Personal development, progression, success and growth.

What do they mean? How do they affect us? How do we know if we’re developing, progressing and growing correctly in order to cultivate success? What is success? Is there a “correct” way to attain it?


Unfortunately, I can’t answer those questions because they are dependent on the person. Two people may share a common goal, but they will most likely approach it differently and may attain it at disparate speeds. People have diverse upbringings, stories, priorities and attitudes. What may be one person’s strength may be someone else’s weakness. What is someone’s middle may be another’s beginning. They are all components of the human condition. We are born, we live and we eventually pass away, but it is the living we’ve done that matters after we physically expire.

As a mere twentysomething, I obviously can’t say that I’ve lived through all of life’s winding roads, but I can vouch for wading through my fair share of both positive and negative waves - waves that have shifted my consciousness enough to help you shape yours on the journey towards self-actualization.

Locate your weaknesses. Strength cannot exist atop a weak foundation. Before you can work towards a goal, it’s imperative to build the vessel that will take you there - you. You were born with all the components necessary to create your personal masterpiece. One of my friends describes the human experience as being born with a suitcase. We’re brought into the world strapped with the ingredients vital to our survival. As we mature and experience life, it is up to us to add the items we deem necessary to our progression and subtract the components that weigh us down. Keeping track of your strengths and deficiencies is essential to personal development.

Own up to your mistakes and try not to make them twice…or ever again. Proper decision making has been the biggest hurdle in my own personal development. The path from my adolescence to adulthood was laid with senseless calls and whiplashing consequences. One would think that I would have stopped playing with fire after having been burned, but I often found myself walking blindly in the same dark spaces time and time again. Sure, humans make mistakes, but only fools commit them more than once and make excuses for the effects of their actions. Balancing your pros and cons when making a choice is crucial. Not only is your present dependent on it, but your decisions today will echo well into your future and could also very well affect the people in your circuit. If consciousness is not elected moving forward, you risk the prevention of advancement all together.


Look twice, then take a leap of faith. Clichè-Clichè: If you want to get somewhere, you’re going to have to break out of your comfort zone. Don’t worry, it will always be there when you need to step back in and marinate in your thoughts, but your first step needs to be outside of that box. Why look twice? Because calculated steps are effective ones. You might get lucky with a blind step in the right direction, but why aim with closed eyes? If the horizon isn’t as clear as you would like it to be, then sit and draw your plan of attack, then jump as far and as high as you can.

Balance, don’t compare. Because we are creatures motivated by thought, it is easy to get caught in our own sticky mental crevices. Self-reflection is undoubtedly important, but it shouldn’t necessarily be based solely on the things you want to change about yourself. Considering all the wonderful aspects of your personality, your life and your growth thus far is just as essential. Find balance in your journey so that you’re able to carry on farther, longer. Have a clear picture of your ideal future in mind, but remember: idealization, not comparison. You’re never any less of the person that’s in the place you want to be. Take pride in your unique quest for the best version of yourself.

Personal growth is a choice. While some prefer complacency, others wake up everyday and choose to push themselves past their limits. Can we define growth, progression and success universally? No, but we can enjoy the fruits of the labor we put into actualizing them.

This is an ode to progression.

I don’t think I’ve said this in a while, but for old time’s sake…do better to be better.

Art by Travis Bedel.

Melanie SantosComment