A great way to picture all of this visually is to represent yourself or any person as a circle. Since a circle has no beginning or end, and no corners, openings or angles, it’s perfect for representing the psychological concepts of wholeness and growth…
As previously discussed, repeated challenge leads to self-expansion, and we know that when a circle grows, the outside surface area, or circumference, increases. This allows more surface contact with the outside world and thus more opportunities for learning and success. And of course, a larger circle also allows the inside area to include and possess more: more knowledge, experience, feeling, etc. A timeline depicting this growth would look similar to a cross-section of a tree, containing a series of concentric rings. In short, the growth of the circle leads to a more self-actualized person who “transcends and includes” their former self or former mindstate (Ken Wilber, A Brief History Of Everything, Shambhala Press, 1996).
In contrast to this holistic or overall expansion, a circle becomes distorted when only a few parts of it experience growth—its perfect shape becomes irregular and lumpy—a great metaphor for mental illness, neurosis, or any lifestyle imbalance. But we can attempt to maintain our self as close to “a perfect circle” as possible by finding many avenues for personal expression, and by accepting challenges in all areas of life. The circle is an interconnected, unbroken whole, which means that all of its parts are related. By maintaining a mindset that looks for connections and capitalizes on correlations and relationships between seemingly disparate elements, your growth in one area can have indirect benefits on all the other areas of your life.
(Nick can be found here: www.nickbaxter.com)