Personal development, also known as “self-actualisation”, is all about polishing off your strengths, working on your weaknesses and broadening your horizons. As part of the hierarchy of needs, it’s one of the core pillars of human health, happiness and satisfaction.
By improving, diversifying and working on yourself—whether learning new skills or building on existing ones—you’ll be better equipped to engage with life and deal with the challenges it throws your way.
What Does Personal Development Mean for Me?
The answer is different for everyone; it all depends on your strengths, weaknesses, values, interests and life goals. It could refer to something as minor as trying a new food or as major as retraining as a chef—to give two culinary examples. Of course, personal development comes in countless other forms too: social, artistic, physical, professional, emotional and more.
Improving on the skills and attributes that matter to you are among the healthiest, longest-lasting ways to build self-confidence and create genuine happiness. Plus, as the name suggests, personal development is a pursuit that’s 100% unique to you. After all, there’s no way to get caught up in unhealthy competition when everybody’s after a different prize
Picking a Direction
The sheer amount of possibilities life presents are overwhelming. It can be easy to feel paralysed by the choices that you encounter each day. By knowing how you want to improve as a person, you can make choices that better serve your ultimate goals and values. Knowing how you want to develop is about knowing yourself, and there’s no better feeling than aligning your choices with your desires.
Giving Mistakes Meaning
Mistakes are a natural part of life. Without a clear sense of direction, however, they can be disheartening and cause a serious blow to your self-confidence. By working with a mind to personal development, you can recontextualise mistakes and begin to see them as steps on the path to improvement.
Finding the Right Pace
Everyone is on their own road of personal development, whether they know it or not. Some people are happy to pitch up on one spot along that road, staying there for years; others speed along its winding track, taking each corner at lightning-fast speeds and risking a crash at every turn. Needless to say, neither of these are ideal ways to approach personal development: one leads to stagnation while the other leads to burnout (if not outright injury).
The key is to find a rate of self-improvement that’s fast enough to give you energy and keep you motivated, while leisurely enough to make room for some much-needed relaxation time and reflection. Getting the pace right will make each day rewarding and endlessly exciting.
Reflecting on your personal development will help you chart your daily actions in terms of an overarching life-goal, giving you a greater sense of meaning. It’ll also boost your motivation, keep you focused and give you a healthier attitude to failure. There’s a reason it’s on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: without it, there’d be a serious ‘blank spot’ plaguing your daily pursuits...