Unless You Grow, Becoming Successful Won’t Help You

4 life lessons about growth and success.

Photo by Martin Balle on Unsplash

One of the best ways to understand success in life is to compare it with an iceberg. Just as iceberg forms on land and float in an ocean or lake, so also is success. The part that lies above the sea surface is success while the one below is growth.

It’s easy to become successful — it can be very easy sometimes. Winning a million dollars lottery ticket is a success; stumbling upon briefcase filled with thousands of dollars in a dilapidated building is a success. We can describe them as an overnight success. And one of the major problems with them is that, just as they came, they disappear overnight.

That brings us to the first lesson:


Lesson #1. The success that comes without growth can’t be sustained.

Yes, you may have luck shine on you and have a huge lucky break. But it won’t be long before you lose it if you’ve not developed yourself to manage that level of success or achievement. Because it takes consistency to sustain any level of success.

Success like any achievement in life requires active investment both in effort and time to sustain it. But without growth, it is impossible to offer the requisite consistency to sustain success.

To be consistent, you have to become the person it takes to achieve that level of success. And that’s where growth comes in:

Growth builds your capacity to manage and sustain your achievements.

But what happens when success doesn’t meet with growth? That brings us to the second lesson:


Lesson #2. At the foundation of every sustainable success is growth.

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Success without growth is like a building on a faulty foundation. Guess what? It will collapse.

It may be safe for a while. But not forever. So don’t assume it will last long; because it won’t. The house built on a faulty foundation no matter how beautiful it looks will soon become a ruin.

You shouldn’t even be optimistic about it. You know why? No amount of optimism will help if you break a law of life. Optimism only changes you, it doesn’t change the situation nor prevails over the outcomes of natural laws.

But if you are still tempted to assume the positive even after you break a natural law, always remember Murphy’s Law:

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

So ensure to build your success on a solid foundation of growth. That’s the only way to guarantee maximum security.


Lesson #3. Growth without success is lighter than vanity.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The value of success is in growth.

No success can be worth more than the growth that supports it. For as the root and stalk support and sustain the growth and beauty of a flower, so is growth to success. And just as the strength of an iceberg lies in the portion hidden from sight, so is the strength of success on growth.

The glory of success is the level of growth that supports it. If you remove the growth from success, it loses whatever makes it valuable.

Therefore, focus on developing capacity before looking for success. Because the substance of success is in growth and not the other way around.


Lesson #4. Without growth, it’s close to Impossible to replicate success.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Because the prime mover and initiator of success is growth, growth is the engine behind success and achievement. In other words, growth is the cause while success is the effect.

You can only be sure of success if you control what drives it: growth.

The reason nothing succeeds like success is not because of the success as an effect but the engine behind it. As long the initiator of the first is still active, it can birth another success and another and another with ease.

A good example is producing content: writers who have risen to the top, like Shannon Ashley, Anthony Moore, Sean Kernan, don’t have a hard time continuously producing content that is valuable to readers compared to some of us.

And not only that, success in one area can be transferred to other areas with resultant success. Several successful writers here on Medium also run YouTube channels and are thriving. A good example is Tom Kuegler and Ayodeji Awosika. Because they’ve risen to success here, they are thriving as vloggers on YouTube.

So I encourage you to make 2020 a year of growth. Focus on growth:

  • Get serious about how many pages or chapters you will read every day.
  • Read at least one article on Medium every day. Watch how the great do it and learn from them.
  • Watch and listen to Ted talks if you can’t be there live. Watch how the speakers present the talk that makes them worth sharing. Practice them in your private time.

Work hard on yourself and you will grow. And as you grow, the success you deserve will come to you in common hours. And they will last because you’ve got what it takes to manage and sustain them.

Nothing sustains success like personal growth and development.

Till our paths meet again, make 2020 a year to focus on growth, not success. For when you grow, the success you deserve will come.

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