Growth: My Driving Force

IMGEverything happens for a reason. Well, nah, but sometimes it seems some things do.

I ran late to a work meeting this morning, which means I wasn’t present for the announcement of a room change. I quickly and directly walked into the original classroom, didn’t meet anyone’s eye as I sat down, and realized I was sitting around students instead of familiar staff members.

I didn’t want to make a second scene, so I stayed. It turns out, I needed to be there. The professor gave each student — and me — 16 slips of paper. We assigned 4 slips to 4 categories (people, possessions, valuable beliefs, and experiences), and devoted our most treasured items to each. I think it’s kind of neat that I could only think of 2 possessions and neither were materialistic.

Our next task: rip up 5 slips. Oh, uh, okay.

Next, rip up 4 more. This got me a tad emotional; thankfully a few slips overlapped between categories.

Rip up 3 more. Oh, God, I was tense. I was down to 2: 1) possessions: love letters, and 2) experiences: growth.

Choose one.


Choose one.

I can’t.

The professor said that whichever one we chose usually withstands the test of time. In fact, the last 3 usually withstand the test of time, he said.

I didn’t want to give up my love letters. These letters are incredibly important because they are flawless representations of good love (you don’t get those often). I also didn’t want to give up growth because it’s my prominent driving force.

In the end, I was willing to sacrifice all 4 important people, possessions, valuable beliefs, and 3 experiences… for growth.

I’m curious what your 16 slips of paper would say and how you will feel literally ripping up a handful of them at a time until you get down to 2… and then choose just 1.

2 thoughts on “Growth: My Driving Force

  1. Interesting experiment. Unfortunately, there is no correct answer or slip of paper to keep. You kept growth. That’s a good thing! However, your growth will lead to gaining back those other slips of paper. It’s a nice idea to break down one’s life to a certain thing, but life just doesn’t play along that way. One attains “things” through life regardless of what a professor may try to teach you. I’d love to see that professor come down to one slip of paper, much less solely focus on that! Life is isn’t a line you walk, it’s more like a balloon. While you walk through life there is a certain amount of incoming stimuli you can’t avoid. Within the walls of the balloon, that is. The longer you live, the larger the balloon.
    The best one can do is manage those pieces of paper. 16, 20, 50, it doesn’t matter. It’s management of those things that is the biggest challenge.

    1. Hello Mouse! I’m excited to further this discussion, so thank you for commenting. I think it is important to consider why we choose to invest in certain slips of paper or things. Although I agree we cannot escape things or collecting more things, perhaps these things are expressions of a deeper craving, like growth. I imagine most people who choose anything but a valuable belief don’t realize the underlying passion that drives the want for or value in a person, possession, or experience. A valuable belief and underlying passion are synonymous to me. Even if a person, possession, or experience inspires a valuable belief, that belief is what pushes us to enrich and expand our balloon.

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