Growth versus development

We talk about flowers growing; but maybe we should talk about flowers developing, becoming themselves. It’s not size that matters. Photo by Han Chenxu on Unsplash


We talk about personal growth, but we also talk about financial growth. Countries have political objectives to grow, by which they mean sell more things to each other, faster than before. Our idea of personal growth can get infected by the same ideas – we mistake more for better, and start to think that the objective is more money, more resources, more status.

What is your idea of success? We talk about success as though its meaning is already understood. But, of course, it is not. It is assumed, collected together from a mixture of greed, history and personal preference. We try to succeed, only to find that we are just as unhappy as before, because, in the quest for growth and success, we forgot to develop ourselves.


Perhaps the word development asks better questions than the word growth. If something grows, it increases in size. But if something develops, it evolves creatively. Whether we are talking about a person or a company, development implies that we are applying some thought beyond simple growth. Instead of sales or profit, we are thinking about identity, values and relationships.

The people and companies of the future will have to manage on limited resources. There is simply not enough to go around. Wise people and companies will find a niche with a clear, rich identity, values consistent with the problems of the age, and kind and useful relationships with customers. Wise governments will encourage this kind of development.


In developing your self or business, where do you want to go next?

  • What kind of identity feels real to you? What feels false and forced, and in contrast what feels true and easy?
  • What kind of values feel relevant and important to you right now? What values feel pretend and imposed, and in contrast what feels authentic and consensual?
  • What relationships feel kind? What relationships feel demeaning and enslaving, and in contrast what feels respectful and appropriate?

To develop a country, we need to pay attention to what matters. We need to avoid disrespect, hypocrisy and bossy-ness, and encourage respect, consistency and consent.

To develop ourselves, we need to get aligned with what works for us in a very general sense. We need to move away from those activities that bring us into unwanted conflict, incongruence and power battles. We need to shift towards those activities that we can give our assent to, and flow with, with confidence.