You don't want to hear this. But I'll tell you anyway.

Here it is.

Either you keep growing or you start dying.

Think about it.

Growth can lead you to unknown territories of pain. It takes guts. It takes time. It takes ripping off your old habits.

But what doesn't grow – what doesn't move – is already dead.

Yes. Dead.

And I hear you. The word "growth" perhaps turns your stomach sick. We're all tired of the overused marketing lingo. But relax, when I say "growth", I'm not talking business here.


You grow as a human being each time you make a mistake. And learn from it.

Each time you try something new. A new book. A new coffee blend. A new person to smile at.

Each time you travel. Far enough to meet yourself.

Each time you suffer. Go to bed. Wake up. And breathe again.

Each time you're afraid of doing something. And you do it anyways.

Each time you pick up the phone when your hands are trembling.


If you decide to keep living for the sake of survival and material comfort, on the other hand – without taking risks, without embracing change – you accelerate the process of mental and physical dying. Period.

We all know that in order to stay healthy and live longer, we need to move our bodies, whether it is by going to the gym or taking a dog for a long walk every day. But in order to slow down the process of aging, we need to “move” our minds as well.

With new experiences, new challenges, or new self-insights.

To give you a specific example, scientific research shows that something as simple as learning a new skill for 3 months – from digital photography to quilting – improves cognitive functions in older adults (60-90).

Another study suggests that knowing more than 2 languages slows down cognitive aging, with a positive impact on general intelligence and memory, including the later onset of dementia.

So what makes people choose the easy and familiar over the difficult and new?

Facing obstacles, fighting our demons, pushing our barriers – all that helps us know ourselves better.

And that can sometimes bring along one ugly little fellow.

Guilt.

Guilt is an emotion that tells you, "You've done something wrong."

The more we know about ourselves, about the world around us, the more we judge our past actions, our ideas, even our desires – against that new knowledge.

That's why crawling under the blanket of what we already know is often a much safer bet.

But beware of the trap.

This blanket can slowly suffocate your spirit, poison your heart, and weaken your mind.

Life is energy and movement. If you want to be part of it, you need to move along.

Start by declaring war on guilt. And once you're at it, shame as well.

What's the difference here?

Guilt = I've done something wrong.
Shame = There's something wrong with me.

Both are bad but the latter is worse because you've let your actions define who you are.

Remember that there's no guilt. There's no shame. There're only mistakes.

Mistakes help us learn. They help us survive.

A little baby learns by making bazillion of small mistakes, endlessly refining each of their movements until, one day, they get up and start walking. They babble for months until one day they pronounce a syllable, and then a proper word. They splash food all over. Every. Single. Meal. Until one day, they're able to hold a spoon.

And this goes on and on, until your last breath.

No matter if you're 3, 35, or 89, the process of continuous learning, the continuous stream of mistakes, can't stop.

Not because you're not enough. But because that's how nature works.

So next time you feel a bit too comfortable in your way of living, in your old habits, in your circle of friends, or in your hometown, ask yourself, “Do I want to keep living?”

And if the answer is yes, get yourself into situations where you'll need to move not only your body but also your mind and spirit.

It may hurt for a while.

But you'll grow stronger, wiser, and braver.

And who knows, maybe you'll live to a hundred.

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