Self-care is how you take your power back. - Lalah Delia.
The importance of self-development is undeniable in current times. The whole world is consumed by a lot of negative energy that leaves us with very little hope of a better world. But despite the situation being so grim, all is not lost. Investing in personal development could turn out to be a life-changing event for you and imagine what it could do to the world when every individual starts practicing self-learning and self-development!
You must be familiar by now with the words time management, self-confidence, and self-awareness. But the question is what do you do with them? What are the ways to improve these skills? Where do you get started? The concept of personal development can be traced back to the pages of human history. Core skills of self-enhancement encompass a variety of things such as organization skills, effective communication, interpersonal relations, or emotional intelligence. These skills not only look good on your CV, but they also help you immensely in the personal sphere. Personal development skills can span a range of activities including soft skills, technical skills, or even yoga!
What is Personal Development?
Human life is all about achieving goals. Your life goals could vary a great deal depending on,
- Your upbringing.
- Your peers.
- Role models.
- Life experiences.
Self-development is a subject that has, in the last couple of years, gained a lot of traction both in society and in economics. Having said that, most people still wonder how and why to prioritize self-growth at all. This is despite the fact that the process of developing more complex indices of wealth and well-being has been in motion to include wider parameters of growth and development.
One could say that the biggest challenge is to exactly define what personal development is and what skills constitute the achievement of self-growth.
Defining Personal Development
Although there is no single or precise definition of personal development, many philosophers, researchers, and social scientists have tried to put together a sort of a guiding definition to establish the skills required for self-development. In this regard, personal development may be defined as the expansion of self-awareness and knowledge in the quest for self-growth, by consciously working on life skills.
Now for this to work, you must invest in yourself first. What this means is that you invest in improving those aspects of your personality that deter you from achieving your goals, while strengthening those that help you get there. This can be conducive to leading a healthy and happy life. This has spillover effects in your professional life as well by leading to the expansion of your worldview and opening up new career opportunities.
The other important contribution this has is in improving your physical well-being, significantly. Many personal development trainers use different methodologies including yoga, meditation, martial arts, and running to improve the overall physiological functioning of your body. This, in turn, again uplifts your mood and improves mental well-being.
Reasons for Personal Development
The reasons for personal development goals are unique to an individual. Your reasons for having a set of goals may vary considerably from that of your siblings or neighbor. Having said that, a closer analysis reveals that there are certain underlying needs of every human that drives their goal-setting behaviors.
Understanding the Importance of Personal Development through Maslow's Theory
A lot of research on the quality of human life and related factors have yielded many theories over a long period of time. One of the most popular theories among them is Maslow's hierarchy of needs which tries to simplify the stages and causes of human development phases. The theory is a good starting point for you to do a self-assessment of your needs and set development goals accordingly.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's theory is based on a hierarchy of human needs rising from the most basic to higher needs. It is represented in the form of a pyramid.
- At the bottom of the pyramid are the basic physiological needs that include food, water, clothing, etc.
- The basic needs are followed by safety needs that include things like health, financial security, and safety against any harm or injury.
- The third level of needs is characterized by love and belongingness. Humans are social animals who crave love and need to feel like they belong to a group like family or friends.
- The next level constitutes the esteem needs. Confidence and self-respect are core components of self-development. For example, something as simple as working on your presentation skills can be majorly improved by, simultaneously, building up confidence in yourself.
- Self-actualization needs are the final level of needs in the hierarchy. These relate to the cognitive aspects of human life. People crave knowledge, which is why personal development should not be a short-term but long-term commitment. This step signifies a sort of a culmination of your efforts towards achieving your life goals. But it is noteworthy to mention here that this step is far from being the final destination. On the contrary, it is something you must strive to achieve on a daily basis.
Planning for Your Personal Development
Setting a personal development regime is important to achieve life goals and self-growth. It helps to put milestones against the skills you wish to learn and nurture in your journey of self-development. Many of us have been taught from an early age to set goals that are achievable. The challenge is to define a goal that is achievable and realistic. Here are some useful tips to get you started on your personal development plan.
Visualize and Define Your Goal
The important first step towards self-development is to establish a goal that is realistic, achievable, relevant to your life, and is time-bound. You can always set vague goals like "I want to become a billionaire!" but that won't get you anywhere if you can't quantify and measure that goal. An easy way to redefine the same goal would be to say, "By the age of 40, I would start and manage a business that will be earning in the billions every year." This sounds more realistic and measurable, and can also be broken down into achievable milestones- another important component of goal-setting. Every successful personal and professional development journey begins with those who set goals.
Break Down Your Goal into Milestones
This is a crucial part of goal-setting. You can have very achievable and realistic goals, but until and unless you have markers along the way to help you check and restrategize from time to time, you will have a tough time in getting to your final destination. Whether you’re taking part in development programs, career planning, or personality development – development plans should begin by defining each step you will have to take to achieve your goals. Each step should also clearly indicate the kind of resources you need- mentors, courses, funds, etc.
Implement and Evaluate
Remember that your goal is time-bound. Don't wait for things to happen, rather, make them happen. Make the goals work for you more than you work for them. Try to stick to the plan as much as possible. And while planning, account for adversities and uncertainties. This is where the role of evaluation kicks in. It helps you change the plan in light of new information. And gets you back on track.
Investing in Personal Development
The path to self-realization is not easy and marked with obstacles. While you may have the passion to achieve your goals, procrastination caused by a lack of direction can often lead to an indefinite delay in your development process. But there are ways to uplift your spirit and get you back on track every time you feel like you are going to falter.
Find Some Me Time
When you say Yes to others, make sure you're not saying No to yourself. - Paulo Coehlo
It's not something that's out of this world. You probably do it anyway, all you need to do is regularize it and make it productive. It’s not as complicated, nor as pseudo-scientific as it sounds. It can include simple things like reading, finding time to do what you like, exercising, etc. Basically, you need to make time to do things that can help you get in touch with yourself.
Practicing mindfulness, an evolved form of meditation is a beautiful self-care and self-development practice and skills that you can practice and master. There are other basic changes that you can make in your daily routine that can have a lasting impact:
- Have a To-Do list to help you get organized.
- Seek guidance from a mentor.
- Volunteer in work that you are passionate about.
- Maintain a journal.
- Invest in having insightful conversations.
Engage with Self-Help Books and Other Resources
Self-improvement resources come in a number of different guises, all depending on what kind of development you seek. There are tons of self-help books that can help you through any situation in life. With the availability of online resources, you are spoilt for choices there as well. TED talks, podcasts, music, self-development apps- everything is available online.
And if you still need more reasons to invest in yourself, why don't book an online class with one of the experts at Superprof? Come delve into the unending world of the human mind and see the joy of self-discovery!