What is ‘Personal Development’?

Today, I have a single EduLink to share with you. An EduLink of great interest and one to get you thinking. Maybe even one that you’ll want to participate in:

Personal Development Blog – Group Writing Project: What Is Personal Development?

Personal Development Blog (which is great, so read it, nuff said) has been taking submissions of posts regarding that question. So I decided – since UniversityBlog is all about Higher Education and personal development within – I’d give this question the once over. Here’s my take:

Runners (photo by richermcm)

Personal Development Is…Appreciating the bigger picture
People often get bogged down with little annoyances that take up far too much time and get in the way of our thoughts. Before you know it, minutes, hours, days, weeks go by and you realise that you didn’t achieve much in that time. To make matters worse, you end up looking at people around you and think how many wonderful things they have achieved in that time, while you were in a fluster. 9 times out of 10, what’s the reaction? Usually it’s to get even more annoyed or depressed with yourself.

But the world is a big place. Don’t be fooled that it’s not. Sure, we can travel in a matter of hours from one side of the world to the other. Of course, we can now easily access more information than we had ever imagined possible just a few years ago. We can pick up a tiny mobile phone and use it pretty much wherever we want and call somebody up, wherever they are. The population of the world is increasing, but our natural resources are shrinking. It’s like a mass claustrophobic panic.

So you may well think the world is shrinking. But I would argue back that the world – and the number of possibilities – is expanding.

Because there is so much going on around us, it can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s best to begin your personal development by taking in the bigger picture. If you can research and understand the central concepts of something before you do anything else, you will have a much better focus for the nitty gritty at a later stage.

So rather than watch the world in fear, or feel discomfort that there’s too much to cope with, your personal development can be achieved by appreciating the bigger picture.

Personal Development Is…Taking control of what matters
Lifehacks are popular among many people. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’ve heard of lifehacks. If not, a ‘lifehack’ is a way or a technique to make a task easier or improve your productivity and understanding. It’s like a move toward continuing personal development.

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it many more times…if you’re enthusiastic about something and truly value it (no matter what it is), then you can take control of it and, in turn, develop your understanding and enhance your experiences.

If you find no spark and perhaps don’t even try to engage with what’s there, your personal development will not be able to shine. Enthusiasm equals productivity.

Personal Development Is…Understanding the joy of contradiction
We’re a diverse bunch. One person’s love is another person’s hate. In the same way, one person’s development is another person’s setback.

Because we all work in different ways, we have alternative methods of learning and expanding our horizons. This is why development is a personal thing. If we all worked off the same rule sheet, personal development wouldn’t be such an important pointer to our progress.

To discover new talents, it may only be possible if you are willing to discard what you think you know. When people say things like, “I’m set in my ways” and “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, it’s limiting and more of an excuse than anything else. So we must all be prepared to go as far as contradicting ourselves. Get rid of any pride and stubbornness and be prepared for anything. Then you’re on the road to personal development.

Personal Development Is…A positive attitude toward your life and well-being
Mental health is just as important as looking after your body. It has long been said that if the elderly maintain an active mind, they are more likely to be rewarded in keeping a positive mental state and continue to enjoy their life to the max.

I believe this is true, no matter how old you are. To grow in mental stature, a positive outlook on personal development is needed. If you want something, you’re already in a better position to get it.

This is not about selfish demands. It’s simply acknowledging a need for continued action and a willingness to do all that you can in both finding goals and then working powerfully toward them.

Personal Development Is…Questioning, Answering, Debating, Engaging
‘Balance’ is a keyword regarding personal development. We are not always right in what we say and we sometimes have a struggle to help someone out when they are wrong. There’s a lot of scope for disaster if we’re not ‘on the ball’ at all times.

That is why it’s good to do the following:

  • question things;
  • answer other people’s questions when they need help;
  • debate an issue that doesn’t have a clear answer, or hear other people’s opinions if an agreement is not easily made;
  • engage in the issues and involve yourself in what’s going on.

An active interest and a balanced viewpoint can go a long way, even if you have a biased or strong opinion on something that doesn’t have a strict answer.

Personal Development Is…Here to stay…
…because even the smallest advance in your learning and experience is satisfying. We’re not going to grow tired of finding something to put a smile on our face and a bit more confidence in what we do!