Foundation of Growth
A Platform for Real Change
The Foundation of Growth is a simple way to examine your life and to identify opportunities for self-betterment. The Foundation is comprised of five core elements: Diet, Fitness, Sleep, Mind, and Relationships. By tending to all five of these elements, you will maintain a strong foundation that enables you to pursue ambitious goals, live a healthy lifestyle, and face adversity with confidence.
By mindfully optimizing these five elements, we believe that individuals will establish a robust base from which they can achieve personal and professional growth. Our approach is to raise awareness of what’s possible with these five elements and to introduce various methodologies that can help people test, adopt, and sustain good habits.
The Five Elements: Diet, Fitness, Sleep, Mind and Relationships
What and how much you eat isn’t just reflected in your body composition. Significant and robust scientific research shows that diet impacts your mood, emotional regulation, and your cognitive function. How we eat and what we eat impacts our overall fitness, our cognitive function, and has downstream impacts on our mental health and relationships.
Eating is also an everyday activity. If you eat 3 meals a day, snack at least once a day, and go out for pre-dinner drinks a few times a week, that’s more than 30 times you’re making choices on what goes into your body. Over the course of weeks, months, and years, these choices add up.
When it comes to Diet as a Foundation of Growth Element, we recommend the following general behaviors:
- Increase your knowledge of nutrition and how food impacts health.
- Eat a wide range of healthy, nutrient-rich foods.
- Avoid processed and harmful foods.
- Maintain good habits in portion control and eating times (e.g. don’t eat too late).
- Make deliberate decisions, as much as possible, on what you consume.
Our bodies were built to move, and yet, we often struggle to get in even an hour’s worth of exercise. Our deskbound jobs keep us sedentary for a big chunk of our waking lives, and even when we get to the gym, it’s unclear how best to build up our bodies.
Overall fitness helps improve cognitive performance and also helps us ward off and more easily recover from illnesses. By incorporating the right types of exercises and movements into our daily lives, we can enjoy the benefits of having a strong, light, and pain-free body.
When it comes to Fitness as a Foundation of Growth Element, we recommend the following general behaviors:
- Embrace a consistent routine that promotes movement and sweat.
- Expand your knowledge of your body and its mechanics.
- Set fitness goals that motivate.
- Strengthen your resolve and discipline to stick to your routine.
- Design a well-rounded regimen that promotes strength, agility, flexibility, and endurance.
We know that deep, rejuvenating sleep can jumpstart your day and greatly improve performance in many areas of your life. And yet, many of us struggle to get an adequate amount of sleep or forgo sleep altogether in pursuit of fitting in one more to-do or watching one more episode of our favorite show.
Sleep isn’t just about slumping over onto your bed and passing out through exhaustion. Whether it’s getting properly ready for sleep, getting enough hours of sleep, or improving the quality of your sleep, there are many opportunities to maximize and optimize one of your most important biological activities.
When it comes to Sleep as a Foundation of Growth Element, we recommend the following general behaviors:
- Be mindful of the time you give yourself for sleep (if possible, 7 hours minimum).
- Adhere to a consistent sleep schedule and wind-down routine.
- Optimize your sleeping conditions (e.g. light, temperature, bedding)
- Prep your body for deep sleep (e.g. staying away from excessive alcohol, eating too late, etc.)
The mind is critical to the way we experience the world and think about ourselves. The mind’s ability to learn and process knowledge helps us grow in so many ways. The way the mind perceives and reacts to external forces often determines how we fare when adversity strikes or when rare opportunities present themselves. By cultivating self-awareness and expanding knowledge, the mind can be a powerful engine in your personal growth journey.
When it comes to Mind as a Foundation of Growth Element, we recommend the following general behaviors:
- Develop habits that promote prioritization and deliberate planning.
- Sharpen your ability to focus and concentrate on important tasks.
- Constantly seek out and consume quality content that can expand your knowledge and impact your life in positive ways.
- Embrace opportunities to go beyond the surface and engage in meaningful and critical analyses of topics you care about through writing and conversations.
So much of our happiness is tied to how we feel about our relationships with other people. These may be family members, a significant other, co-workers, friends, classmates, and neighbors.
The 75-year Harvard Study of Adult Development found that the people happiest in their lives were the ones most satisfied in their relationships. The Harvard study is notable because it tracked 700+ individuals over this entire time period with minimal levels of attrition. Our relationships have wide-ranging impact on how we feel and act. Without solid relationships in our lives, it’s hard for our personal achievements to have as much meaning.
When it comes to Relationships as a Foundation of Growth Element, we recommend the following general behaviors:
- Cultivate empathy and compassion; make it an automatic habit to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
- Develop your ability to listen well and ask engaging questions.
- Be proactive and deliberate about maintaining communication and spending quality time with loved ones.
- Don't be shy about expressing gratitude and appreciation directly to those who deserve it.
Where Do You Stand?
How do you feel about your Foundation of Growth? Are all your Elements fully developed and operating at peak levels? Or are you sensing that some Elements are better tended to than others?
What we find especially helpful about the Foundation of Growth is that all the Elements are inextricably tied to each other. For example, if your Sleep is suffering, then chances are, you aren’t able to maximize your Fitness activities and you may find that your Mind and Relationships are bogged down by a tired, easily irritable state. Through the Foundation of Growth, we aim for the holistic while breaking it down into specific, tangible parts.