Optimal Rate of Personal Growth

Note to my future self…

I’ve recently written about internalizing change and in that post I mentioned how I have a hard time internalizing or processing more than one new habit change at a time. This suggest that there’s an optimal rate of personal growth.

James Clear (one of my favorite of author’s if you haven’t noticed) has explored this idea more in-depth and has even made a pretty graph to illustrate someone’s optimal rate of personal growth:


Our optimal rate of personal growth is probably any point along the curve that falls within the green zone. Clear argues that:

“In order for change to last, we must work with the fundamental forces in our lives, not against them. Nearly everything that makes up your daily life has an equilibrium—a natural set point, a normal pace, a typical rhythm. If we reach too far beyond this equilibrium, we will find ourselves being yanked back to the baseline.”

In other words, “the best way to achieve a new level of equilibrium is not with radical change, but through small wins each day.”

Thus, it’s normal to face resistance whenever you try to change something. This is your mind and body’s mechanism for pulling you back into equilibrium.

“Resistance is proportionate to the size and speed of the change, not to whether the change is a favorable or unfavorable one.” – George Leonard

Wait but you also say we should remove friction from our life. Should we embrace or remove friction?*

I think it’s important to understand that friction always occurs in the context of a particular behavior. Therefore, if their is friction preventing you from having a positive behavior, then you should remove that friction and vice-versa for negative behavior.


The key takeaway for is simple. We all have an optimal rate of personal growth and our objective should be to figure out our boundaries and live one step outside of that boundary(:

Now back to work…

*I assume friction and resistance are interchangeable terms