Intro to the Table of Stable Growth

We need heuristics and analogies to help us guide our lives because we mostly think in metaphors. That means rather than thinking totally objectively and rationally–as we like to believe that we do–we mostly examine things for what they mean in relation to us and in a given context. And if we don’t have a framework that we can apply to a given situation, then we end up filling in the blanks with stories–often really shitty ones–because our brains need to know what something means for us. It’s how we’ve survived and evolved over a really long damn time. The heuristics and analogies are the frameworks that allow us to make sense of things in our lives. They allow us to relate our lives, or just pieces of our lives, to something that actually allows us to think clearly about what’s happening, rather than getting caught up in emotional turmoil, or just being ineffective at looking at ourselves with enough detachment to be productive. To condense that all down into one, simple little sentence:
we need systems of self-examination that help us evaluate the different aspects of our lives and keep them in balance.
Enter the Table of Stable Growth. For almost 3 years now, we’ve been using the Table of Stable Growth to guide our personal development as a staff at BSP NOVA. We’d, up to that point, been spending a lot of time on personal development in our inservices, and during our reading/assignments, but we didn’t have a metaphorical tool that allowed us to look at our behavior, give it a value, and then plot a course for change. And we needed it. All of us were working hard to improve, but all of us had problems with balancing the different parts of our lives–personal, professional, physical, and enrichment. So, I came up with the idea of using a table to represent our lives and legs as the different parts that we need to keep in balance so that our table remains stable. A stable table can hold a lot of shit–or like food and other nice things. But, here’s the thing, a table needs maintenance to remain stable and steady–and that takes constant vigilance and work to keep the legs screwed on securely without a wobble. Let’s break down the table metaphor and look at the constituent parts. Then, we’ll have a look at the actual table poster that’s hanging on our wall at BSP NOVA so we can consult it every day. This lesson is to introduce the table and the parts that make it up. In part two of this series we’ll talk table-balancing action plans.

The Parts of the Table

Ok, so the table, in its entirety, legs, top, and all, represents life. Now that we have that redundantly settled, let’s move on to the legs.


The legs are those pillars of living that hold the table up and together. There are four legs that we need to keep sturdy: our personal lives, our professional lives, our physical well-being, and our things we do to enrich our lives–be them fun, spiritual, etc. These are the big categories of our lives that we examine and balance–or accept that the legs, and so the table, must remain out of balance for a period of time because of certain priorities. Either way, they provide a simple way to break our lives into simple categories to examine. And as we examine them, we need a way to ascribe them a value so we can somewhat objectively determine balance. So, we use a simple rating scale from one to five to determine how we’ll we are doing with each leg of the table. Next are the little things we do to keep the legs securely fastened to the table, the things that we can critically examine to determine our one to five rating.


Our bolts are about action. They are the things that we do to screw the legs tightly to the table. If we neglect the bolts, if we neglect action, they start to unscrew themselves and our legs, and table, start to wobble–spilling a gigantic glass of Coke right into your Aunt Edna’s lap. Sure, you might not be that concerned about Aunt Edna–she’s annoying and has given you terrible gifts since you popped out of your mother’s vagina, but Coke is delicious and we shouldn’t waste it.

Bolting the Legs to the Table

The legs allow us to think about the parts of our lives that we want to balance, the bolts give us the means to act to keep the legs in balance while also objectively rating our behavior. So, we work from big concepts down to the actions that support them. We need big abstractions to help us think about our lives, and we need actions that help us make the abstractions real. Ok, so we’ve introduced some history and theory behind the Table of Stable Growth, now let’s have a look at that table. Go ahead and play with it. Use it to have a look at your life right now and make some ratings. You can even play around with some maintenance plans if you want, but we’ll be going deeper into that stuff during part two. Until then, here’s the Table of Stable Growth. [pdf-embedder url=”” title=”BSP Table of Stable Growth Poster”]

In 2010, two dudes Chris and Todd, started the business that would eventually become Strength Faction.

You know how they say the rest is history? Well, it’s not.

Follow Us

Member Login

©2020 | Strength Faction