So what is this thing called “personal development” anyway? Simply “developing yourself”? Sure, you could look at it this way, however there are so many deeper insights and techniques which have been developed throughout centuries. Certainly, at least some of these insights can help us uniquely in “developing ourself”.
First, Personal Development is often considered synonymous with personal growth, self help, or self improvement. A key thing underlying all of these is “personal” or “self”, meaning this is all about taking responsibility for YOU, not others. This is a challenge for some, especially those who tend to think very highly of themselves, and are more focused on giving advice to others, holding an attitude that they are fine the way they are. This is the initial and most important challenge of personal development, namely recognizing that we always have room for improvement and if we do not try to improve, then we stagnate and impede our own success. It is about investing in yourself. Is this selfish? Certainly not, by improving yourself you are helping others, as you will offer more to others around you, e.g. better relationships, higher productivity, improved communication, better health and fitness and maybe even earning more money!
Personal Development is an attitude, it means you are always seeking new ideas and strategies. You know your education did not end when you finished formal schooling, in one sense it just began. Most formal schooling teaches you little on how to really succeed in the important things in life, such as relationships, career development, health, nutrition, being a good parent, happiness, etc.? Do you want to improve, or just coast along in life? This is not a judgement of you, rather a choice you make in your own life that will impact your future.
I believe balance is a key factor in personal development. While you may seek to improve one skill in particular, perhaps public speaking, you do not want to ignore your health, which involves good nutrition and exercise. For me it is mind, body, and soul, the latter being spiritual development, which may not be of interest to everyone. But where should one start? It is a personal thing, you need to assess yourself and determine where you need improvement. If you are unsure, just start reading various self help authors and see what seems to key into your own life and challenges. Travel down whatever learning path strikes your interest, explore and you will find an incredible amount of ideas of which you were not aware.
There are so many techniques and tools out there for personal development. NLP is a more recent popular tool. Or read books, download audio books and listen to CDs from proven personal development trainers are great ways to go. There is free information on the internet but you will want to invest in yourself for more targeted in-depth information.
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Antonia Stuart-James is an English Hypnotherapist in Belgium helping people to make positive change.