Is Steve Pavlina Reading this Website?

If you’ve read any of my past writings you are probably aware that one of the blogs I regularly subscribe to is Steve Pavlina’s personal development blog. Although we don’t always agree on certain issues, other readers have pointed out several times similarities in our writing styles. Steve writes about a variety of personal development topics and was a major influence in my own passion for growth.

Today I stumbled across an interesting article about purchasing information products from Steve. Although the article itself was interesting, one paragraph stuck out:

For example, I normally don’t read much fiction (I’m at least 90% nonfiction), but Erin is an avid fiction reader. She frequently recommends fiction books to me, sometimes practically begging me to read them, but I almost always turn her down because I feel non-fiction is a better use of my time. But when I finally do succumb to one of her suggestions, I often enjoy a lateral growth experience I’d have otherwise missed. At the very least, I enjoy sharing the experience with Erin.

Seeing as I coined the term lateral growth in my own descriptions of personal development and have written about it in several articles, such as this one, entitled “Lateral Growth”, I was very surprised to hear this. I’ve never seen anyone else use the terms without directly referring to some commentary I’d made so now I’m very inquisitive about what this means. Either Steve has read this website, this is a coincidence or I subconsciously picked up a term other people have been using for some time.

  • Steve Pavlina

    Hi Scott,

    I’m sorry to say I don’t read your web site — I subscribe to only a handful of feeds (currently just 8 total). I did see your trackback this morning though, which is what brought me here today.

    I didn’t realize the term “lateral growth” was something you’d coined. It just seemed like a good descriptive term to use. When I wrote that article, I was thinking that lateral growth implied breadth while vertical growth implied depth. I could have said “sideways growth,” but the word lateral sounded more elegant. To be honest I don’t see a lot of other ways to describe the concept, so I don’t think it’s much of a coincidence that we described it the same way.

    In 1998 I wrote a PC shareware shoot-em-up game called BrainWave 2. The enemies in the game used some AI to evolve new powers, and I named one of those powers “lateral thrust” — it allowed enemies to thrust sideways to dodge your missiles. The game is pretty outdated now, but it’s still available here:

    So my lateral fetish dates back many years. Maybe it’s a left-handed thing. 🙂

  • Scott Young


    Of course I don’t believe that I was the only person who used the term ‘lateral’ growth, but it’s a term I’ve been using for some time and I was simply surprised to hear another person use it without reference to a posting I’ve written. I feel the need to explain my usage of the terms in each post I write about them, but it seems that people intuitively understand them, so perhaps I don’t have to.

  • Alvin Soon

    You left-handers!


    You got a reply from the man himself, Scott! Maybe I should leave him more trackbacks myself 😉

  • Alex Shalman

    I couldn’t resist looking at this article when browsing your archives. Too bad Steve’s link no longer works!

  • Scott Young


    Yeah, Steve shut down Dexterity Software a little while ago. Really a shame because he had some good articles there and some halfway decent games (even though they are a little dated by todays standards). Probably just too costly for maintenance for him to bother.

  • Ryan Becker

    “Lateral growth” or “lateral expansion” is a term in Business and Economics meaning growth of a company by acquiring similar companies, e.g. Sony buying Panasonic. Contrast with “vertical growth,” which acquires companies providing goods or services necessary for the company, e.g. A car company buying a tire manufacturer. Your application to personal growth, however, is (was) novel (and eloquent). Still, Pavlina may have adapted the term from Business, unrelated to your blog.

    Regardless, you have an amazing blog. What I like most is: no judgements. Your entries on vegetarianism and atheism are among the best I’ve read on the topics. While I’m already an atheist, your cogent (and gentle) advocacy for vegetarianism may change my carnivorous ways. Luckily, I LOVE tofu and most soy products. I’ve been known to eat 2lbs of tofu in one meal. Heck, I’m even willing to become feminized… BUT I’m very concerned about the Hawaiian study linking soy to dementia in men. I’m willing to give up my masculinity (which isn’t worth much anyway) but not my mind! 🙂