What is Personal Development

Personal Development is the process of improving oneself in one or more areas of your life, whether it’s skills, education, health or personal relationships.  Personal Development is a life adventure to to achieve more success and happiness.

The famous personal development trainer Jim Rohn sums it up well when he said the important question is not “what am I getting”, rather “what am I becoming”, and “what you come directly influences what you get”.  Personal development is not about achieving specific goals, rather about increasing the likelihood of achieving the goals as well as raising the effectiveness and efficiency of your actions.

Much of the joy in life comes from the learning and growing, this is a key benefit of personal development. This includes not only the hard skills that may be important in your career, but also soft skills like being better at verbal and written communication, and having persuasion abilities.

A critical time to realize the importance of personal development is when one finishes school. There is a temptation to think you are done with learning, and that your diploma or degree proves you have all the key knowledge. However, the reality of life is that your learning journey is only beginning.  Most academic curriculum barely touches on personal development skills.

Personal Development builds your self-esteem. Without self-esteem, you are much less likely to achieve success or happiness.  Self-esteem isn’t something you can simply learn from a book, it builds slowly from building your knowledge, wisdom, and track record of success. Build your self-esteem by not doing things halfway; study and work hard with the intention of excellence.  Your values are also important in building self-esteem.  For example, if you don’t value honesty, how can you really feel good about yourself?  You will always know in your heart that you are not someone people can or should trust. People will sense that and takes only one mistake to ruin your reputation.

I like the phrase personal development over self help, as self help suggests you have some issues or problems to resolve.  Perhaps you have been in the self help section of a book store and felt it carries some stigma. In contrast, personal development means you are an achiever, and someone to be admired. Similar to an athlete that is constantly practicing.

Be sure you are well rounded in your personal development journey. For example, too much focus on career as a “workaholic” can negatively impact other areas of your life. Perhaps relationship skills are needed, or learning how to be a better listener.  Learning how to do active listening is a key personal development skills I highly recommend practicing, that can have positive impact in many areas of life.

Personal Development is the adventure of life every one of us can take the journey on together.