The 5 Phases of Personal Growth

My journey started when I was 16, I was watching TV one day, and they were talking about experimenting with lucid dreaming.

It fascinated me, so I started learning all about it. I did have some initial success with it, but after a while my interest waned.

Lucid dreaming led me to meditation and one thing led to another. It was all a path to where I am now. I’m happy I bumped into lucid dreaming, because without it, I don’t know who I would be.

If there’s something I’ve learned during the few years I’ve been alive, it’s that we all go through our life in different ways.

You can never force anything on anyone. You can only accept them as they are. We all have different purposes and passions in life, so it is only natural that we go about living our life differently from everyone else.

This is why it is so important that you listen to yourself and find your own game. Whenever I’ve tried to copy someone else, the result has been failure and unhappiness.

With all that said, I’ve identified a few phases that I’ve gone through in my own life that are particularly interesting, check them out:

Phase #1 – Denial

Denial is the time when you want to think that everything is fine, but you secretly wonder why everyone and everything seems to be working against you.

It’s the time when you feel like shit, but feel hopeless to do anything about it, so you keep living the life you think you deserve.

You see everyone around you struggling and working in soul killing jobs, so why should you have anything better? After all, only the luckiest of people get to do what they want and love life, right?

Denial is that guy at work who blames everything and everyone for making his life miserable. He’s that guy who doesn’t have the guts to face his problems and deal with them.

I used to be that guy. I never worked at a job, but I used to whine and blame plenty. I tried being miserable and negative in as many ways as I could, but it didn’t get me anywhere, so I figured I had to do something else.

Phase #2 – Acceptance

This is starting to sound like one of those rehabilitation programs, but I guess they work for a reason.

Once I realized I was giving my power away by blaming, whining and making excuses, I had to accept it all.

This phase is really about realization and acceptance together. You realize what you’ve been doing and then accept it.

It has always been easy for me to get caught in a thought loop where you go round and round with scenarios of how everything could have been better if you changed this one thing about your past.

Let that stuff go and start focusing on what you can do now to improve your life. Realization and acceptance has happened gradually for me.

For example, moving to Spain made me realize how afraid I am of losing control. When you move, it can easily feel like everything is in the air, and you have no clue how the landing is going to be.

Instead of dwelling on this or giving into my pattern of wanting control, I accepted it, meditated and released it, as best I could.

This helped me turn a seemingly negative event to a positive one. This is one of the reasons why traveling is so beneficial. It completely disrupts your old patterns and rewires your brain, if you let it. It’s a growth experience.

Phase #3 – Gathering

The gathering phase can be mindbogglingly fun. I have tons of books. They are the result of one of my gathering phases.

I devoured everything that was even mildly interesting and relevant to improving my life, making money and whatever else I found interesting.

When I started playing poker I probably read close to 40 books on the subject, which is a bit obsessive, I know, but that’s how I worked at the time.

There does come a point in time where you’ve gathered all the information you need. At this point you really should start taking action and figuring out what works for you.

As I’ve refined this process, I have realized that taking action as soon as you know the first step is a lot more efficient than reading all that material.

Phase #4 – Experimentation

Phase 4 is when you begin to take everything you’ve learned and incorporate it into your life. An example from my life is that I’ve been to an NLP Practitioner Seminar with Richard Bandler, I’ve learned and experimented with EFT and the Sedona Method.

I now use all of them together in my own way. The first time I bumped into EFT was when I was around 16 years old, so it has taken a few years since I’ve found what really works for me, and I have a feeling that I’m nowhere close to done. We never are.

If you allow it, then you will notice that you constantly have new realizations and ideas on how you can improve your life and use tools that work for you.

The important part for me has always been to follow my own feelings. Whenever I follow my mind and not my heart, I usually run into a lot of obstacles.

Our hearts are sneaky bastards. They know what’s going on, while our minds do not. I’ve learned this the hard way.

Update: I now work in a different way. I discovered this new way by doing what I could with what I had. That is enough for anyone.

Phase #5 – Creation

It helps to look at these phases not as a sequence of chronological events, but as areas that you pop in and out of constantly.

I feel like I’ve reached the last few phases more and more as I’ve started to uncover my passion and purpose, which led me to start the Wake Up Cloud.

Creating your own, personal stuff is an amazing, liberating and uplifting experience that I want to help you experience. That is one of the reasons why I keep writing every single week.

We all have something within us that we truly want to express and share with the world. It’s easy to give in to the fear that people don’t really care what you have to say, but to be honest, that’s bullshit.

You have something to share. Even if you don’t know what it is, it’s there, trust me on that one. Enjoy the process and most of all, be grateful for what you have.

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  1. This was a wonderfully written piece Henri and very motivational.

  2. Henri,

    I’ve been through each of these phases myself. The first two are really kind of lousy. When you get to gathering and experimentation that’s where things become really interesting. Part of the challenge is that we don’t stay consistent with anything in those phases. After reading THink and Grow Rich (ironically, just recently) I’ve been religious about applying the principles in it. Creation becomes a byproduct of consistent personal development efforts. Excellent ideas in this post.

    • Right on, dude! It’s funny how we all go through basically the same stuff. It isn’t until we share our experiences that we start to realize that we aren’t that different after all.

  3. Archan Mehta says:


    You have the Midas touch: this is yet another interesting post. I can relate to what you have contributed, and Srini’s comment also makes a lot of sense, as usual.

    I have been through the roller-coaster rides just like everybody else. I had a really lousy first innings, which ended up in loss of health. I had no peace of mind at all. I was stressed out, unhappy, and suffered from anxiety. I could not sleep at night.

    It was meditation which has saved my life, but I wonder why we are not taught about this wonderful discipline during our early schooling days. That’s why one of my favorite writers, Mark Twain, an American iconoclast wrote: “I never let schooling interfere with my education.” How exasperated Twain must have been to have made such a remark–I can only imagine. So much of our formal education is wrong-headed and reactionary, that we fail to learn the essential lessons: life skills and being a well-rounded person, who is able to cope with change and challenges.

    I don’t know about you, but I have for long believed in a more enlightened system of education which humanizes us. And it can even be informal education, not necessarily about earning degrees and credentials. Sort of what Mahatma Gandhi attempted with Tolstoy Farm. Or what Rabindranath Tagore attempted in Shantiniketan Ashram near Calcutta, India. There are many other examples, but we are still stuck in the dark ages, it seems. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we have a long way to go. Education should be about the harmony of mind, body and spirit, not about destructive competition and stepping on toes to get ahead.

    • Archan! You write the most awesome comments. Why don’t you have your own blog? Or maybe your own website where you only write comments, not blog posts. A revolutionary idea? Perhaps.

      Sometimes we have to go deep into the darkness to find the light. Like a rubber band, the further into the darkness you go, the longer into the light you’ll fly once you let go.

  4. Fantastic post Henri. It’s great to learn more about you and your journey and also think about my own. I spent a lot of time in the last ten years travelling, trying different jobs and also personal development avenues. I feel like it’s time for me to help others now and start to put what I have learnt into practice, so it’s nice to identify my experience with your phases too.

    • Traveling can really change your perspective, I know it did for me. From the chats we’ve had, you definitely seem ready to use your superhero powers to change the world!

  5. Hi Henri, these were wonderful personal growth phases that you went through. I am kind of like you in that when I started out, I was always the person who had a sort of practical but cynical outlook on everything. Topics like the Law of Attraction did not appeal to me at all. I think one has to really go through the experience of personal growth before they can strongly judge what ideas are right or wrong for them. I’m glad you concluded this article with writing, because people do care what you say. Writing is another (in my opinion one of the best) ways to discover our growth and share these experiences with other people in the world.

    • Yeah, practical and cynical can feel good, but it really didn’t get me anywhere. Writing has always been something that I’ve been drawn to.

      I remember writing short stories when I was 6-7 years old, so it started at a fairly young age. For some people it may be audio, video, who knows, find your thing!

  6. Good stuff here. I like to be grateful for what I have because then I believe I will have more to be grateful for.

  7. Ideally, these phases should be separated. In real life though they tend to overlap or even mix with each other. For example, while I’m writing (creating) articles and coming up with new ideas for my new site, I’m still gathering information about either the site theme (numerology) and about making money online.

    • They definitely do blend together and mix. There is no black and white in the universe as they say, and I completely agree with that. Thanks for commenting, Sorina!

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