There are several adult development theories, with their own unique thoughts on growth. Behind each theory is a common theme...self awareness is necessary for growth to occur.
We do not wake up one day and all of a sudden have it all figured it out. There is no light switch to transition from childhood to adulthood; instead we live in a continual growth process that never ends. There are times when growth can happen after we overcome a difficult experience or crisis, emerging with a new sense of self or capacity to succeed. There are also times where we uncover our sense of identity, propelling us on a journey of learning to fulfill this purpose. In both instances, the growth is not automatic. There is a need for reflection and increased self awareness in order for growth to occur.