You will experience 8 stages of growth throughout your life. In fact, you’re probably in stage 7 already. Well done. Almost there.

The 8 stages of growth were developed in the mid-20th century by the German-born psychologist Erik Erickson. Once they were published, Erickson’s concepts pretty much became the psychological standard, They stomped on the fingers of Freud’s human development theories, moving them down a rung on the ladder.

I know you’re curious to know what the 8 stages are, so let’s avoid the suspense-filled mumbo-jumbo and get right to it. Here you go:

  1. Infancy
  2. Toddlerhood
  3. Preschool years
  4. Early school years
  5. Adolescence
  6. Young adulthood
  7. Middle adulthood
  8. Late adulthood

As I said, you’re probably in Stage 7, amiright?

But wait, there’s more.

Herr Erickson was a master of conflict. In fact, he is most well known for coming up with the concept of identity crisis. Yeah, you can thank him for that inner conflict.

Consequently, Erickson didn’t define the 8 stages of life by something as simple as age range. Instead, in true Ricky style, each stage is defined by a key conflict.

For instance, in Stage 5 (adolescence) we are torn by the conflict between Identity and Confusion.

It’s during the teenage years that we strive to forge our own identity. Those who are successful in creating a healthy identity continue through adulthood with a better understanding of who they are.

Those who don’t create a healthy identity usually end up feeling confused about their place in life.

(I fully expect you to be doing some serious self-analysis right now, palsky).

Stage 7 (Middle Adulthood), the one you’re probably swimming in, is defined by the conflict between Generativity and Stagnation.

This conflict is important to understand.

But first, I need to tell you about a little something special from another famous German (what’s with all the smart Germans?!).

The Special Theory

One of Albert Einstein’s most interesting theories is the theory of special relativity. It’s like his famous theory of relativity, but special.

The basic gist of the special theory is that one’s perception of another object’s speed and trajectory will change relative to your own location, speed and trajectory.

Let me explain.

Let’s say you are on a train going 50mph and you pass a train going 30mph in the exact opposite direction. From your perspective there in the Bar Car (you lush), that other train will appear to be traveling at 80mph away from you (your 50 in one direction plus their 30 in the opposite.)

On the other hand, let’s say you’re still in the train traveling at 50mph and that other train is still traveling at 30mph. This time, however, both trains are going in the same direction. When you’re train passes the other, it will now seem like that same train is traveling only 20mph in the opposite direction as you.

Perspective is everything.
An object’s speed and movement are relative to the observer.

Make sense?
Good.

Now let’s talk about your company for a minute.

Trust me, this is all going to come together shortly.