In recent years, an extraordinary synthesis of research into human development offers us new knowledge about how we grow in our understanding of our selves and the world. You, like all human beings, have a unique and precious opportunity to grow throughout your lifetime. While there are many ways in which you can grow – physically, mentally, psychologically, interpersonally, spiritually, artistically, professionally – research shows that your potential in all of these areas is expressed by your core stage of development, also called the developmental center of gravity.
This stage of development shapes many aspects of your self – your thinking, emotional responses, behavior, your leadership capacities, your inter-personal interactions, social life, and much more. Your stage of development doesn’t determine these things, but limits, shapes and influences them.
Some aspects of our core stage of development are deeply central to how we experience being in the world. This includes the aspects of reality of which we are aware, what we take our self and the world to be, and our capacities to take different perspectives. Therefore, it can be a powerful experience to come to understand your stage of development, because in the process you begin to recognize how you are seeing yourself and the world in a new and more intimate way.
Through knowledge of development, you may also gain a greater appreciation of how you can develop over time. Research shows that most people think they have come a long way in their growth, but that they don’t expect to grow as much in the future. Understanding your place in the developmental trajectory can awaken you to a new potential for your own growth over the remainder of your lifetime, and it can provide an encouraging view of our collective human evolutionary potential.
Your stage of development is not you. By seeing yourself through this assessment, you are seeing into a certain aspect of yourself. Who you really are is much more than any theory anyone can ever have about you. Through awareness of your own developmental center of gravity, you'll have a better sense of yourself as you grow, in general, as well as in relationship to the others in your life and world. In different situations you may respond from earlier or later stages. We therefore have both a tendency towards a center of gravity and also a contextual response to the situation at hand. Development does not progress step-by-step, but in a much more complex pattern. In short, it is important to hold any model lightly and use it to support yourself in ways that are beneficial.