Day 4 of the boot-camp ended today. The session ended with the answer to the question “What is growth?”.

Hulk Transformation

Growing up we have been told on multiple occasions by parents, friends, teachers and other well wishers that we should do X because doing X will lead to growth. It can come in multiple forms

  • Do PCM in XIth grade, there is a lot of growth in that area
  • Do Computer Science you will start well, might grow slow though
  • If you are in any of the core-engineering fields you will grow much more than a typical CSE graduate. The sky is the limit.
  • Grow up! You aren’t a kid any more
  • Join a startup you’ll grow faster than those who join a big company

So what is growth? I’ll give you thirty seconds to define it. It’s funny that we spend so little time defining these things.

Minions Excited Countdown

What definitions did you come up with?

  • Growth is related to learning, if I know more than I knew yesterday that means I grew a little
  • Growth is related to finance, if I am earning more than I did a couple of months ago, I am growing
  • Growth is related to hierarchy, give me that damn promotion
  • Growth means achieving what the society considers desirable
  • Growth is the learning you get from experiences

Justin Bieber learns something

The coach gave us a brilliant definition of growth

Growth is making better decisions with decreasing amount of information

Rajnish rephrased what the coach said

Growth is making better decisions in the face of uncertainty

Peter making decisions

Peter could honestly use some bike shedding.

Rajnish also talks about what he calls the Circle of Uncertainty. The space between the Inner Circle and the Outer Circle is the Goldilocks Zone. His theory is, the more time we spend in the Goldilocks Zone, the more the outer circle expands. Which roughly translates us to handling uncertainties better and taking bigger risks. Outside the outer circle there is nothing but stress.

Circle of Uncertainty

Earlier in the day the coach was talking about how life is essentially a very big decision tree and how as humans we are predisposed to prune parts of the decision leaving only a single path. Most of this pruning he said is done based on our biases and unconscious choices, we don’t think of it much or pick a path that looks the easiest. Only to go down the path and hit a dead end.

Chuck Norris pruning a tree

This can be related to uncertainty. How many of us have that friend or relative who said something on these lines

  • I’ll join company X for a couple of years and start out on my own but never did?
  • My tech job is temporary, I’ll have a band soon but continued to work tech without even having a single gig.
  • My day job ends at 6. After that I am a full time author. I’ll have a best seller out soon but never wrote a single page.

A lot of us are guilty of being in the above camp. Our education system and upbringing expects us to be extraordinary while going down the most average path possible. Our actions don’t match our ambitions.

Maybe if we spend more time in the Circle of Uncertainty we can grow and eventually break the routine and do some of the above things.

Gary Vaynerchuck Do It

Please go ahead and put your definition of growth in the comments.