Personal development is a necessity. This is because we are created to thrive and become better every day. We view our environment from the way we think, and the way we relate with people based on our experiences. Our speech, actions, and reactions are shaped by the experiences we have built over the years. By implication, we are what we constantly think.
Now, what is personal development?
Personal Development is the conscious pursuit of personal growth by expanding self-awareness and knowledge and improving personal skills. – Myrko Thum
It is about growing the seed of our inner abilities and potentials to grow and manifest in our lives; about creating a balanced and complete self in harmony with our life purpose through the optimal use of our talents, time, and other resources. Again, it is about finding and actualizing the real you – which is perfect and whole in itself. – Wisdom Times Blog
Another author says Personal development refers to those activities that improve a person’s talents, potential, employability, consciousness, and ability to realize dreams and create wealth. In short, it’s what you do to improve yourself and your prospects in life.
From the above definitions, we can gather that Personal development entails self-consciousness and deliberateness to become valuable. It is about engaging one’s self to become resourceful to himself, then to society. Also, we can say that the mind becomes acquainted with what it is exposed to in order to produce a better you.
Personal Development has to begin from the mind, and it has to be a deliberate effort for one to attain it. It is a process that takes a lifetime to attain because it never ends. There is no stage of knowledge that can be considered too much. Consider development to be a learning process. No matter the heights of knowledge you attain, more depths are yet to be uncovered.
In this developmental process, the mind awakens self-consciousness, which opens bare the untapped aspects of our existence. The yearnings for more becomes activated, and the learning process continues. The mind, therefore, is the leading proponent for personal development.
William Walker Atkinson’s Your Mind And How To Use It – Exposes How The Mind Facilitates Person Development
William Atkinson’s Your Mind And How To Use It attempts to reveal how the mind functions and how useful it is in self-realization and subsequently personal development.
He said in his synopsis that “it is not enough to have a sound mind-one must also learn how to use it if he would become mentally efficient”. Of course, mental efficiency facilitates general productivity.
Some of the factors that control the mind and facilitate personal development include:
William Atkinson examined the art of consciousness in the fifth chapter of “Your Mind And How To Use It”. He says:
The fact of consciousness is the great mystery of psychology. It is difficult even to define the term, although every person of average intelligence understands what is sought to be conveyed by it. Webster defines it as “knowledge of one’s own existence, sensations, mental operations, etc.; immediate knowledge or perception of any object, state, or sensation; being aware; being sensible of. Another authority defines the term as “the state of being aware of one’s sensations; the power, faculty, or mental state of being aware of one’s own existence, condition at the moment, thoughts, feelings, and actions.” Halleck’s definition is: “That indefinable characteristic of mental states which causes us to be aware of them.
The Idea of Awareness
It will be seen that the idea of “awareness” is the essence of the idea of consciousness. But, at the last, we are compelled to acknowledge that it is impossible to closely define consciousness, for it is something so entirely unique and different from anything else that we have no other terms at all synonymous to it. We can define it only in its own terms, as will be seen by reference to the definitions above given. And it is equally impossible to clearly account for its appearance and being.
Huxley has well said: “How it is that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about by the result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of the jinnee when Aladdin rubbed his lamp.” All that we can ever know regarding the nature of consciousness must be learned from turning the consciousness in ourselves back upon itself—by focusing consciousness upon its own mental operations by means of introspection. By turning inward the conscious gaze we may perceive the flow of the stream of thought from its rise from the subconscious regions of the mind to its final disappearance in the same region.
The Inward Scope
It is a common error to suppose that we are directly conscious of objects outside of ourselves. This is impossible, for there is no direct knowledge of such outside objects. We are conscious merely of our sensations of, or mental images of, the outside objects. All that it is possible for us to be directly conscious of are our own mental experiences or states. We cannot be directly conscious of anything outside of our own minds. We are not directly conscious of the tree which we see; we are directly conscious merely of the sensation of the nerves arising from the impact of the light waves carrying the image of the tree.
We are not directly conscious of the tree when we touch it and perceive its character in that way; we are directly conscious merely of the sensation reported by the nerves in the fingertips which have come in contact with the tree. We are directly conscious even of our own bodies only in the same way. It is necessary for the mind to experience that of which it may become conscious. We are conscious only of (1) that which our mind is experiencing at this moment, or (2) that which it has experienced in the past, and which is being re-experienced this moment by the process of the memory, or which is being re-combined or re-arranged this moment by the imagination.
We Relate More With Our Inner Self Than With the Environment
Atkinson’s perception of human consciousness reveals that the more conscious one is of himself, the more need to improve on himself he finds. Our ability to develop society is largely dependent on how much need we have been able to spot about developing ourselves.
We relate and interact closely with ourselves inwardly than we do with our environment. This is because when no one is around, one inner self is present. Even while our conscious self is away in sleep, the subconscious is still active and because the consciousness of ourselves facilitates knowledge of our capabilities, and tailors our productivity.
The Concept of Attention
Atkinson’s book also attempted to examine what attention entails in the workings of our minds, and it is a major attribute needed in personal development. The Concept agrees with the theory of consistency because consistency births stability, and attention is what produces consistency. This is to say that the more attention is given to a thing, the more it blossoms.
Atkinson elaborates thus:
It is of the utmost importance that one should cultivate
his power of voluntary attention. Not only is the willpower
strengthened and developed in this way, but every mental
faculty is developed by reason thereof. The training of the
voluntary attention is the first step in mental development.
You must train your mind towards the direction you want it to go. In essence, you have to give attention to yourself first, in order to understand yourself better, because knowing yourself enables you to have knowledge of your capabilities. This way, you know what exactly you need to develop about yourself.
To become relevant, you need to train yourself into becoming better at what you do. In order to train yourself, you ought to be conscious about yourself, then about your environment. And for you to be conscious about yourself and your environment, you have to be attentive to them. These are reasons why we have dragged part of William Atkinson’s literary piece into this article.
Ways To Improve Personal Development
It is important to be deliberate about developing one’s self. It is the path to reaching your goal and fulfilling your dreams. This is because the world is highly competitive, yet, everyone can play their roles uniquely and in a way no one else does. We will consider some possible actions to equip you for personal development
Personal Development Plan
This is the period immediately after the burden is birthed. It is the process of laying down strategies and drafting out the intended action. This strategy often emanates from within the context of one’s knowledge and experiences, as well as perceptions. And this is usually in pursuit of becoming better within the sphere of a person’s ambitions, as may pertain to any area of his life.
Personal Development Goals
Personal Development Goals may seem similar to Personal Development Plans. However, they differ in some ways. Personal Development Goals emphasize a target, while the Plans emphasize Strategy.
The aim of personal development goals is to enable the setter to expect qualitative or sometimes quantitative outcomes. This is because there is no point in planning without possessing an expected outcome. This means that a person who sets his development goals ensures that there is an expected result at the end of the day. It is like saying you must put in deliberate efforts if you want to reach a destination.
For instance, there is a process to follow if you want to embark on a journey. Especially to a place you have never traveled to before. First, there has to be a destination you plan on traveling to. Again, you must have a road map that should guide you on your planned journey. In addition, you should have a means of transportation which should move you from your current spot to your envisaged point. Finally, to complete your journey, you must begin to drive, using your transportation means.
Ensure to do these three things to enhance the achievability of your personal development goals
1. Form A Vision
You are at a particular point now, and there is a point you desire to be. Your vision is the point where you want to be. You should have a mental image of how developed you plan to become. It is also important to form your vision within a time-bound time frame.
2. Make An Achievability Strategy
Self-awareness is important for personal development to thrive. This is because knowledge of self exposes one’s areas of interests and that of their weakness. If this is known, what to train becomes easy. This will help you prioritize the important stuff that should undergo the process of personal development. This is also a point where steps to follow should be created. The formula must be established and the activities to be carried out has to be cropped up. Finally, the strategy on how to implement and drive towards the vision has to be carved out as well.
3. Evaluate Whether It Is Working
This is an important aspect of every project. A check has to be put on every process as it progresses, and unfolds. Every project or program experiences achievements and challenges and these are the things to monitor. This is because keeping tabs on what is not working, helps you to re-strategize and reinforce new tactics. What is working can be given less attention. Better still, it could be improved and made better. And what is not working should be overhauled. That’s how you can make it work.
Personal Development Skills
Personal development skills are characteristics that an individual possesses. It could be by reason of adoption through exposure, or it could hereditary from family lineage. Such attributes help an individual to perform effectively and uniquely as well.
Improving on these qualities can boost productivity and promote awareness of self and confidence in one’s ability.
There is no limit to how much we can push ourselves to do better. There is only a limit to how far we can go because we didn’t push ourselves to become better.
Some of the personal development skills to consider
1. Interpersonal Skill
This refers to the ability of a person to interact well with other people, and he does so by effective communication and attentive listening techniques. Interpersonal skill also involves giving out a positive attitude. Either as initiated by the person giving it out, or as a response or reaction to other people’s deeds.
2. Communication Skill
This is the ability to disseminate ideas or emotions as produced by an individual, or in response to other people’s actions in a friendly and productive manner. Communication can either be carried out verbally or nonverbally
Adaptability is the swiftness to positively respond to changes in the trend and practices, and in policy adjustments and change of leadership patterns, or even in an entire management transition. Such skill is needed for stabilizing an organization’s productivity stance, in spite of the volatile surrounding’s disposition.
This entails the capability of utilizing ideas in determining the positive outcomes in an organization. Here, critical thinking meets with creativity and the resultant effects are new and resourceful inventions.
5. Problem Solving
This is the quality of trashing out existing problems within a company without necessarily compromising other sectors within the company. This is done effectively and in a timely manner. Problem-solving begins with identifying the problem, tracing the root cause, producing a plan on how to fix it, and then provide the solution.
Organizational skills enable a person to use their time, resources, and energy in ensuring that the right items are at the right places at the right time. And it also ensures that the right things are done at the right time. Organizational skills make it easy for other sets of skills to thrive within an organization.
This involves the quality of being modest and honest, imbibing strong adherence to moral principles and ethics and without the intention for compromises. This skill is required in every sector of life, and it begins with the individual
Personal Development Activities
Personal Development Activities are workouts and disciplines an individual engages himself with in order to attain personal development. These activities have to be deliberate and consistent and engaging in them helps in ensuring that a person does not remain static with their abilities. Some of such activities include:
1. Daily Workouts
Engaging in daily physical exercises helps reduce body weights and stiffness. This keeps a person fit and grows discipline in you. This is an activity that could help a person’s development either physically or mentally or both ways.
Networking is a way of engaging yourself in conversation, acquaintance, and collaboration with individuals who have built a reasonable degree of expertise and experience. Their wealth of knowledge can be tapped from and developed upon. This makes a person’s personal abilities grow stronger and better.
This may not appear to be an activity that may need development, however, when it is deliberate and with an aim, it proves to enhance development. Devoting time to relaxation has a way of releasing the tension, and refreshing the mind. It helps a person to be more active and productive.
4. Progressive Learning
There is no doubt about the adage ‘learning never ends. In fact, it is a necessity to keep learning because as the world evolves, it also revolves. New trends emerge, new norms are adopted and the system keeps progressing. Therefore, it becomes pertinent to keep learning every day. This is a crucial ingredient for personal development because it keeps you up to date and makes you relevant. Learning continually could be by way of reading books and articles, attending seminars, workshops, and symposiums, and by simply asking questions where one needs knowledge and clarity.
5. Getting A Hobby
Hobbies are casual activities frequently carried out by an individual at leisure time. In most cases, hobbies are carried out for fun. However, hobbies can be engaging and they can also help develop a person’s capabilities. Who knows when you might need the skill of your hobby to carry out a more serious task?
6. Early To Bed, Early To Rise
Early to bed and early to rise they say makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. This has proven to be a trustworthy saying. Going to bed early helps in waking up early, and waking up early helps in pursuing the day’s goals with confidence. It helps in proper planning for the day’s activities, and you stand to achieve so much.
7. Find A Mentor
Mentors are very resourceful because they provide guidance on how to approach a matter. They also help in keeping track of a person’s progress as he strives to achieve some goals. Having mentors can help a person become accountable for the goals he seeks to achieve.
8. Ask For Feedbacks
Feedbacks are also useful for tracking progress and ensuring that we are giving in our best. It provides us with information about our strengths and weaknesses, and it also exposes our achievements and challenges. When we ask for feedback, we must stay open-minded, as we may receive accolades or criticisms. The accolades help boost our confidence and the criticisms help us work on grey areas
9. Fight Procrastination
It has been said that procrastination is the thief of time because we are limited in many ways when we keep postponing the things we could ordinarily do at the moment. You must be deliberate about deciding to do the things you ought to do NOW. It is a secret that has made many success stories today.
10. Develop Patience
Patience is a virtue needed by anyone who desires to grow and reach the heights of their goals. Being patient entails devoting extra time to reading in between the lines and doing things diligently. Patience invokes the spirit of devotion, which in turn births consistency and excellence
11. Imbibe A Meditative Culture
Meditation they say is the mother of innovation. It is a powerful tool used by many individuals to succeed in their ventures. Meditation engages the mind and activates the power of possibility. It is an exercise that has birthed lots of products we enjoy today.
12. Learn To Speak Publicly
A major setback for many talents is lost confidence. And in most cases, loss of confidence is from the inability to express what lies inside a person. Many people return to themselves because of a lack of confidence to express themselves, this is why learning Public Speaking is important – because it helps to power up a person’s confidence. When there is a release of a burden, there is a relief on the individual and it leaves you confident to brood on something else.
13. Start A New Business
Another important way to develop one’s personality is to dare and attempt to do something. Try to start up a business and see if it is something you are cut out for. You will never know until you give it a try, so, do well to give it a shot. Follow the link to learn how to Start Up A Business
The list is unending for activities that one can engage in to achieve optimum personal development milestones
Personal Development is a necessity for a progressive society because if the individuals are built, the society is equipped with (human) resources to keep it moving. When we focus on developing ourselves, it becomes easy for us to develop anyone or anything.