When you’re on a path of personal growth, it’s to be expected that you’ll eventually outgrow some lenses or tools that you used in the past, even if they were useful and effective. Your goals and interests may change, and other tools may become more useful to you. You may also integrate some practices well enough that you no longer have to think about using them as separate tools.

Be careful about treating lenses as laws or beliefs, and be especially cautious to avoid wrapping them into your identity. That gets people stuck a lot. Treat lenses as tools that you can pick up and experiment with and then put down afterwards. You needn’t weave a lens into your identity.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, for instance, I don’t use the lens of attraction much these days. It’s fair to say that I’ve outgrown it. I still think it’s a useful lens, but it’s not sophisticated or nuanced enough for my current interests. To use that lens now would be like using an old spiral-bound Thomas Guide to navigate by car. Those guides were great when I was in high school and college, but we have more sophisticated navigational tools available today.

Another lens that feels like it ran its course was looking for activities that scared me and then doing them. That lens can be very useful in creating growth experiences, but “do what you fear” is a rather blunt instrument. It works wonderfully for basic courage training, but when timidity isn’t a significant problem anymore, it’s probably best to switch to other tools.

One reason to switch to more sophisticated lenses is when you’ve already integrated a lot of useful mindsets and behaviors, and you want to up your game. The same tools that got you started won’t necessarily be the same tools you’ll use for ongoing improvement.

Another reason to switch tools is when you’re able to get some results with your old tools, but they’re not taking you all the way to your goals. For instance, maybe you’re pretty good at getting dates, but you’re still not getting the kind of relationship you really want. Maybe it’s time to graduate from your old mindsets and behaviors and explore more sophisticated tools.

Remember that you’re a flexible person. You can always keep learning and growing. If you’re still using the same mindsets and behaviors that you were using five years ago, why are you still stuck in the past? Perhaps it’s time to upgrade your tools and refine your palate.