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Last Updated on December 14, 2020

Understand the 2 Types of Growth Curves to Grow Faster

Understand the 2 Types of Growth Curves to Grow Faster

When someone last talked to you about logarithmic and exponential growth curves, you probably had flashbacks to that math class you took in high school. Whether those are good or bad memories for you doesn’t matter because we aren’t talking about mathematical calculations today.

Today, the growth curves we’re talking about have everything to do with your personal development and growth.

What Are the 2 Types of Growth Curves?

The two types of growth curves that are most common are logarithmic growth curves and exponential growth curves. Essentially, they are the opposite of each other.

I’ll start by explaining and exponential growth curve as that is the one people are typically more familiar with.

Exponential Growth Curves

An exponential growth curve is one where the slope of the curve gets greater and greater as you move along it.[1] The best way to imagine an exponential curve, if you don’t know what it looks like, is to think about an investment portfolio.

Over time your investments grow in value, and due to the compound interest, year after year you are making more money than you made the previous year. For example, say you invested $100 and got a 10% return. At the end of the year, you’d have $110. Now next year say you again got a 10% return, but now you have the $110 in the account. This would mean you gained $11 this year, $1 more than the previous year. Over time, this gap between years gets larger and larger, and the slope of the curve gets steeper and steeper!

Now let’s talk a little bit about the logarithmic growth curves.

Logarithmic Growth Curves

A logarithmic growth curve is essentially the opposite of an exponential growth curve. In a logarithmic growth curve, the curve of the line starts by going up very stteply, and then over time the slope of the line continually declines until it becomes essentially flat.

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Try to picture this like you were starting a 100m sprinting race. If you started from a standstill and then took off with the gunshot, your speed would rapidly increase for the first few seconds. However, as you approached the 30-50m mark, you would be running pretty fast, so it would be harder to run even faster, but you still could if you tried. Now by the time you get to the 80m mark, you’re probably running at just about max speed for you, and no matter how hard you ty, any increases in your speed from here will be minimal.

There are two examples of the types of curves that we’ll be talking about in terms of personal development and growth today.[2] Let’s shift our talk today over to how this information can help you moving forward!

How Understanding Growth Curves Benefits Your Development

They always say that knowledge is power. I believe that this is partly true. I much prefer to think of knowledge as potential power. You could have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don’t know how or fail to apply that knowledge, then what good is it to you?

So let’s explore how understanding each type of growth curve could benefit you as you travel through your personal development and growth journey.

Understanding Exponential Growth Curves

As we discussed, exponential growth curves are ones where the slope of the curve increases at an ever-steepening rate. We applied the example of an investment portfolio here.

However, this is very applicable to your growth journey as well.

Have you ever noticed that as you continually practice certain skills, you get better and better at performing them? Of course you have. That’s pretty common knowledge; as you practice something, you get better and better at it.

Some skills will undergo exponential growth or lead to exponential growth in certain areas of your life.

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The example that comes to mind is that of entrepreneurship. They say that making the first million in any business is always the hardest. Why is that? Because it takes time to develop and gain experience to make that first million. You have to learn the lessons and develop the skills that allow you to achieve this goal.

So what do you think happens when you go to make your second million after you’ve already made your first? Do you think that it will take less time or more time? It will take less time, right? You’ve already developed the skills and gained the experiences you need to achieve this goal.

Therefore, over time, your returns will get greater and greater as you work on these skills.

Why is this important?

This is important because it shows us that for skills with exponential growth, there is a significant learning curve at the outset, but over time, as we develop these skills, things get easier and easier and our returns get greater and greater!

Understanding this growth curve can remind us that things won’t always come easily to us, that you need to put in the work upfront to achieve these goals, but after you’ve put in that significant amount of upfront work, your efforts begin to pay you back in dividends long-term.

Understanding Logarithmic Growth Curves

Remember that logarithmic growth curves are essentially the opposite in appearance to exponential growth curves. The slope of the curve is very steep at the beginning, but the slope slowly declines over time until the line becomes essentially flat.

A real-life example of this could be seen in top-level athletes and the work they put into their sport and physical abilities or people who are studying for examinations as they try to learn and consume material.

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Let’s start with the student.

Any student will tell you that the difference between getting 50% on an exam and 70% is not that significant. That’s a jump of 20%. However, they’ll also tell you that the difference in effort required to get 90% versus 95% is often massive. That’s a jump of only 5% this time, but the effort to make that jump is much higher than the initial 20% jump completed earlier.

Athletes experience similar cases in regards to their physical performance. Let’s talk about sprinter again. When you first start training for sprinting, you’re probably pretty slow. However, as you practice and learn the proper form, you’re able to cut 5 seconds off your 200m sprint time in just a few weeks without too much effort. Then, as you keep practicing and perfecting your technique, you can shave off another few seconds as you become more masterful. However, once you reach elite levels of sprinting, the effort and dedication that it takes to shave off even just 1 second, or maybe even less, is truly immense!

So why is understanding this growth curve important?

What understanding this curve can teach us is that to reach truly elite levels of performance of certain skills, we are going to have to work hard. Yes, you are going to see lots of improvement at the outset, but over time as you progress, it’s going to become harder and harder to reach that next level.

You need to ask yourself if are you willing to put in the work to reach those levels on your development journey. Are you willing to work harder than everybody else? Are you willing to work like the top 1% to be the top 1%?

Putting It All Together

Now that you understand the different growth curves and how they can be applied to your life, let’s talk about the critical pieces of information to take away from this article.

The important thing to understand in regards to growth curves for personal development is to identify which curve is likely going to apply to the skill you’re developing so you can prepare yourself mentally for the challenges that you’re inevitably going to have to face.

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For example, let’s take exponential skills as our first example. We know that the growth we see in these skills early on is minimal. It’s later in the process that you see the fruits of your labors. Therefore, you should prepare yourself mentally for the early frustrations you’re likely to experience.

Understand that even though you aren’t seeing much progress upfront, the effort you’re putting in now is towards a much larger goal and return later.

Now let’s look at logarithmic skills. These are the opposite. Here the growth is fast initially, but over time the returns of your efforts dwindle as you approach elite levels. Now the challenge is flipped. Now you have to do your best to not let your ego get too big as your growth skyrockets initially, and you also have to prevent yourself from getting discouraged later in the process when growth becomes increasingly more difficult.

Apply these lessons to your life. Mentally prepare yourself for the challenges that lay ahead of you. If you can master the mind on your course to personal development, you’ve already overcome one of the massive hurdles that more people succumb to!

Final Thoughts

The two most common types of growth curves, exponential and logarithmic, can easily be applied to many areas of your life and the skills you are interested in investing time and energy into.

Try applying the lessons here to help you overcome the obstacles in your way. However, make sure you remember that all this knowledge means nothing if you aren’t willing to apply it.

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Featured photo credit: Alissa De Leva via unsplash.com

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Mark Lynch

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development

12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development

Learning is an essential part of life. The more you learn, the more you need to learn. As Harry Truman put it,[1]

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Your attitude toward personal growth and self-development through continuous learning is an important factor in how you succeed in life. In this article, I have highlighted some learning goals to help you become a better version of yourself and be more successful.

How Independent Learning Leads to Growth and Development

When you are dedicated to lifelong learning, you will experience development in key areas of growth. This includes intellectual, professional, social, and physical growth.[2] You can pick these areas of growth one by one and learn something to improve yourself. When you have achieved your goal in one area, you can then consider another area that also needs improvement.

There are different ways to learn, and these include reading, listening, webinars, online courses, mentoring and any other means by which knowledge can be passed and absorbed. You can also learn by observing people: friends, colleagues, bosses, or any other person whose lifestyle you admire.

Examples of Personal Learning Goals

We learn not just for the sake of learning but to gain knowledge and improve certain areas of our lives. Highlighted below are areas where you can set personal learning goals. There is a sample learning goal statement for each of the items on the list. You can adopt these goals or adjust them as they apply to you.

1. Develop Communication Skills

Your ability to communicate effectively plays a crucial role in your pursuit of success. This applies to both verbal and non-verbal communication to colleagues, clients, customers, friends, and families. While everyone cannot be an orator or great writer, we can all be great communicators by learning.

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In whichever industry you are in, having a goal towards improving your communication skills would be of great advantage.

Enroll in online courses to learn topics in communications, such as speaking to an audience, communication strategies for sales and marketing, effective corporate communication, virtual communication, etc.

2. Negotiation Skills

Whether it is about contract terms, business deals, salary, or prices of commodities, negotiation skills are essential to have at hand. They can save you tremendous time and money and can also give you leverage in your dealings with people. You might not be able to always get everything you want, but negotiation skills can help you get more of it.

Take an online course or read three bestsellers on strategies and skills for negotiating effectively.

3. Ethics and Social Responsibility

Sometimes we know what is expected of us, but at other times, we are not so sure. We often come across situations where we get confused about what we are supposed to do.

Knowing what to do and being able to meet up with expectations can boost your positive image and earn you a favorable reputation at work or in the community. It can also open a door to leadership or make you more effective in your leadership capacity.

Continue to learn about ethics and social responsibility by reading wide on the subject. In addition, read all available information within an organization regarding its ethics and core values. Read also the ethics of the particular industry.

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4. Teamwork and Flexibility

Some people find it easy to blend into a team, while others are more of the solo type. If you belong to the second category, you need to be intentional about being flexible and working in a team to achieve a common goal.

Learn to be open-minded, volunteer to help out, and ask for help from colleagues. Also, offer suggestions on solutions to fix a common problem.

5. Reasoning and Making Good Judgment

The ability to make sound decisions depends on how you can deploy your reasoning skills. Unfortunately, this is not something everyone can pull off easily, especially when it comes to making tough decisions.

A Harvard Business Review article outlined the following useful tips for making good judgments[3]:

  • Listening attentively or reading critically to turn knowledge into understanding.
  • Picking up what is not said and interpreting body language.
  • Cultivating sources of trusted advice: people who are bold enough to tell what you need to know and not what you want to hear.
  • Understanding, clarifying, and accepting different viewpoints.

Improve the capacity to listen and read information and intentions carefully to gain proper understanding and assess different viewpoints before making a decision.

6. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are described as the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problem.[4] It is being able to think about a problem and proffer an immediate solution or come up with ideas that can lead to a solution. The competitive world of work requires a great deal of critical thinking, and being able to fix problems is a great advantage.

Learn how to analyze and synthesize information and predict the future outcome of a decision. Use puzzles and games to develop logic and create mind maps to practice visualizing a problem and its solutions.

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7. Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is also a component of problem-solving skills. It is described as visual thinking that gives one the ability to solve problems quickly using a methodical step-by-step approach.[5] Analytical thinking helps to break a complex problem down into smaller, manageable components.

Improve analytical thinking capacity by practicing brain games, reading books, and using the analytical approach in solving problems.

8. Creative Thinking

Thinking about new ideas and ways of doing things rather than the old way is creative thinking. It can also be referred to as disruptive thinking — bringing new, fresh perspective into current realities. In this era of innovation, creative and disruptive thinking are essential to achieve success at work.

Improve creative abilities by tapping into inspiration from books, videos, documentaries, and other sources. Create time daily or weekly to brainstorm and create something new.

9. Improved Memory

A good memory prevents us from forgetting important dates, facts, and deadlines.[6] Memory also helps us to avoid committing the error of omission due to forgetfulness. Such an error can have serious consequences on our work and business.

Boost memory by learning to memorize and recall. Learn a foreign language or learn to play a musical instrument.

10. Staying Organized

Take control of your schedules, activities, and routines by getting organized. Getting organized will give you focus, increase your productivity, reduce stress, and help you manage your time better. Some have assumed that being organized has to do with personality types, but being organized is really not an issue of personality. Anyone can learn and develop this habit.

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Learn more about how to be organized. Create a daily to-do list. Learn to keep things in their proper place and declutter regularly.

11. Build Self Esteem and Confidence

One of the ways to build your self-esteem and confidence is through reading. Reading equips you with valuable information that makes you knowledgeable and vast. It also makes you more intelligent as you will gain a broader perspective on issues, and this makes you more articulate and confident when communicating with people.

You can also build your self-esteem by learning to make positive affirmations about yourself. Read self-help books and make daily positive affirmations.

12. Toughness and Resilience

Your ability to stand strong in the midst of storms depends on how tough and resilient you are. Whether you anticipate them or not, there will always be some tough times on your success journey.

Learning to be tough and resilient will ensure that you don’t buckle when under pressure. It also helps you to keep your mind sane when working through difficult situations. Read biographies or watch movies and documentaries featuring heroic acts. Participate in mental drills.

Final Thoughts

As much as it feels good to learn new things, consider perfecting an area of learning before moving on to something else. You might have a number of things to improve on (and you should), but you can’t take on everything at once. When you have chosen your learning goals, put a timeframe on each of them. You can also create a yearly calendar for your learning goals and pick them one after the other.

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Featured photo credit: Seven Shooter via unsplash.com

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