The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth (2012) contain helpful insights, bite-sized anecdotes, and wisdom that emphasizes the importance of growth as well as how readers can apply principles to catapult their inner development. Having written multiple self-help books that have reached best-sellers lists including the New York Times, the author John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert.

“The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” Summary

The Law of Intentionality
The Law of Awareness
The Law of the Mirror
The Law of Reflection
The Law of Consistency
The Law of Environment
The Law of Design
The Law of Pain
The Law of the Ladder
The Law of the Rubber Band
The Law of Trade-Offs
The Law of Curiosity
The Law of Modeling
The Law of Expansion
The Law of Contribution

John Maxwell “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” Summary


#1. The Law of Intentionality

“Growth Doesn’t Just Happen.”

  • [Book Notes] “When we are children, our bodies grow automatically. A year goes by, and we become taller, stronger, more capable of doing new things and facing new challenges. I think many people carry into adulthood a subconscious belief that mental, spiritual, and emotional growth follows a similar pattern.”
  • “Time goes by, and we simply get better. We’re like Charlie Brown in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip, who once said, “I think I’ve discovered the secret of life—you just hang around until you get used to it.” The problem is that we don’t improve by simply living. We have to be intentional about it.”
  • “If you are clear with what you want, the world responds with clarity.”

John Maxwell writes about ‘gaps’ that hinder growth…

The Assumption Gap—I assume that I will automatically grow.
The Knowledge Gap—I don’t know how to grow.
The Timing Gap—It’s not the right time to begin.
The Mistake Gap—I’m afraid of making mistakes.
The Perfection Gap—I have to find the best way before I start.
The Inspiration Gap—I don’t feel like doing it.
The Comparison Gap—Others are better than I am.
The Expectation Gap—I thought it would be easier than this.

#2. The Law of Awareness

‘You Must Know Yourself to Grow Yourself’

  • Psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden asserts, “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”
  • The first step toward change is awareness. If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, you have to start by becoming aware of the choices that lead you away from your desired destination. Become very conscious of every choice you make today so you can begin to make smarter choices moving forward.”

#3. The Law of the Mirror

‘You Must See Value in Yourself to Add Value to Yourself.’

  • “So why do many people fail to grow and reach their potential? I’ve concluded that one of the main reasons is low self-esteem. Many people don’t believe in themselves. They don’t see the possibilities that God put in them. They possess a hundred acres of possibilities, yet never cultivate them because they are convinced that they won’t be able to learn and grow and blossom into something wonderful.”
  • “If you don’t realize that you have genuine value and that you are worth investing in, then you will never put in the time and effort needed to grow to your potential.”
  • “If you put a small value on yourself, rest assured the world will not raise the price.”

#4. The Law of Reflection

‘Learning to Pause Allows Growth to Catch Up with You’

  • “If you’re nearly as old as I am, you may remember an old slogan once used by Coca-Cola. They called Coke “the pause that refreshes.” That’s what reflection is to someone who desires to grow. Learning to pause allows growth to catch up with you.”
  • “I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t benefit from pausing and reflecting. In fact, stopping to reflect is one of the most valuable activities people can do to grow. It has much greater value to them than even motivation or encouragement. Why? Because pausing allows them to make sure they are on the right track. After all, if someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed up. He needs to stop, reflect, and change course.”

#5. The Law of Consistency

‘Motivation Gets You Going – Discipline Keeps You Growing.’

  • “When I started my speaking career, I believed that motivating people was the key to helping them succeed. If I can get them moving in the right direction, I thought, they will be successful. I would do my best to give people reasons to work hard. I’d try to make them laugh. I’d try to touch their hearts. My goal was to inspire people so much that they’d be ready to charge hell with a water pistol. When I was done, I’d walk away thinking I’d done a good job. But often whatever motivation people received didn’t seem to last very long.”
  • “I’m still a big believer in motivation. Everyone wants to be encouraged. Everyone enjoys being inspired. But here’s the truth when it comes to personal growth: Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing. That’s the Law of Consistency. It doesn’t matter how talented you are. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities you receive. If you want to grow, consistency is key.”
  • “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”

#6. The Law of Environment

‘Growth Thrives in Conducive Surroundings’

#7. The Law of Design

‘To Maximize Growth, Develop Strategies’

#8. The Law of Pain

‘Good Management of Bad Experiences Leads to Great Growth’

  • “When bad experiences create strong feelings in us, we either face the feelings and try to change or we try to escape. It’s the old fight-or-flight instinct. We need to train ourselves to fight for positive changes. How do we do that? By remembering that our choices will lead to either the pain of self-discipline or the pain of regret. I’d rather live with the pain of self-discipline and reap the positive rewards than live with the pain of regret, which is something that can create a deep and continual ache within us.”
  • “John McDonnell once said, “Every problem introduces a person to himself.” What an insight! Each time we encounter a painful experience, we get to know ourselves a little better. Pain can stop us dead in our tracks. Or it can cause us to make decisions we would like to put off, deal with issues we would rather not face, and make changes that make us feel uncomfortable. Pain prompts us to face who we are and where we are. What we do with that experience defines who we become.”

#9. The Law of the Ladder

“Character Growth Determines the Height of Your Personal Growth”

  • “I believe it is a normal human desire to be concerned about how we look on the outside. There’s nothing wrong with that. What can get us in trouble is worrying more about how we look on the outside than about how we really are on the inside. Our reputation comes from what others believe about our outside. Our character represents who we are on the inside. And the good news is that if you focus on being better on the inside than on the outside, over time you will also become better on the outside.”

#10. The Law of the Rubber Band

‘Growth Stops When You Lose the Tension Between Where You Are and Where You Could Be’

  • “Many years ago, during one of the sessions I taught at a leadership conference, I put a rubber band on the table at the place of every attendee. Then I started the session by asking about all the ways people could think of for using them. At the end of the discussion time, I asked them if they could identify the one thing all of their uses had in common. Maybe you’ve already guessed what it was. Rubber bands are useful only when they are stretched! That can also be said of us.”
  • “The greatest stretching seasons of life come when we do what we have never done, push ourselves harder, and reach in a way that is uncomfortable to us. That takes courage. But the good news is that it causes us to grow in ways we thought were impossible.”

#11. The Law of Trade-Offs

‘You Have to Give Up to Grow Up’

  • “What will it take for you to go to the next level? Vision? Yes. Hard work? Of course. Personal growth? Definitely. How about letting go of some of the things that you love and value most? Yes, and believe it or not, this is the thing that often holds people back, even those who have achieved some level of success.”
  • “When you’re first starting out in your career it’s not very hard to give up to grow up. In fact, you’re willing to give up everything for an opportunity. Why? Because your “everything” isn’t much of anything! But what about when you’ve started to earn some things: a job you enjoy, a good salary, a home, a community you’ve become a part of, a level of security? Are you willing to give up those things for a chance at doing something that will take you closer to your potential?”

#12. The Law of Curiosity

‘Growth is Stimulated By Asking Why?’

#13. The Law of Modeling

‘It’s Hard to Improve When You Have No One but Yourself to Follow’

#14. The Law of Expansion

‘Growth Always Increases Your Capacity’

  • “The process of expanding one’s potential is ongoing. It ebbs and flows. Opportunities come and go. The standards we must set for ourselves are constantly changing. What we could do changes as we develop. What we should do also evolves. We must leave behind some old things to take on new ones. It can be difficult work, but if we are willing, our lives are changed.”
  • “The greatest challenge you will ever face is that of expanding your mind. It’s like crossing the great frontier. You must be willing to be a pioneer, to enter uncharted territory, to face the unknown, to conquer your own doubts and fears. But here’s the good news. If you can change your thinking, you can change your life. As Oliver Wendell Holmes remarked, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” If you want to expand your capacity, the first place to start is always in your own mind.”

#15. The Law of Contribution

‘Growing Yourself Enables You to Grow Others’


More Book Summaries

the upside of stress summary review
“The Upside of Stress (2015)” explains that it is our mindset that determines the impact that stress will have on us. In the book, the author provides evidence to suggest that embracing stress can actually have a positive impact on …
Continue Reading…
tara brach radical compassion summary
Radical Compassion (2019) introduces readers to a 4-step meditation tool called R.A.I.N, which can be incorporated as a mindfulness program and is aimed to help individuals cultivate compassion and bring greater presence in their life. The author, Tara Brach is …
Continue Reading…
master your emotions summary
Master Your Emotions (2018) details the nature of emotions, how emotions affect you, and the ways you can gain control when negative emotions cloud rational thinking. Furthermore, the book contains powerful exercises that readers can implement for emotional thriving. The …
Continue Reading…