Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The Mental Growth Spurt

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From Jeremy: This is a guest post by Joseph Lalonde. He is a youth leader and leadership blogger at Joseph shares leadership tools and encourages you to become a better leader. Connect with him on Twitter or at his blog.

Do you remember growing up and hitting growth spurts? You know, those days you’d wake up and it seems like you’ve grown 5 inches overnight?

There’d be adverse affects. Suddenly your shoes would be too small. Your pants looked like you’d be ready for a flood. The times weren’t fun.

photo by Steve Lyon (creative commons)

I think we undergo growth spurts as adults too. Just not in our physical bodies.

The growth spurts we experience are mental growth spurts. And these mental growth spurts can be just as awkward and frustrating as the physical growth spurts we experienced growing up.

The Mental Growth Spurt

This happens when we begin to expand our knowledge and take in information rapidly. Sometimes too rapidly.

We consume the information. Books. Audio programs. Conferences. All jam-packed with great information.

We’re told how to improve our marriages. How to be more productive. Ways to improve our friendships.

The only problem is we don’t have the time to implement the strategies. Eventually they fall by the wayside and are a casualty of a lack of focus.

The Solution

I’ve come to the conclusion we must do something about the lack of implementation during our mental growth spurts. Luckily there’s something we can do to help us retain the information we gather.

The solution is a simple one that tends to go against the grain of many self-development and self-improvement gurus. They’ll tell you to keep consuming information. Read more books. Take more courses. Get more knowledge.

Let’s try something different. How about we go against the grain?

Instead of filling our minds with more knowledge, let’s develop a plan to implement the knowledge we just consumed before moving onto the next book or seminar?

My solution: When you come upon a piece of information you feel could change your life, focus on it.

  1. Put the book down.
  2. Write your thoughts on how you could implement this idea into your life.
  3. Take steps to act on the new information.
  4. Begin implementing it into your life.

Don’t move onto the next book or even the next chapter. Begin acting on the idea right away.

If you don’t, your great insight will most likely slip away.

Sure, you might not read 100 books this year. Or attend 52 conferences.

But something great will begin to happen. You’ll begin to see actual change happen in your life.

The ideas and concepts you’re reading and hearing about will begin to take root in your mind. You’ll find yourself actually doing what’s required of you to move forward. You’ll finally see the progress you’ve longed for.

Question: How can you begin implementing the concepts you’re learning about?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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24 Replies

  1. I really like the idea of writing down ideas that will help you grow and change. I keep those ideas in a notebook. I try to dedicate a bit of time everyday at work to reviewing some nugget that I think will help me be a better leader in my job.

  2. I think reviewing is important. I learn through repetition.

  3. Writing down the ideas you’re learning is a great way to reinforce what you’re learning. The actual act of writing creates a new connection that just reading and hearing doesn’t do.

  4. I’ve been guilty this …wanting so much to “finish” something that I speed right pass the lesson. It’s rather counterproductive. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and implement.

  5. Great article! I talk about ‘Mental Growth Spurts’ with my young athletes all of the time and how that parallels with their physical growth spurts. We focus on teach ‘self-awareness’ followed by ‘self-reflection’ as an initial process of being better. There is definitely power in the pen as they say!

  6. Joe, thanks for the post. I come across information “that could change my life” every day. How do you personally choose what you want to focus on?

  7. I struggle with this a lot Joe…I go into ‘read everything I can on a topic’ mode. I buy (well, only when I have Christmas money) all these books on whatever I want to learn about and sit down and read. But, then…what do I do after I’ve read them? Back on the bookshelf they go…never to be thought of or read again. Not anymore…love the ideas you shared Joe.

  8. Joe – I’ve had to be more careful with the information I consume. I’m an admitted information-junkie. I had to slow down the process. Make it a point to write down lessons learned. And, a big one – I had to start eliminating non-value information. If you have focus areas you’ve targeted for growth, this may help you narrow down the reading list.

  9. Enjoyed this thought process of self-awareness and self-reflection.

  10. Glad to give you something to think about Eileen. It’s so easy to jump from one book to the other, isn’t it?

  11. That’s awesome Jeremy! How have you seen this affect their growth?

  12. Andy, I’m not the best at this either but I recognize the need to be focused on what we consume and begin implementing what we take in.

    This year I’m doing this by applying what I’m learning to the areas I want to see increased growth. At this point, the areas are relationships, leadership, and taking action. If they fall into one of those categories, I take note of it and begin working towards implementation. If they fall outside, I’ll take note and file it away for later.

    With a plan like this, there will always be more ideas than time to implement. I know this and it’s something I’m learning to be okay with. It’s better to implement one or two great ideas than to have 100 floating inside your head with no action.

  13. I’m happy to hear you’re going to make a change this year Tessa. It’s always sad when we put a book back on the shelf after we’ve read it, never to pick it up again. Think of how much the author poured into the book. His knowledge and wisdom. It’s like having a personal mentor in your hands!

  14. Your last sentence is the key DS. With focused areas and a plan, your reading list becomes a valued resource that’ll increase your skills and knowledge.

  15. This is great, Joe. Reflection is such an important part of learning, but in our frenetic culture, we sometimes forget to do it. Thanks for the reminder.

  16. TREMENDOUS!!! For all of my athletes (young and professional) everything is built around the process of effective decision making from a self-view and a world-view…so getting these young athletes as a first step in the process to be self-aware and then pause to reflect has been a great habit-builder for sure.

    But as you mentioned in your article as well, this is just a ‘stage’ of a mental growth spurt. It’s what you do after you have done the awareness/reflection that is just as important!

  17. Awesome thanks DS! Don’t forget part 3 though which is ‘what you then do with it’!

  18. What a helpful phrasing! I’m going through a mental growth spurt right now … and wow, it’s tiring. I remember going through a physical growth spurt that was tiring and hadn’t made the connection until right now. It’s a growth spurt around what it means to be loyal and what that means about me as a person who wants to be loyal. Good stuff! But tiring on a deep level!

  19. I am sure it is especially tiring when it comes time to be loyal.

  20. It’s unfortunate that we’ve become a people who no longer reflect. I think it’s caused quite a bit of trouble in this world of ours today. What do you think?

  21. Thanks for sharing your story about the mental growth spurt happening to you. Take time and ease into it. Reflect on what you’re learning and you’ll come out all the wiser!

  22. That’s a major reason I try to take a Sabbath. Because I’m one of those people. 🙂

  23. Harold

    Thanks for this timely reminder. I will chose to make this practical in my life.

  24. I think I stumbled across this reality by accident. In the last couple of years I found myself drawn to different topics, blogs, books, etc. It was starting to wear on me and fray my physical and mental energy. As a result I decided to start spending more time listening to the rhythm and themes God was placing in my heart and building on those. I still get distracted but I come back to those core areas of focus. If I begin to hear or see something repeated from different sources, that resonates with my heart, that’s when I start paying attention and acting. I appreciated the way you labeled some of the things I was feeling, I can so relate to the growth spurt!

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