What Is Personal Development?
I had an incredibly hard time trying to describe 'personal development,' as it is an all-encompassing term, the meaning of which can change with each person. Not to mention that from the time we are born we are constantly learning new skills, and presented with new challenges, which can all be considered some form of personal development (PD). In my opinion, however, the following definition is pretty close.
Personal development is the conscious decision to improve one or all parts of your life. It is a process of personal growth which allows for the development of new skills and expansion of knowledge. It is the intentional development of self, whether that pertains to physical attributes, work and life skills, or consciousness. All of which coalesce to improve your circumstance and allow you to reach a higher potential. - Rhys Skellern
Why Is Personal Development So Important?
In our youth and adolescence, we are constantly challenged and learning more about the world around us. In adulthood, however, 99% of people live a work-centered life. The sad truth is that once we choose a career or find employment, that is all we know. Teachers tend to stay teachers. Plumbers tend to stay plumbers. And whilst there may be some career progression and development of skills within a particular role, it inevitably leaves 'personal development' up to the individual.
Due to this, our society suffers from a severe 'lack of use' paradigm. Our physical bodies are wasted sitting behind computer screens. Research shows that issues of brain health are on the rise. Our society operates in a mode of convenience which restricts our learning potential and is causing a rapid decline in cognitive abilities as we age. In fact, John C. Maxwell, an influential thought leader in the field of leadership, has said that "human potential is the number 1 resource we waste on Earth."
Personal development isn't just important to learn new skills. It reignites a foundation for learning. The process allows us to set and achieve higher goals. It grants us permission to reach a higher potential. Through it, we are empowered to become better people, increase our influence, and create new synaptic connections. But more than anything, the process of personal development helps us to build belief in ourselves and our own abilities.
Where Do I Start?
To begin, you have to take responsibility for your current position. Acknowledge that you and only you can change your circumstance, and then ask yourself what you wish to achieve. Decide which part of your life you want to improve (health, income, satisfaction etc...) and determine what you need to practice in order to achieve in this area. Below are some examples of personal development topics that I will build on in later articles, and I will note now that there is no single area you should focus on. Personal development is a compounding process. Take the lessons learnt in one and apply them to another.
Relationships take work. Regardless of whether they're with family, friends or your employment. Learn to become an active listener, recognise and accept other opinions, and communicate more effectively.
Many people don't realise that there is an alternative. Self-belief comes from proving to yourself that you can achieve, regardless of how big or small a step you take. Identify where you are making excuses in your life, step outside of your safe zone, and give something new a try.
This can encompass both strategies and practice. You may choose to begin by learning more about social influence and cues, or body language.
Acquisition of Skills
You may wish to improve your communication, confidence, and/or public speaking skills. To do so you might join a toastmasters club, or practice simple skills to boost your confidence.
As you grow, so too will your income. Expanding your skills and comfort zone will open you up to new opportunities and relationships. Try taking an online course, retrain into something you're passionate about, and stop with the excuse: 'it's not that easy.' It is.
This can be the mind or the body and may be as simple as committing to a new exercise regime (physical health) or enveloping yourself in spiritual practice such as meditation (mental health).
For every topic, question, or field of thought, someone has gone before you. Find a mentor, and utilise the wealth of information they provide. Follow this link for more advice and where to begin your journey.
People do not want to be motivated, they want to be inspired. That is the true key to instilling personal motivation. Immerse yourself in quotes of successful people, find the things you are passionate about and let them inspire you into action!
You and only you are responsible for your circumstances. If you are not happy, change them! Determine which areas of your life need work, and implement an action plan to achieve them.
Congratulations! You have just completed the first step of personal development. Now I implore you to continue your learning by delving into the articles below!
If you have your own personal development story, or a topic you would like me to feature, share it with me in the comments or on Social Media!
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