Go far or grow far

Once having traversed the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials.*
(Joseph Campbell)

[O]penness as in vulnerability […] is not a matter of exposing one’s unchanging identity, the true self that has always been, but a way of exposing one’s ceaseless growth, the dynamic self that has yet to be. The infinite player does not expect only to be amused by surprise, but to be transformed by it, for surprise does not alter some abstract past, but one’s own personal past.**
(James Carse)

We’ve likely all heard it said of someone whose potential has been spotted that they’ll “go far.” I have never it said of someone the they will “grow far.”

Ben Hardy writes about the importance of knowing yourself in your context if we are to become the people we can be:

If you’re mindless, then you don’t notice nuance,^

and he will go on to make the point:

you are not the cause of your success. You are the product of your changing environment.^

How valuable, then, to see what Sy Montgomery sees:

Our world, and the worlds around it and within it, is aflame with shades of brilliance we cannot fathom – and is far more vibrant, far more holy, than we could ever imagine.^^

To grow farther, we require something to break us out of our ego-worlds – our false or lesser selves. These worlds are far more likely to be fixed without nuance – we know what we see, we know what we know, we know who we are and we know what we can do:

You are so fixated on what you see that you can’t see past it.^

Our true Self, however, is full of growing-possibility, providing us with the possibility of transcendence.

That this growing-possibility is missed by so many is captured in Richard Sennett’s closing remarks in The Craftsman:

I’ve kept for the end of this book its most controversial proposal: that nearly everyone can become a good craftsman. The proposal is controversial because modern society sorts people along a strict gradient of ability. The better you are at something, the fewer of you there are.*^

Keep growing, because you can.

(*From Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey.)
(**From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(^From Ben Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)
(^^Sy Montgomery, quoted in Maria Popova’s Bran Pickings: How to be a Good Creature.)
(*^From Richard Sennet’s The Craftsman.)

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