Overview of Chapter 2 of “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John C. Maxwell

Posted: September 11, 2016 in Quintessential Leader Basics
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Striving to become a quintessential leader and growing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally into the character, integrity, and knowledge that being a quintessential leader requires is not optional for us.

15 Invaluable Laws of Growth - John C. MaxwellThe 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell offers some very practical insights into both the mechanics of growth and the obstacles that we must overcome that hinder us or stop us from growing.

In this series of posts, I will be summarizing the main points of each chapter – each chapter covers a particular law of growth – in hopes that each of us will be more consciously aware of our need to grow, as well as the things that can stand in the way of our growth as we strive to become quintessential leaders in all areas of our lives.

 In the last post, we reviewed Chapter 1, which discusses the Law of Intentionality. In this post, we’ll review Chapter 2, which covers the Law of Awareness.

To grow and improve, we have to know ourselves intimately. We have to know who we are, what we are, and what makes us tick. We have to have a level of self-awareness that few people genuinely have the courage to undertake because it first requires us to leave no stone – however good, bad, or ugly it is – about who we are on the inside unturned and then it requires us to do something about each of them.

To build upon the good. To replace the bad. To transform the ugly into the beautiful. And this is a lifelong process, not a one-time event.

In other words the law of awareness requires change and change requires action. Too often, we are up against a strong, natural, and inherent laziness that must be overcome to do the work of action and change.

Too often, as well, we are really comfortable where we are and we’re not willing to intentionally cause discomfort in our lives to become aware, to take the actions required to change, producing the improvement and growth that is needed to fulfill our potential and the purpose for which we were created.

For us who are striving to become quintessential leaders, the law of awareness and the action and change it invokes are not optional. We cannot improve and grow until the full capabilities of quintessential leadership without employing this law for the rest of our lives, no matter how disruptive, how uncomfortable, and how difficult it may be for us at times.

Let’s first define awareness and, more specifically, self-awareness. It is first a fully-conscious recognition and understanding of where we’ve been and why, where we are and why, and where we are going and why.

We can think of it as a building project where we learn from the past and present. using that knowledge and understanding to make different and better choices going forward to improve and perfect the quality of the completed building.

Sometimes we get to a point in the building project where we realize – this is where the law of awareness comes in – that we’ve built the infrastructure haphazardly, unconsciously, or with poor quality building materials. As a result, our building project is literally crumbling and falling apart before its ever completed.

At this point, we have two choices. One is to completely abandon the building and let it collapse into nothing completely. The other is to do the very hard work of starting over, with awareness, with consciousness, and using only the best-quality materials. 

Which will we choose? If we choose the second way, it’s going to require us investing everything we’ve got in starting over from scratch.

Is it worth it? I hope that we can all agree that it is worth it.

But before we jump right in and start the rebuilding process, the law of awareness teaches us that we need to do things differently this time and there are many things we need to know to ensure we are taking the right actions to make the right changes to improve and grow.

People who don’t opt for letting the building collapse into nothingness generally fall into one of three categories when it comes to the law of awareness and their lives are characterized by the state that results from the category they are in:

  1. They don’t know where they want to go -> Confused
  2. They know where they want to go, but they don’t take any steps to move in that direction -> Frustrated
  3. They know where they want to go and everything in their lives is involved with and engaged in moving toward that -> Fulfilled

At this point, we should all stop and ask ourselves which state characterizes our lives right now. Being completely honest about our answers is a first step in using the law of awareness because we know where we are and we know why.

Here are some questions we must now ask ourselves and answer, no matter what our state, before we start the rebuilding process (or for the rare people, who’ve not succumbed to periods of unconscious, haphazard, poor quality building, whose building projects are not compromised in any way to continue well on that road).

  1. Are you satisfied with where you are now and do you like the way you’re doing things now?
    1. If the answer is “No” (and, realistically, the right answer for all of us should be some variation of “No,” because none of us is perfect and none of our building projects are complete and perfect), then we must ask ourselves what is standing in the way of us taking action to do something about it:
      1. Fear of discomfort?
      2. Fear of change?
      3. Fear of loss?
      4. Fear of the unknown?
      5. Fear of risk?
      6. Fear of failure?
  2. Where do you want to be in the future? Passion (where the heart, soul, and mind are fully and primarily invested) and potential are interrelated. If you lack the passion, you will never grow toward your full potential. It’s important to make sure that our passions are for worthy and substantive things, not transitory and, ultimately, empty things (which is a pitfall we can all be susceptible to).
  3. Do you have the abilities and skills to function well and contribute meaningfully where you want to be in the future? Again, the honest answer we should all have is some variation of “No,” understanding that in some areas we may have more raw abilities and skills than in others, but these are still only potential that require action, change, improvement and growth.
  4. Do you really know and understand why you want to be where you want to be in the future? The heart of this question deals with motives. If our motives are right, then we’ll be fully invested and we will not be deterred from nor will we quit growing and moving toward our goal when the high highs and low lows that are part of the process of anything worth having inevitably occur. If our motives are wrong, then we will not be invested at all (we simply see what we believe, often erroneously, what’s in it for us) we will be stopped in our tracks every time even the slightest up or down occurs and, at some point (probably sooner rather than later), we will simply give up altogether and quit.
  5. Do you know what you are responsible for to get where you want to be in the future?
    1. Awareness (constant, fearless, and honest self-examination)
    2. Action
    3. Accountability
    4. Responsiveness
    5. Change
    6. Growth
  6. Do you know people who are successfully further along on the road to where you want to be in the future? We must be very careful to be discerning between mere time and distance versus real improvement and growth. There will always be a group of people who are not aware, who not improving, and who are not growing, who will simply clock time and distance because they can and because they’re not particularly motivated to do anything else. However we must be aware of these kinds of people and instead always seek out those who demonstrate by who and what they are in tangible evidence of true improvement and growth as people with whom we can gain insights from as they share their experiences and lessons with us.
  7. Are you willing to pay the price to go where you want to be in the future? Fulfilled potential, characterized by a continual road of action, change, improvement, and growth may cost us absolutely everything we’ve got. Is the price we may have to pay worth where we want to be in the future?
  8. When can you start on the road to where you want to be in the future? There’s an Alan Jackson song called “Someday,” about someone promising that someday he’ll get around to doing what he’s supposed to do and making the changes he needs to make and his wife finally realizing that after years of the same old promises with no action and no change that “sometimes someday just never comes.” That’s the way it works everywhere in our lives with “someday.” The only right answer to this question if we are truly committed is “Now.”
  9. What will it be like when you get to where you want to be in the future? The reality is that it will be:
    1. Far different from anything you envisioned
    2. Exponentially more difficult to get there than you could have ever imagined
    3. Incredibly more wonderful than the broadest horizons of your mind’s eye could have constructed

There is a common proverb that says there are two great days in every person’s life: the day we’re born and the day we discover and understand why.

As quintessential leaders, we must discover and understand that our lives are a building project toward fulfilling our purpose and reaching our full potential. We must pursue that wholeheartedly by using the Law of Awareness to act, change, improve and grow from where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to be in the future.

How are we doing?



  1. […] the last post, we reviewed Chapter 2, which discusses the Law of Awareness. In this post, we’ll review Chapter 4, which covers the Law of […]


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