Personal Development – What is that?

Although I think the the answer is probably very subjective and open to interpretation I will do my best to give you an answer that I think is accurate.  It will, if anything, be my interpretation.

I have been thinking about this for a while.  “Just what is Personal Development?”.  I mean what does it actually do for you?  We could look at that question and give a relatively simply answer: –

“Personal Development is any process, teaching or experience that improves us in many ways.  Ultimately creating a better person”  or as Wikipedia states: –

Personal development for individuals refers to actions oriented towards one or more of the following aims:

  • improving self awareness
  • improving self knowledge
  • building or renewing identity
  • developing strengths or talents
  • identifying or improving potential
  • building employ ability or human capital
  • enhancing lifestyle or the quality of life
  • realizing dreams
  • Fulfilling aspirations

But there in is the challenge.  How can we quantify what ‘improves’ means.  Or looking at Wikipedia how can we be certain that is the full list of what encompasses Personal Development?

I am not so sure we can, just like we can try to ‘explain’ what Love is but really we all have different answers to that.  We know how it feels and we THINK we feel about like others do but really we can never really know.

You might have read this before – “Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy dream”.  That might be a good place to start when looking at Personal Development.  Earl Nightingale is considered the “Father” of all personal development.

He created an audio track on Vinyl called “The Strangest Secret”.  If you have not heard this I RECOMMEND you get a copy!  It is excellent.  That was the first ever recorded Personal Development message.  It was a huge hit and changed the lives of millions of people.

Earl talked mainly about achieving more in life.  About getting ahead in an world full of opportunities.

And I think that might be where the answer is.

Perhaps Personal Development can be accepted as anything that helps you in life.  It could be a book about selling, a CD on relationships or even a meeting with someone who makes you feel empowered.  Whatever gets you to move towards your goals.

Perhaps even it’s a book that helps you set goals!

There is also an excellent book called the Magic of Thinking Big by Dr David Schwartz. You can see my view of that book here.

So is there an a way we can define this?  Most likely but I think to do that would confine Personal Development and that’s exactly what it is trying to help us avoid.

Personal Development as an object is focused on helping us expand and realise our goals and dreams.

If you are reading this it would be good to get some thoughts.  What do you think?