(And Why Should You Care?)
The phrase and concept comes from an encyclical letter Populorum progressio:
“Man becomes truly man only by passing beyond himself.”
This is an unfortunate translation from Latin. It was better conveyed in Polish:
“Man becomes all he should have become only by expanding beyond himself.”
Our society is eaten alive by the existential vacuum. Life makes no sense. We get no fulfillment, only a daily grind which adds no real value whatsoever into our existence. It hurts.
Does this sound like your life?
Hang on, there is hope.
“What do you want: The pain of staying where you are, or the pain of growth?” — Judith Hanson Lasater
Staying where you are gives you an illusion of comfort. You only need deal with the daily challenges you are used to: the struggle to get out of bed in the morning; the discomfort of a daily commute; the same people and their quirks at the office, homework with your kids; shopping; cleaning; preparing for the next day. And the next day. And next one.
Staying where you are means things are always the same. You have no way out, either, except the hope of retirement after ten or forty years.
Expanding Beyond Yourself is making progress.
It’s often painful, like weight lifting. However, weightlifting pain is just a signal that your muscles are growing. You will be stronger afterwards, ready to face heavier weights.
The most important aspect of Expanding Beyond Yourself is that progress introduces change. New opportunities will be unlocked in front of you.
The pain of staying of where you are is almost as hurtful as the pain of growth, but it is a chronic pain; it will stay with you permanently until you do something about it.
“The major value in life is what you become.” —Jim Rohn
This sentiment is the one I want to convey with EBY. Becoming is the real reward and happiness. And you can become more. It’s hardcoded into human existence.
This is why stagnation is painful. Your stomach may be full, the roof over your head may be solid, your bedroom may be warm, your salary may be hefty, your relationships with family and friends may be OK; but if you don’t feel that your life is moving somewhere, you will always be dissatisfied.
You can try to fill this existential vacuum with pleasurable substitutions: playing video games; gossiping on Facebook and intoxicating yourself with alcohol and/or drugs; eating sweets or greasy junk food; masturbating or watching pornography; sleeping for 12 hours a day. There are endless opportunities to hide from yourself today.
You can even do these things for decades, to keep ahead of what is coming: the inevitable feeling of dissatisfaction. But it will catch you sooner or later. If you are really unlucky, it will catch you on your deathbed.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” — Joseph Kennedy
I discovered that fulfillment comes from doing tough things. A big part of my satisfaction with my life today comes from the growth I’ve managed through doing things I considered impossible, like:
Considerably improving our finances. Over the last year, we have had an income 40.5% higher than in the year before my transformation. We bought our first-ever house, and a second car.
Developing dozens of new habits in a short amount of time. Experts say this was impossible. I defeated the odds.
Publishing in a foreign language. Before Expanding Beyond Myself, I had not even published anything in my own language. I had no experience, no writing education, no credibility, no authority.
I want you to feel that there are possibilities for your life that you haven’t seriously considered yet. I want you to start pursuing them. Taste the purposeful life. I want you to discover the joy of becoming more.
You will be struggling; you will grow; you will serve more people. You will serve God.