If you’re dreaming about a better life but unsure how to get there, personal development is the bridge.
The act of developing into the most capable version of yourself can wholeheartedly transform your life. You might not be the right person to achieve your dreams, but with some hard work and diligence, you can become that person.
That’s the beautiful thing about personal development. You realize that your mind is elastic, and you can reshape it however you desire. By facilitating this process of personal change, your life experience resultantly changes with it.
Once you begin this journey, I can assure you that you’ll never want to go back. So let’s look at what personal development is, how it can elevate your life to a whole new level.
How personal development changed my life
In some ways I was very fortunate growing up. I always had food on the table, and I had a loving family. But in other ways, I wasn’t.
For the most part, I just couldn’t understand what was happening. I saw other kids socializing, doing well at school, and generally getting on with their happy lives, but to me, life itself just seemed mind-numbingly complicated.
What’s wrong with me? I thought. Other kids were developing fundamental life skills, but I sat there sucking glue.
So I grew up thinking that I was defective. This was the hand of cards I had been dealt in life, and I had to accept that I would never be normal: A concept that became my biggest fantasy in time.
Believing that I had something wrong with me led me into a depression for a few years. Then came a turning point.
Fuelled by my desperation to change, I stumbled upon the shining beacon I was looking for. This concept was personal development: The realization that I could change, and it just made a whole lot of sense.
I could learn social skills? I could train myself to become more intelligent? I could improve my memory, become funnier, and happier, and better?
It all just clicked.
A whole new chapter had been opened, and I was excited to experience it. From that moment, I committed to personal development and never looked back.
Enjoying the fruition of personal development
The pursuit of developing myself into the person I wanted to be led me down the rabbit hole of personal growth. This journey eventually led me into spirituality. It led me to travel the world for many years on end to soul search.
It took me many years of consistent practice to create big changes in my life. At the start, it was slow going, but I pushed forward even when it felt hopeless. Personal development wasn’t the flick of a switch, it was a seed that needed to be watered daily.
Nowadays, my life is completely foreign to what it once was. Thinking back to the days when I was that depressed kid who just didn’t get it, I could have never imagined that I would become what I now am.
You can never truly understand the power of personal development until you walk that road, and if you haven’t started, then what’s holding you back? I want you to get to the point where you are the person you actually want to be.
With a little guidance, we’re going to clarify the personal development journey, and how you can go about it in the best possible way.
What is personal development?
In a nutshell, personal development is the act of working on yourself to achieve a higher quality of life.
Similar to personal growth, the personal development journey is a lifelong act of continuously improving your skills, abilities, traits, and characteristics, to ultimately become the best version of yourself.
When you decide to actively learn and develop yourself to your maximum capabilities, you enter a whole new world of possibility.
This is the foundation of personal development. Everything about you can be changed, whether it’s a skill, ability, personality trait, characteristic, or mindset. No aspect of who you are is consolidated which creates space for a complete transformation of self.
You can target key areas of your life that need improvement, or work on all aspects of yourself to generally expand your capabilities.
Here are some areas of your life that can be developed:
Learn new skills and abilities
Learn new skillsets that help you navigate life easier, such as conversational skills, time management, networking, critical thinking, or cooking.
Develop new characteristics
Develop characteristics that are beneficial for you such as ambition, motivation, self-esteem, confidence, curiosity, bravery, and honesty.
Reinforce healthier perceptions
Change your perception of life to reinforce better ways of looking at your life, and the world you live in.
Create changes in your personality
Develop new personality traits to alter your identify and how you interact with the world around you.
Become more competent
Boost your capabilities through practice and training to become competent at anything you want to get good at.
Increase your intelligence
Increase your general intelligence, emotional intelligence and social intelligence by constantly learning and stretching yourself to understand more about life.
Manage mental health
Learn how to properly manage emotional health, heal, and do what it takes to become a happier and more fulfilled person.
Focus points of personal development
Your efforts in personal development should target some key areas of who you are. These key areas involve:
- Your physical body
- Your emotional body
- Your mental body
- Your spiritual body
These are your four bodies, and everything that we experience comes back to one of these bodies. You can learn more about what these bodies entail in the article below:
To expand upon ourselves, other dimensions of your life experience are important to look at too. These dimensions involve:
- Your social relationships
- Your work
- Your environment
- Your finances
Now look into each of these different areas of your life. Think about what you’re doing well in, and what could use some work.
For example, you might be in great shape physically by eating healthy and regularly exercising, but your emotional health might be lacking. Otherwise, you might have a great social life and romantic life, but lack when it comes to feeling fulfilled in your work.
It’s important to look into each area of your life to assess where you need the most work, and where you should put your focus.
Examples of personal development goals
Now that we’ve looked at some different areas where personal development will improve your life, let’s look at more specific goals you can have, and the courses you may take to achieve those goals.
Before we get into some more specific action plans, everything that makes you, you is thoroughly interconnected.
This means that to thrive in any particular area of your life, you’re going to need to work on seemingly unrelated areas too, because everything you learn and improve has some sort of influence.
This phenomenon is called personal ecosystems. Learn more about it in the following article:
Develop your social skills
- To have a rich and abundant social life
- To have a fun and active dating life, or find someone to settle down with
- To become good at networking, making friends, and gaining new opportunities in life
- Develop good people skills
- Develop conversational skills
- Learn how to talk to people with ease
- Work on your sense of humor
- Develop confidence
- Develop charisma
- Work on the fear of being rejected or judged
- Learn how to read peoples emotions
- Become more socially calibrated
- Start talking to more people on a daily basis to practice conversational skills
- Put yourself out there and start conversations with people, even if it’s scary
- Start organizing catchups more regularly with people you know
- Research social skills and see what you can apply to yourself
- Find networking events or social events in the area and go to them
- Take a course on socializing if you don’t know where to begin
- To counter negative feelings and attitudes about oneself such as self-pity, the victimhood mentality
- To develop self-respect, self-worth, and to value oneself
- To enjoy life more
- Heal the underlying wounds causing this detrimental outlook
- change your mindsets and perceptions
- Develop the traits and characteristics that make you feel valuable
- Do affirmations and affirm a more positive reality
- Spend time processing the underlying wounds that are causing you feelings of shame, guilt, or self-pity
- Reinforce everything that you find to be valuable about yourself
- Discard the traits and characteristics that you don’t like about yourself, and work on developing better characteristics that are more aligned
Be more at peace
- Stop being so stressed all the time
- Find inner calmness and composure
- Increase mental health and vitality
- Change your perspective of stressful situations
- Develop a higher point of view outlook
- Develop existential beliefs
- Expose yourself to more situations in life to put it into perspective
- Gain more life experience and wisdom
- Train yourself to see the silver lining and develop an optimistic view
- Seek out spirituality and see what you can learn from it, and how it changes your interaction with the world around you
Train your intelligence
- Become a more capable and competent person to better navigate the world, capitalize on opportunities, and leverage your skills and abilities to get somewhere in life
- Increase your knowledge base
- Generally become more informed, about more subjects
- Improve comprehension of ideas and concepts
- Increase your processing speed
- Articulate information better
- Increase your memory
- Regularly do brain training exercises to stretch your mental muscle
- Do memory exercises to put it into practice
- Have more conversations with more people, about a wider range of subjects
- Read more books, watch documentaries, and pivot towards helpful media rather than entertainment
- Engage in debate and question things
- Put yourself in productive environments that enourage learning and growth
6 critical steps of personal development
Your personal development journey starts by cultivating an awareness of what you need to improve upon.
This is where you want to think critically about your life, and the areas that you feel you’re lacking. Refer back to the focus points of personal development to figure out where you need the most work, and what you can do to move the needle.
Write down all the different areas of your life that you need to work on. Prioritize those items from the most crucial to the least crucial to develop. Then within each item, brainstorm things that you could do to improve that part of your life.
Knowing what you need to work on is a start, but you probably don’t know what to do. This is why it’s important to seek information that you can use to help you grow.
See this stage as a theoretical component of personal development. Seeking out information on the subject will give you a much deeper understanding of why you’re not where you want to be, and what you can be doing better.
Start reading books on the subject, taking courses, watching videos, signing up for programs, and going to workshops. Inundate yourself with as much knowledge as possible about the area of focus, and you’ll have plenty of knowledge to actualize.
Setting goals is a crucial part of personal development because if you don’t have goals, you can easily lose motivation. Goals are organizational tools.
Aiming to talk to strangers without feeling anxious by the end of the year is a good goal, and gives you something to continuously work towards. Aiming to become extremely confident and charismatic by the end of the year is not a realistic goal. Therefore, make appropriate targets, but don’t overshoot.
Create realistic and actionable goals for your areas of focus. Divide these goals into weekly goals, monthly goals, and yearly goals, and make sure you stick to them.
Take inspired action
Being relatively knowledgeable about the subject gives you information to apply. Setting goals gives you a framework to apply them. What you need to do now is put it into action, and practice.
Taking inspired action is the practical component of personal development. You can learn everything about the subject at hand, but unless you take actionable steps toward the results you want, nothing is going to change.
Make sure that you do the heavy lifting. This involves getting out of your comfort zone and failing. It involves taking a risk and pushing yourself to grow as a person.
Personal development is not a quick process, rather you should see it as a lifestyle that fruits the energy you expend into it. Think of personal development as passive income. It manifests proportionately to the amount you feed it. The more energy you put into working on yourself, the more it will pay off.
It takes time to see the fruition of your hard work. At the start, you will feel like you’re grinding as the act of self-betterment is gradual, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see instant changes.
Your desire to change fuels the process of change. If you’re not hungry for change, you will get complacent. You will give up when it gets difficult, or when you feel discouraged or lost. But there needs to be a deeper yearning behind all of that.
Set your intentions and hold your reasons close because they’re going to be what carry you through to the end. Acknowledge that you will feel discouraged at times, and it might seem like a gruelingly slow process at times. But stick with it.
Be consistent with your effort, and continuously take small steps towards your goals. As long as you have the desire, you’re always going to be on the lookout for opportunities to develop yourself.
A small chat with a chop clerk is going to help you improve your interpersonal skills. A broken heart will teach you how to open your heart, even drinking a coffee in your garden is an act of being more mindful.
Think about how you can leverage any given experience to improve a skillset, characteristic, or mentality. Use everyday occurrences as opportunities to nudge yourself a little bit closer to who you want to become.