Personal development - a lifelong process

Personal development can be a powerful process for individuals aspiring for significant, positive and lasting change in how they see themselves and the world. It focuses on increasing your self-awareness, looking at life goals, personal challenges and long-standing aspirations.

The benefits of investing in oneself are many, the 3 core areas are:

1. Self-awareness

The first step of is self-awareness. The journey of discovery to discover why we really are and to see the real potential within us.

““Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
― C.G. Jung

2. Develops Direction 

The process of becoming more enlightened on who we are, what we want and a new belief that we can achieve our goals,  and be willing to make decisions about our future.

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

3. Motivation & Action

Once a clear decision has been made, personal development material can help us to stay focused and motivated on the path to achieving our goals.

“Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them.” –Anonymous

One definition of Personal Development

Personal Development is the conscious pursuit of individual growth by expanding self-awareness and knowledge and improving individual skills.

It includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations.

It is also a lifelong process. It’s the keyway for people to stop and assess their skills and qualities, consider their aims in life and set goals in order to realise and maximise their potential.

The concept is not limited to self-help but includes formal and informal activities for developing others in roles such as teacher, guide, counselor, manager, life coach or mentor. When personal development takes place in the context of institutions, it refers to the methods, programs, tools, techniques, and assessment systems that support human development at the individual level in organisations.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Will Durant

Personal Development at Individual Level

At the level of the individual, it includes the following activities:

  • Improving self-awareness
  • Improving self-knowledge
  • Building or renewing identity/self-esteem
  • Developing strengths or talents
  • Improving wealth
  • Spiritual development
  • Identifying or improving potential
  • Building employability or human capital
  • Enhancing lifestyle or the quality of life
  • Improving health
  • Fulfilling aspirations
  • Initiating a life enterprise or personal autonomy
  • Defining and executing plans
  • Improving social abilities

The concept covers a wider field than self-development or self-help: personal development also includes developing other people. This may take place through roles such as those of a teacher or mentor, either through a personal competency (such as the skill of certain managers in developing the potential of employees) or a professional service (such as providing training, assessment or coaching).

Personal Development – Practice and Research

Beyond improving oneself and developing others, personal development is a field of practice and research. As a field of practice, it includes personal development methods, learning programs, assessment systems, tools, and techniques. As a field of research, personal development topics increasingly appear in scientific journals, higher education reviews, management journals, and business books.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw

Any sort of development, whether economic, political, biological, organisational or personal, requires a framework if one wishes to know whether a change has actually occurred. In the case of personal development, an individual often functions as the primary judge of improvement, but a validation of objective improvement requires assessment using standard criteria.

Personal development frameworks may include goals or benchmarks that define the end-points, strategies or plans for reaching goals, measurement, and assessment of progress, levels or stages that define milestones along a development path, and a feedback system to provide information on changes.

Personal development is a much used term. It is about taking the time and, making the commitment, to invest in your greatest resource – you. When you put the effort in to developing yourself, the rewards are amazing. Many people are put off personal development because the results are not always measurable. However, the greatest achievers in life know that the key to success is the ability to manage yourself in a variety of situations.