How to Grow in Life: 2 Things You Need

Michael May 12, 2022
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how to grow


Originally published July 2021.

What does growth actually look like?

In the picture below… you’ll notice 2 powerful universal patterns:

  1. Network Effect (the dotted spiderweb-looking thing)

  2. Exponential Growth (the slow general trend upwards toward an explosive breakthrough)

how to grow in life

I haven’t seen these two patterns put together like this… but I think they belong together

And it has everything to do with creating the results you want in life.

Let’s start with...

The Network Effect

A network is a bunch of nodes (the dots) connected to each other (the lines)... either directly or by association…

Networks are EVERYWHERE…

  • Your body is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that all communicate to nourish & protect each other

  • Get a bird’s eye view of a big city… and you see a network of buildings, roads, and highways… where cars — like blood cells traveling through arteries — make their way around

  • Your friends & family are a network

  • Some people are “super connectors” that seem to know everyone… while others operate on the outside with little contact (By the way, that’s why they call it “making a connection with someone”)

  • Computers make up a network. Each computer is a node and is usually connected by the internet

  • And take a look at the deep pictures of outer space… you’ll see the same thing… different solar systems connected by highways of galaxies

brain cell the universe

Mark Miller, Brandeis University (L); Virgo Consortium for Cosmological Supercomputer Simulations (R), via the New York Times.

So maybe you get the point:

You can see this same patterns emerge in complex systems.

As as you’ll notice, the nodes can be different each time…

Sometimes they’re computers… people… entire planets.

Weak nodes without connections are at risk of dying off…

Which is why in hunter/gatherer times — when falling behind or faced with abandonment — people would do ANYTHING they could to stay with the tribe…

And a strong network — with many thriving, well-connected nodes — is hard to kill off.

That’s why it’s hard to regulate the internet or blockchain

It’s why social media companies wield so much influence with their massive user bases

And it’s why it’s hard to “cancel” someone who has a powerful network of friends/supporters.

Technology Glow GIF by xponentialdesign

Even the brain itself — which you are using right now to read & interpret these very words — is physically structured like a network.

That’s why memorizing a list of random trivia for school tests is usually not how to learn

If you were only designed to remember facts or lists of rules (like a computer does)…

Then maybe your brain would look more like a grocery list… or some biblical stone tablets…

But it doesn’t.

The brain is a creative machine that unleashes its full potential when it’s making new connections between ideas (nodes)… ideas that might, at first, seem totally unrelated.

And the driving force behind making those connections is curiosity.

You can’t control what you are curious about…

So in a way, curiosity is your subconscious sending you secret messages about how to create a thriving network between your ears.

But networks are something that grow outwardly in all directions… So it’s also important to add a little focus & direction into the mix.

That’s where exponential growth comes in.

Exponential Growth

If you look up the stock chart of any WILDLY successful company...

You'll always see a pattern of exponential growth.

For a while, it seems like nothing is happening...

Then... almost out of nowhere... BOOM.

Growth shoots upward exponentially (forming a pattern that looks like a "hockey stick").

amazon exponential growth

Yahoo Finance.

Amazon’s stock price didn’t break over $99 for 12 years…

In 2020, it got up to nearly $4,000.

But this is not just about the growth of companies…

It’s about all growth.

As I realized from the book "The Slight Edge" (recommended by an entrepreneur friend of mine) and from Sam Ovens’ YouTube Channel…

It’s like an invisible law of the universe.

It applies to personal growth… professional growth… physical growth… etc.

And nearly everything that grows takes time and care… as well as faith because the growth is nearly invisible for most of the time.

Harkening to the mustard seed story from the Bible...

Before a seed can sprout into a huge tree… it spends its time growing roots, feeding off water, sunlight, & soil in the environment…

Similarly, a child won’t realize his/her full adult potential for decades… and until they do, they need love, care, and support from people around them…

And it’s estimated that the worldwide human population was only 2.4 million people in 10,000 BC… Today there’s nearly 8 BILLION people… with most of that growth coming from the last 200 years…

All as a result of humans creating a strong worldwide network of cooperation & technology.

So, if you draw these examples of growth on a chart… you’ll just see one simple line.

But that’s where exponential growth & network effect can tell the entire story together…

Because if you “look under the hood” of growth or success…

You’ll see that it was the result of ever-strengthening networks.

If you’ve ever had a breakthrough moment where “everything finally made sense.”

Then you know what I’m talking about.

That "aha" moment is a moment when all of your experiences… bits of knowledge… relationships… combine to give you a fuller picture of reality (and your place in it).

In other words, all your “nodes” connected in a new way that allowed for insight and breakthrough.

This could definitely happen as a result of wandering curiosity… where you’re trusting your subconscious to guide you…

But that’s probably more useful in the realm of personal growth… rather than trying to grow something more rooted in the physical world… like a business.

Everyone says you should “grow your network.”

But if you don’t have an idea of what you want to accomplish… or what business you want to be in…

Then you won’t be able to focus on making intentional connections with a specific group of people who can help you create results faster.

And if/when you leverage your own professional success into a business that grows into its own entity/ecosystem…

The resulting network growth comes from a base of happy customers/clients who refer others to you, PLUS the increase of resources that allows the business to go out and create new customers, too.

So, (1) creating a path for yourself… and (2) making connections between your nodes… will allow these 2 secret universal patterns to map themselves onto your life.

Then, you just have to hang on for the wild ride.