It is not uncommon, for the terms, personal development and growth, to be met with a certain amount of sighing and an expression of 'been there done that'! We've been learning about the idea since we were in school and we've been working on it since forever. So, what is going to be different about this one?
Well, for starters I am not going to be talking about the conventional idea. Secondly, I am a believer of skill development. If it isn't taking you ahead, it doesn't matter. Whatever the subject, it needs to add value. Otherwise, it belongs in the bin. So let's familiarise ourselves with what actually goes into the whole process of personal development and growth.
Understanding Personal Development and Growth
1. It refers to the accumulation of life skills that help a person to live a productive and satisfying life.
2. PERSONAL Development and PERSONALITY Development are two very different things!
3. When we talk about personal development, we are essentially talking about achieving success. It could be professional or personal.
4. It involves setting attainable goals and using problem solving strategies that will help you attain growth.
A very crucial point is, Personal development, unlike personality development, cannot be inculcated. It cannot be given to you in a beautifully wrapped gift basket or as a 4 week program! You are your only hope as far as personal development is concerned.
This is because it is a lifelong process. With every new hurdle, you will pick up a new skill and that skill will lead to more growth and development. Although there is no set path on how to achieve personal development (since it is subjective), I will point out the activities that it entails.
Markers for Personal Development & Growth
1. Improved self-awareness
You gain a better understanding of yourself. Your strength, weakness, abilities and also what is beyond your capabilities.
2. Greater self-knowledge
It is one thing to be aware and a totally different thing to know. When we undertake personal development, we have the opportunity to get to know ourselves better. Because the truth is, we know practically nothing about ourselves. Others know more than we do! So it is important that we find out more about ourselves.
3. Learning new skills
You will pick up new skills, related to your work or even to your personal life. There is an enhancement of our skill set and we become proficient in more ways.
4. Improving existing skills
It is not always about learning new things. Every now and then, the armour which is already in the arsenal needs to be sharpened. You already learnt so much over the years. Now, get on to making them better.
5. Setting better targets
99% of the times, we fail to achieve our targets because we set unrealistic ones. There is no shame in failing, but it is stupid to set a bar that is beyond one's imagination to reach. So in order to develop, we must make it a habit to set short term, achievable goals.
6. Identifying potential
I am talking about those hidden talents. Maybe even suppressed talents. All of us have a truckload of those. It is essential to bring them out of the closet.
Remember, we can never be the best version of ourselves, until and unless we are doing what we love to do. You may also have some skills that you didn't know about! We"ll be even better! Time to bring those to the forefront.
7. Improving Social Skills
This is not only for the socially awkward. If you are someone who gets uncomfortable in social situations, then no doubt, personal development will help you to become more open and comfortable.
But also people who are absolutely comfortable in social situations, the question is, "Are you interesting enough to spend time with?" Find out. Get to know everything about the person you are and compare it with the person you think you are. The results may just astound you!
8. Personal Autonomy
In simple words, making a decision and executing it, without outside influence. You are the captain of your ship and nobody knows how to sail it better than you. There is a sense of independence that comes from personal development. The rule is simple. Eye on the prize.
Personal development and growth are not something you can measure in quantifiable units always. But the measurement in my view is simple.
Ask yourself, "Am I better than I was yesterday? Or am I still the same old?" The answer will determine the outcome of your decisions. So keep that on. Don't always consider success as the only marker. Success is a great marker, but definitely not the only one. You are much more than your last success and your next failure.