.” Those are just goals, and as long as you are achieving goals you are growing. Be careful about using a single measurement- tracking your progress over time is generally informative, but if you use it as a decision-making tool, there are unintended consequences (e.g. sacrificing health or happiness for more income). Unhappiness and lack of freedom are indicators of needed growth”.
However, Bjorn Martinoff (Managing Consultant USA/Global at IL International human Capital Solutions, California), wants to make a clarification and says that there is a difference between growth and satisfaction of doing something. He continues, “Many people confuse/collapse growth with success or growth and the results of growth meaning income or reaching goals. Never, ever confuse these two as they are so different. I can reach goals without personal growth, i.e. I could win the lottery, however no growth is needed for this or I could run into an inheritance, not much luck needed there either. So Money can be excluded as a reliable measure of growth. Money however is often, not always, a result of growth. To me the measures of growth and success are the level of freedom and happiness I experience in my life”.
Everything that can be measured can also be managed. Based on what you want to measure, there are different scales of measurement. Your Bank Balance (Your Assets and Wealth), Time, Education Level, Future and success of your children, your position in the society and the way people perceive you (respect and admiration) that you have earned…these are some of the scales and criteria’s to measure your growth in “Personal” life.
If you want to “manage your life”; you should also know how to measure it.
Keep learning. Keep Growing. Keep smiling.
Do share your views.
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