Commandment 5: Never stop learning and growing

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete
person you were intended to be.” – Oprah Winfrey

Growth is why we are here. Growth is survival.

Think about it: The universe started as nothing and grew to be everything. Gravity caused raw materials to come together, until stars and planets grew from nothing but dust. Elements combined to grow into life, and life has grown into incredibly complex species. Evolution is growth: life itself becoming stronger, better, faster, and smarter. All of it is so that each species is more able to survive and be alive. Growth is why we are human.

As far as humanity is aware, we are at the top of this growth. We are far more intelligent than any other species, and we continue to grow and evolve both as individuals and as a species in one giant attempt to ensure our survival.

Interestingly enough, happiness is also tied to growing as a person. This concept is similar to sex in that to ensure procreation and the continuation of humanity, it feels good to have sex and get off. If it felt bad, we would have died off long ago.

We have emotions tied to these desires that are based around life’s ultimate goal of survival. So it is no surprise really that it feels great to succeed and continue to succeed as a person because evolving and procreating are the two matters of highest importance for survival as a species. The happiest people are those who continue to explore life and make every day better than the last, along with those who get laid a lot :)

We’ve already established that you are only responsible for yourself in a relationship as you cannot change your partner. So if you are looking for bliss in your relationship, then you have to be the best you can be. Therefore, it is so important to never settle as a person not just for your own happiness, but also because the only thing you can bring into a relationship for the other person is you. If you bring a crappy version of yourself, stuck in the same spot in life for years, then you aren’t going to have the best relationship you can have.

Continued growth has to take place in all areas of your life

When you stop going forward, both you and everything in your life come to a halt. If you stop progressing at your job, you get stuck in the same position and never get promoted. Personal goals are also important: even if it is just achieving beating a video game, you will have happiness and a sense of self-satisfaction.

I think it is plain to see that when people give up in life or stop trying to be better, they fall into a rut and simply aren’t happy. Imagine being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t have an upbeat spirit and desire to achieve: it would be pretty miserable, wouldn’t it? So why would you expect someone else to adore being with you if you put yourself in that position?

Don’t forget to grow as a couple

Yes, you have to work on growing and achieving in all areas of your life, but if you are in a relationship, then that is certainly an area of your life. And this one requires the other person being willing to continue to grow with you. While Laura and I do things alone to grow (she has delved into becoming a better artist, while I am slowly working on my programming skills), we certainly do things together as well. The top examples that come to mind are 1. learning to cook well, 2. working on our health and fitness together, and 3. developing a number of small websites. Our relationship blog is only one of a handful of sites we run.

What happens if the other person refuses to change? A few things. The differences between the two will become exaggerated. The more one person is doing while the other stays behind, the harder it will be for both to connect with one another. That distance can turn into resentment; the one who continues to achieve and grow as a person will often be frustrated by the other person.

Now, I’m not saying it can’t work in a relationship if one or both people don’t continue to excel and achieve. What I am saying is that your relationship won’t be wonderful where both partners are consistently happy with their lives and each other.

Types of growth

It really doesn’t matter what you are achieving or going after, so long as there is something. Perhaps you just want to explore new food and get a wider palate. That’s fine! Better yet, do it as a couple! Your food knowledge will grow, and the number of fun experiences and dates will grow as well. It need not be something intellectually stimulating, but that certainly doesn’t exclude those activities. Getting better at playing chess, learning a musical instrument, or simply studying the history of an ancient civilization will continually make you a more well-rounded and happy person.

One recommendation I would strongly suggest is learning about love and making your relationship amazing, which you are doing just by reading this post and, hopefully, the rest of our blog. A strong relationship over a long period of time will be the most important aspect of your life you invest in. If you are really serious about being in a committed relationship for a long period of time, and are either searching for that person or you’re already with them, then what better use of your time than learning how to have that relationship be the best it can be? In most typical cases, strong relationships last longer than jobs, friendships, and most other things in your life.

Still, the important point to get here is simply for both people in any relationship to be doing something with their lives individually as well as both working together within their relationship. In either case, neglecting yourself and/or your relationship and not moving forward really means you are just moving backwards, especially if the other person forges ahead.

Wrapping it all up

This is really a pretty simple concept to understand. We’re put here to grow and evolve. Nature forces it on us as we age. Most of us mature and learn more as time progresses. Whether we like it or not, the key to a happy life is embracing change and growing, and that is also a major component of being in a happy relationship.

Sometimes though, we need reminding when we get too comfortable and life gets too easily. Always pay attention and have that urge to keep developing yourself. As Steve Jobs quoted from the Whole Earth Catalog’s farewell message in his Stanford commencement speech, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”

We’d love to hear what you think about this. Please leave a comment if you liked what you read or have something interesting to add!

Categories: In A Relationship, Relationship Concepts
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