What is personal development and its importance?
What comes to mind when you hear these two words, “personal development”? Do you break it down and define each word as a singular entity, then add them up again to get the compound meaning? Regardless of how you arrive at your own definition of the term, your answer will imply self-improvement. But then again, we can’t simply equate personal development to self-improvement, as personal development covers other aspects of human development, that cannot be summarized in self-improvement.
An introduction to Personal development
Personal development is a conscious commitment to self-edification and improvement. In simpler words, personal development deals with the acquisition of necessary skills, knowledge, information, and tools needed to help you get better in your field. While many people may tend to think that personal development occurs, when you sit down in front of a mentor or a teacher to learn something new, that is not always the case. Contrary to this misconception, personal development does not happen in a day, week, or even months; it is a lifelong process. Which implies that you would always have to access your skills, strength, assets, and potentials every day, to see if they get a little closer to your goals in life.
Personal development is applicable to people in all walks of life. Whether you are a student, studying to get a degree, an employee, looking to earn a promotion in an organization or the CEO of a firm, looking to create effective business solutions that’ll put your business on the map, personal development is for you. As a matter of fact, you can’t build wealth or make significant headway in your career without personal developing yourself through an effective personal development plan. Aristotle, a renowned Greek Philosopher, defined personal development as a special kind of practical intelligence (Phronesis), that when practiced, can bring about happiness (Eudaimonia) or prosperity.
The Importance of Personal development
- Discover yourself: While it may seem impractical that an individual can exist without fully comprehending who he/she really is, it is actually true. You can’t achieve true prosperity and fulfillment without coming to terms with who you really are. Personal development can expose parts of yourself that you probably don’t even know, exist.
- Develop a sense of direction: When you have a plan of what you want to accomplish, your life will develop its own compass, pointing you in the direction that you need to go.
- Enhanced efficiency and focus: With personal development comes clarity and precision. In other words, you won’t have to struggle through tasks and projects that may require your attention. As you improve in your personal development commitment, you will know effective ways to prioritize your task and projects. Also, you will be able to pinpoint tasks that will provide sizeable returns on investment using accessible resources.
- Stay motivated: the easiest way to stay motivated in your career, or field, is to have a clear picture of the expected rewards for your actions. Regardless of whether the task at hand is pleasurable or not, you’ll stay motivated because you know that it will get you closer to your main objectives. As they say, “where there is will, there’s a way”.
- Resistance to stress, adversity, and change: Life is not a straight line, where everything goes according to plan. Instead, it is full of ups and downs. At some point in your career, you’ll face challenges that may threaten your position. Through personal development, you can prepare yourself for the tough times, whether they come or not.
- Build Fruitful relationships: Your relationship with your colleagues, friends, and other individuals can work in two ways. They can either make it easier for you to achieve your dreams or make it difficult for you to get to where you want to be. Through personal development, you can maintain a strategic distance from negative vibes, and stick with likeminded people.
How to write a personal development plan
So what is a personal development plan, and how do you write and implement it in your day to day life?
Simply put, a personal development plan is a step by step process that helps structure your thinking. As humans, we create plans and imagine possibilities in our heads, every day. However, we ignore important details that will help bring those plans to fruition. Not to mention the fact that some of these plans are not practical and so are impossible to achieve. As a result, most people’s plans live and die in their dreams without ever coming to fruition.
Personal development plans are processes or activities that help you define and prioritize things that are important to you. That way, you know what you want to achieve, the skill sets and potentials that you already possess, things you need to work on, and how long it will take to achieve it.
As personal development is a lifelong process, you can’t rush the creation and execution of your personal development plan. Keep in mind that every innovative plan, requires commitment, hard work, and time to achieve. While there are no known devices, for measuring how self-developed a person is, you can still measure your progress by keeping to a personal development template.
You can tweak the following template to suit your personal preference when you need to create an effective personal development plan for achieving your objectives.
Template for personal development
- Outline your goals: write down your goals and objectives, as they come to mind.
- Place in order of priority: place the goals that you have written above, in order of their importance.
- Set a time limit: You’ll have a hard time achieving your goals and objectives when you don’t have a time limit for accomplishing those goals. So, set a time limit for accomplishing the goals that you have listed above.
- Know your strength/weaknesses: Know your strengths, so you can capitalize on them. Know your weaknesses so you can work on them.
- Differentiate between threats and opportunities: Your personal habits can make or break your progress in life, so learn to recognize opportunities as they come.
- Acquire the necessary skills: You’ll need to learn to a few skills to transition from where you are right now, to where you want to be.
- Execute your plans: This is the time to make bold steps. If you want to turn your situation around for the better, you need to take a few daring actions.
- Get help: You don’t necessarily need to do it all by yourself. If you know someone or people, who can help you get to your destination faster, seek their help!
- Quantify your progress: the best way to motivate yourself, in this life long journey of personal development, is to keep a tab on your progress. Whether it’s marginal progress or sizeable progress, give yourself a pat on the back and move on.
Regardless of who you are, where you are from, or where you are going in life, you’ll need personal development to achieve your aims and objectives in life. Personal development is a lifelong investment, with unending dividends and returns.
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