The Paradox of Personal Growth

How We Keep Missing The Point of What Self Development Is All About.

Anthony V. Lombardo
5 min readAug 4, 2021


Photo by Elizaveta Dushechkina from Pexels

Personal growth is paradoxical.

Why does someone embark on a journey to make changes in their life?

Most of the time, personal growth starts from a place of not accepting something about ourselves.

Our discontent for a certain characteristic of ourselves or the state of our life is so strong it forces the need to change.

At times this is exactly what we need when our lives have completely unraveled.

For most other times, it begs the question: aren’t we supposed to accept ourselves, warts and all?

Here’s another one: if self-improvement is meant to connect us with a greater, wiser version of ourselves, then why is it that many of our goals and dreams are driven by our ego’s need for validation?

Whether it’s for recognition, attention, or just to prove something to someone, how many of our desires are fueled by a need to be seen by others?

Or maybe we just want to prove to ourselves that we’re good enough.

Self-help… self-preservation?

When I was a kid growing up, there were two types of kids: ones who excelled at sports and those who didn’t.

This created a clear social divide: the athletes were the popular kids that everyone seemed to love and received tons of recognition and attention.

And those who weren’t good at sports had the opposite experience.

Unfortunately for me, I fell into that camp — the group of kids always hoping and praying we wouldn’t be the one picked last for basketball or dodgeball in gym class.

Luckily for me, there was always one or two kids who were slightly worse than me, which saved me from the embarrassment of being the last kid standing that nobody wanted.

Notwithstanding, I still signed up to play on all the sports teams despite it being filled with far more downs than ups and only served as a constant reminder of what I lacked.

Yet, I still stuck with it.



Anthony V. Lombardo

Anthony V. Lombardo is a meditation artist, explorer of consciousness, and website consultant for Spiritual Entrepreneurs. Join the Tribe: