Popularity of Personal Development
Personal development is a hot market right now, some estimates citing a $10 billion market. Why is personal development this popular? Most people want more out of life, whether it’s a better relationship, more rewarding career, a wider circle of friends, and better health.
Most people eventually come to realize that in order to improve things, they must change themselves. Simply waiting for circumstances to get better, and luck to happen, is rarely going to work. We need to learn to let go of our ego, which constantly tries to tell us we are already perfect, when we are not. We need to identify what parts of our life need improvement in order to gain the results we seek.
Where to Start
Those seeking to improve themselves can easily be overwhelmed. Where do they start? There are so many options between books, audio books, YouTube videos, seminars, coaches, training, and a wide range of articles and training on the Internet.
First, focus on a method that works well for you- we are all different. Some of us learn better visually, and some prefer audio. Perhaps you work better in a formal structured environment, such as formal classroom training. Also consider how much you’re willing to invest financially, keeping in mind the axiom “you get what you pay for”. Good advice is often not free.
Another important aspect is choosing who to learn from. If you have decided to learn from a book, authors abound. How do you choose? We recommend you read reviews of different books and get a sense of what people did or didn’t like. Also carefully consider what the focus area is for that author. For example, some authors focus on financial success, which may or may not be your interest.
Interacting with Others
Your journey of personal development will work much better if you’re interacting with other people with a similar interest. Perhaps there is a friend or family member that is interested in this pursuit as well. You can then study the same materials, discuss ideas, and practice together. The discussion will make it more real. Another tactic that can help is telling someone else what your goals are, you are more likely to take them seriously.
Due to this aspect, in-person training is very beneficial. You will be surrounded by others who have a similar passion, and perhaps you can make some new friends that will help push you up rather than bring you down. Look for local seminars in town, or regional based trainers. For example, this personal development training company focuses on Australia residents, but also offers online training options.
If you aren’t interested in seminars, in-person training, books, or audios, there are many online training options available. Coursera and Udemy both have many courses on personal development. The quality of each course can vary widely, so read about the teacher, read reviews, and view sample training if available.
Personal Development Topics
Within personal development, there are many possible topic areas to study. We recommend you start with only one or two at a time. Here are some of the major topic areas to consider. Write down the ones that appeal to you the most, and then plan accordingly.
- Build confidence and self-esteem
- Improve verbal communication skills
- Improve written communication skills
- Better public speaking and presentations
- Have better relationships
- Learn specific career related skills
- Build leadership or management skills
- Become a better parent
- Improve your health
- Improve your body and fitness
- Be more persuasive/build sales skills
- Learn new financial skills
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Improve your memory
- Better time management
Tips for Success
Being successful in self growth takes more than simply reading a book or attending a seminar. You must have a very strong desire and passion. The more disgusted you are with where things are in your life, the more motivated you will be. Discover methods that work for you for maintaining that passion.
Don’t get stuck on a concept that isn’t working. Teachers will share all sort of techniques they claim is a proven method. However, it may not work well for you. Be sur to give it enough time to work, however if it’s not serving you, move on and try something else. For example, affirmations work for some, and don’t for others.
Keep focused. If you have one or two things you’re working on, learning more techniques may harm you more than help you. You may want to pause in the middle of a book to work on what you’ve read so far. Or not read a new book until you’ve had a chance to work with the book you just read. It’s easy to become a learning junkie where you intellectually understand the techniques but haven’t used them in a beneficial way. Set goals and then achieve them.
Don’t underestimate the value of verbal communication skills. They can be fundamental to so many other areas of personal development, whether relationships, career, friendship, and parenting. We may be blind to our own weaknesses. More specifically, be sure to learn active listening techniques.
In closing, ponder this quote by the famous personal development trainer Jim Rohn: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
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