Now that we are near the end of 2017, I realized that I have had a year full of personal growth in more ways than one. I have grown in terms of knowledge about the world around me, I have lived away from my family which forced me to make my own decisions more than ever, and I have learned much about the person I am.
I had an extremely refreshing conversation the other day which reignited my thoughts about personal growth. Growth ultimately signals the idea that you are changing to become a different, stronger version of whatever you want to be, and overall, I think our society's idea of growth can actually be extremely narrow-minded. As humans, we have a tendency to surround ourselves with like-minded people because not only is it easier, but it is such a good feeling to be surrounded by people who believe and feel the same things you do.
The main problem with this mindset is that there really no growth at all. By surrounding yourself with ideas and perspectives you are already familiar with, you are not actually able to challenge yourself and improve and grow in that sense.
We have a tendency to put ourselves in a bubble, a closed off environment that is far too comfortable, and honestly, it is hard to acknowledge the truth because it can be a hard pill to swallow. It is convenient to ignore things that are not present in your everyday life, but that does not mean it should be ignored.
In my opinion, the best way to combat our "blissful ignorance" is to surround ourselves with people who are different than we are. Talk to someone who has had a different type of childhood than you. Talk to someone who has lived or studied abroad. Talk to someone older/ younger than you. Talk to someone who has a different occupation than you. Etc.
And when you talk to them, please avoid that small talk. (..you know exactly what I am talking about.) I urge you to dig deeper, ask them about their life experiences and what wisdom they have to offer. When you open your mind and you challenge yourself to know more about the world and the people around you, I promise you that you will grow exponentially.
Exposing yourself to a new way of life may be just what you need in order to see change in your own perspectives. I am by no means saying that you will agree with every person you talk to, but you may be surprised at how your own point of view changes as you open your mind to ideas that are different than your own.