March: Journey of Growth

Beliefs about human nature matters more than we realize

How do we get started on our journey of growth? A good place to start is to dig into an often-hidden point of view that drives your behavior more than you may realize - your beliefs about human nature.

As the author of this newsletter, you need to know where I come from in my own beliefs about human nature. These beliefs have changed quite significantly over the years shaped in large part by the science of human behavior together with the wisdom from the spiritual traditions and the voices of mystics across the generations. If I were to net my view of human nature down to five principles, they are:

  1. People are spiritual with a divine core that comes by many names: deeper you, wise advocate, true self, ipseity, Self, ground of being, wellspring of wellbeing, immortal diamond, higher power, life force, Spirit. Regardless of the name, we are only fully human in connection with our true self and the divine energy within us and all around us.
  2. People are social, motivated to bond and connect with one another. Way beyond what we realize, we shape and are shaped by the people around us for good and for bad. Research reveals that the number one contributor for a happy and fulfilled life is the quality of our relationships and positive connections with others. At the same time, it is our inability to stay true to ourselves that can cause our greatest suffering as we get caught up in social comparison, judgementalism, power and control, superiority, inferiority, superficiality, and social exclusions of all kinds.
  3. People are creative, motivated to create and learn. Humans can envision what has not yet been created and then turn this vision into reality. This amazing creative capability and energy is essential to a good life and leadership. While bad things will happen, gratefulness and a creative orientation opens the door to seeing possibility, opportunity, and pathways forward.
  4. People are driven, motivated to excel and achieve. The energy of goal pursuit moves people into action. People have a need to be autonomous and do purposeful work that benefits both themselves and others. In the spirit of the Greeks, people are driven to arete or excellence which takes human ingenuity, bravery, and determination. In this way, the pursuit of goals stretches us beyond our comfort zones and fuels our journey of growth into our full potential[1].
  5. People are all on a journey of growth motivated to realize one’s full potential. This journey will challenge us to face our own untested beliefs, biases, assumptions, and limiters. We all must deal with our egoic self and walls of protection that keep us from living and leading in a spirit of authenticity, freedom, and aliveness. We learn to see ourselves, with all our human foibles and shortcomings, with grace and a willingness to grow into a better version of ourselves. This is a life-long journey that never ends.

Question for You:

  • What do you believe about human nature?
Enjoy the journey of ME to WE growth!

Mary Beth McEuen

[1] Lawrence, Paul R. (2010). Driven to Lead: Good, Bad, and Misguided Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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