Change is Inevitable…Growth is Optional

Key Takeaways

  • Life is full of constant change, and many of those changes are beyond our control.
  • Stoicism is a philosophy that teaches control in the face of unpredictability.
  • You can decide how to respond and whether to grow when change occurs in your life.

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” That’s a quote from John C. Maxwell, author of the book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. This quote brings to mind the philosophy of Stoicism, founded by Zeno of Citium in ancient Greece, and practiced by numerous leaders throughout history, including Marcus Aurelius, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.

Stoicism might bring to mind gruff, cold, unfeeling behaviors, but there’s more to it than that. Its central teachings focus on reminding us that the world is unpredictable and that life is short. That within that unpredictability, we should remain strong and in control, using logic, rather than impulsive emotion, to act when we’re faced with change. Stoicism is concerned with practical application, with the belief that judgement should be based not on words, but on behavior.

The Stoic philosophy teaches that we can only control ourselves and our responses to life events. We can’t rely on external events for our happiness. And this is where we need to consider our growth in life.

Things happen—maybe we don’t want those things to happen, and maybe they’re completely unexpected. We can’t control them. How we respond to these events and move forward is what makes the difference. This is what “growth is optional” means—we either let the change define us or we define it and move forward.

Our behaviors are the one thing we CAN control, and that’s where our happiness comes from.

So, change is inevitable. Growth is optional. You make the difference. You control what you can. Until next time, enjoy.


Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

Learn more about TransformingWealth™ , our proprietary approach designed to get your arms around the big picture, so you can make informed financial decisions. Ask Gary about Coyle’s TransformingWealth Preview Meeting and schedule a complimentary consultation and start living the Good Life Managed Well™.
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All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness.   This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client.  The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment.  Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional.  Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting, but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions.

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