What is Personal Development?


What is personal development?

Personal development is a very big subject so what I would like to do is share with you 5 thoughts that I think are really important when it comes to addressing this topic.

1.Born for Personal Development 

I honestly think that we were put on this earth not just to grow physically but to grow our knowledge, skills and insights and to grow in the area of making good critical judgments, to grow in terms of how we relate to others, to grow in terms of our experience and our expertise and quite possibly also to grow in other areas such as our emotional and psychological well-being. and our spiritual growth.

So the first thing I’d like to share about personal development is that is the primary reason that we were all put here on planet earth. It is what we were born to achieve.  Therefore it is an absolutely key issue that we should all address in our lives.

2. Responsibility for Personal Development

I believe that personal development is a choice.  We can either choose to own it for ourselves and be responsible for it and accountable for it or we can choose to make somebody else responsible or accountable for it.

I remember in my early days in my career I honestly thought that my employer was primarily responsible but my personal development, my career development,  my overall well-being all the way through to retirement.

I changed that thought quite radically as a result of meeting with some different people who convinced me that actually it was my primary responsibility, it was my career and my future to manage.  I should not look to others or other organizations to do it for me.  Thank goodness I took on board that advice and made my personal development a very big value for myself and an area in which I clearly needed to accept responsibility and the need to invest time, energy and effort in this area of my life.

3. Personal Development is a Journey

I believe that personal development is a journey. It’s a journey in which we plan certain activities and events and we plan to do certain things over time frames and some of those plans come to fruition. They turn out to be really good personal development opportunities from which we learn and from which we grow.  There are others, notwithstanding that we’ve planned them carefully, that perhaps teach very little about ourselves or others or our situation. However, in a journey things happen to us which are unforeseen, they are unexpected and that is the case in personal development.  There are some things in my personal development journey that have happened to me quite out of the blue, which actually I didn’t welcome at the time, but which had a major impact on my future journey.

I remember, for example, I was due to take up a job in another country and I was involved in a car accident.  I was out of work for two months at the time that the move was being planned and during this two months I reflected on this move and decided ‘no this is something I actually did not want to do’.  I decided to explore other possibilities and as a result changed direction completely and went in a very different direction in terms of my personal growth and development.  This has proven to be incredibly good for me and for others around me.  I have learnt to love the word serendipity –  be prepared for the unexpected but be prepared for that to be good for you at the same time.

So,do make your own personal development plans.

4. Personal Development is Holistic

Personal development isn’t just about becoming the very best you can be in a given area of skill, such as a sports person. It’s also about addressing those areas which are not so good, those areas which require energy and effort and the areas in which we sometimes struggle, where we have weaknesses, where we have challenges, where we have temptations and where personal development is not that straightforward.

Personal development is all about planning those things which we enjoy, but planning to tackle those things which frankly we know we need to do.  We may not get a lot of pleasure from those things but we need to grow and develop in those areas to become a holistic rounded person.  I believe this is what we need to do not only for the good of ourselves but for the good of all those around us.


5. Personal Development is Multi Faceted

When it comes to successful personal development, it that may be our upbringing, our teachers, our University lecturers, our employers and our involvement in clubs or societies contribute to our personal development. The books that we read, the videos we watch and the people we befriend are other major contributors to our personal development. In other words, personal development is multi faceted. We therefore need to concentrate on all of these contributors in order to become the best that we can be until the day we die.


Take on board these truths about personal development and I honestly believe that you will live a happy and fulfilled life for your own benefit and the benefit of others.