The “n-of-1” — Finding your formula for growth and success

When are you at your best? When do you have the most energy? Are you an early riser or a night owl? When are you the most productive in your day? Are you someone who can sit and read a book for hours on end or do you need to be more actively engaged with what you are learning? Does the thought of a 30-day fitness challenge motivate you or completely turn you off? Would you be surprised to hear that everyone has a slightly different answer to these questions?

We all have unique attributes that make us who we are. The strengths, preferences, and tendencies you were born with and learned over time makes for a unique configuration that makes you “you”. As you bring your own unique traits into any given situation, the way you experience a situation is also unique to you.

Think about something you recently learned for the first time:

How did you learn this skill? Did you teach yourself or did you learn from someone else? Did you figure it out by watching a video or reading some instructions?

How long did it take you to pick up this new skill? At what point would you say you “learned” the new skill? And is your learning with that a done deal now or is it something you will need to continue over time and keep practicing?

What can you do now, as a result of having this skill, that you couldn’t do before?

If you were to ask these sets of questions to 100 people, you would end up with 100 different answers. What does that say about learning?

the greatest impact occurs when the learning experience is designed around the unique capabilities of the learner

When it comes to your own personal growth and development, there is no single formula for growth and peak performance that will work for everyone — there is no one-size-fits-all approach, except to say that there IS one that will work for you — you are your own sample size in the population. This is the principle of the “n-of-1”.

Behind the concept of the n-of-1 is the same principle behind “client-centered”, “student-centered”, or “learner-centered” approaches to learning and personal growth: You make meaning and gain insights by connecting new information to prior experiences, and because your prior experiences are unique, so too should your learning process be made unique to you — the greatest impact occurs when the learning experience is designed around the unique capabilities of the learner. In a learner-centered approach, the learning process itself is guided by the learner and so the formula for success is based on the individual.

Where are you along your journey? . . . What do you need to begin?

With this in mind, one of the cornerstone pieces throughout your journey is figuring out your own formula for success is finding ways to make it work for you — creating self-awareness, finding connections across the different facets of your experience, reaching clarity, finding the drive and motivation to strive towards new outcomes. As some say, this is the process of “doing the work”.

As you embark on a process of change, transition, and growth, you are inevitably making the decisions to create your own formula for success.

Where are you along your journey? What do you need to learn more about, about yourself, to chart your next steps? If you are starting off with your first steps, what do you need to begin?