Phase 1: A Child's Development
Imagine it’s September in 1984. A child is born in Davenport, Iowa. This particular child is fortunate enough to have two loving parents and a 3-year-old older brother. In many ways, he’s already won the genetic lottery. He’s healthy. He’s loved. He’s in a flourishing country that will always protect him.
Yet, at this moment in time, the child is unaware of any of these circumstances. Without a sense of identity, the most primal state of the child’s brain will have to fine-tune itself through natural experiences and interactions in order to understand context. Through these engagements, the child’s brain will become more sophisticated and more complex. Neurons will activate and awareness will eventually crystallize like a photograph in a dark room.
As parents already know, this development process takes quite a while, though. For the first several months, this child (let’s call him “L”) will only know enough to exist. Baby L will attempt to communicate through physical behaviors, but will lack the awareness and recognition necessary to do so effectively. The result is a series of a human’s rawest behaviors - Eating, pooping, sleeping, drooling, crying, smiling, and giggling.
At this point, baby L doesn’t even know he’s alive. After all, there is no context around what existence even means. And since parents have no way to deliver this news, we are all accepting as humans to simply wait for the development process to play out.
And so it does.
It’s not until after the age of two that baby L can even begin to effectively communicate. Words have been heard and inherently learned over time, but still lack the coherence necessary to provide any form of meaning.
At this point, a parent would have committed two full years, that’s twenty-four laborious months to care for a living organism while receiving very little in return. In business terms, the return on investment will only come later on in the form of pride and reciprocated love (and so many other abstract and emotional concepts that only a parent could truly cherish).
Hopefully, the commitment of L’s parents to his development would have provided a semblance of purpose - a hope for legacy and the acknowledgment that Baby L can and should evolve into a better version of his parents. It’s this type of selfless purpose that embodies the heart of the SLW GRWTH mentality.
Yet, for so many reasons, we struggle to apply this type of patience and selfless commitment to other aspects of our lives.