Food for Thought: Growth Swag

Growth Swag - the Unshakeable Confidence in our Capacity to Learn New Stuff & Do the Hard Things

The following is from Train Ugly and is a worthwhile read on developing self-motivation.

There are some great external sources of ignition, the: “If they can do it, so can I” type.

This can come from watching, observing, and reading about other people’s journeys.

These stories can inspire our own action to grow and take on challenges – which is excellent.


Things get even more powerful when the ignition is more internal and personal, the: “If I did this, I can do that” type.

We call this Growth Swag.

Growth Swag is the deep rooted confidence that we can learn, grow, adapt, solve problems, and show crazy resilience when met with obstacles.

Rules of Growth Swag:
1. It’s difficult to acquire because it doesn’t come from observing or reading – Growth Swag comes from experiencing
2. It’s a muscle that can be applied in new and different situations
3. It’s a great way to develop a Growth Mindset

When we learn something new.

When we move through a seemingly insurmountable challenge.

When we are thrown into the arena, get knocked down, and get back up – our Growth Swag is strengthened.

A close friend was telling me about a divorce she worked through years ago. She talked about how hard and scary the journey was – especially when she had to initiate it, especially when second-guessing and loneliness kicked in.

The amount of bravery, grit, and vulnerability it took for her to move through this obstacle astounds me.

She went on to explain how she is able to welcome everyday obstacles in life or at work because: “If I could handle that (her divorce), I can definetly handle this.” THAT is Growth Swag.

Learning can build Growth Swag.

The process and progression of learning is the same, no matter what we’re learning: we start, we are bad, we struggle, we spend time, try new solutions, we figure it out.

And if you moved through that process once, you can do it again in a different arena:

If you can learn to shoot a ball, you can learn to dance.

If you can learn English, you can learn Spanish.

If you can get good at a video game, you can get good at algebra.

If you can learn how to use a computer, you can learn to code, animate, and design.

If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball 😉

Ways to get more Growth Swag:
Connect dots from the past. Recall times that you were brave, that you learned something new, that you showed resilience. You will absolutely face many more obstacles, big and small. But regardless of the magnitude, the process of moving through it is the same. If you did that, you can do this.

Jungle Tiger more often. Take on new challenges, learn new skills. Remember that Growth Swag is a muscle, and the more that you use it, the stronger it gets.

Things that rob us of opportunities to develop Growth Swag:
1. People who solve all of our problems and try to eliminate our struggle
2. Zoo Tigering or avoiding experiences that stretch us outside of our comfort zone