Across the net there are many different words banded about like self development, personal development, self growth, personal growth, self help, etc. There is also much controversy and haziness around the self development field. Is it an airy-fairy subject and scam, or is there any substance behind it all?
Self Development - What is it?
If you take a step back and take a good look at your life, most people want to change something. If you are not fulfilling your dreams, goals, passions, etc., frustration kicks in. To experience true happiness something different needs to happen. A simple definition of self development is "moving from where you are now to where you want to be". This pursuit of self-knowledge and self-understanding is quite simply a decision to develop your 'self'.
Self Development - Why the stigma?
There are countless organisations who promise to "change your life". The self help industry is rife with phoneys and scammers with a lack of integrity. They over-promise and under-deliver claiming that reading a particular book or attending a specific seminar will transform your life and give you what you seek.
Then there are numerous scam reviews on companies and mentors who lure you in with the dream of financial freedom via a home based business or a work from home business opportunity. Months down the line you have made very little, if anything, and are further in debt and despair than you ever were.
You become disillusioned as you find that material you invested in (books, DVDs, courses, etc) never delivered real value. The 'free' mentoring course you signed up to took you down a path of escalating costs. Nothing came of the promises of being designated a wonderful mentor.
If you are lucky enough to find good material, you are very excited and motivated at first but then most people never get round to putting techniques learnt into practice. You get sucked back into the life you wanted to change in the first place. The stigma has developed from bad experiences and a failure of good mentorship.
Self Development - Are you doing it already?
Here are some of the numerous examples of Self Development, Personal Development, Self Growth or Personal Growth:
* Educational - You have a BSc Degree say and then decide to do an MSc or a PhD, or you decide to an evening class in a particular topic to take your learning to the next level.
* Pastimes - You enjoy a particular hobby, e.g., painting, and then attend additional classes to learn new techniques.
* Work/business - You invest time in learning how to do something more efficiently or more effectively.
* Home activities - You find a new way to get a chore done faster and/or with less stress.
* Hobbies - You have a hobby, e.g., Music, and decide to take formal exams to increase your knowledge on the subject.
* Travel - You operate a car, bus, lorry, motorbike, cycle, speedboat, etc., and decide to learn more about a certain aspect of it.
In essence, if you take your understanding of ANY aspect of your life to a higher level, no matter how big or small the steps, you are involved in self or personal development. You have made the commitment to open your mind to new concepts and ways of thinking.
Self Development - What is its true value?
Self development is a valuable component of everyday living. The beauty of learning a little more about something every day is that it can indeed change lives, especially if it is focussed learning and you know where you want it to take you.
It is the natural state of humans to be curious about their environment. When babies start crawling they put everything they find into their mouth as that is how they learn about the world. When toddlers start walking they investigate every nook and cranny they come across. Young children are forever asking "why?"
At some point in your life you stop being curious. You accept things as the status quo and even if you are deeply unhappy you stay put. Then one day you realise a need to do something more fulfilling. You have an overwhelming desire to follow a passion or dream, or crave more success (business, professional, social) or want to be healthier, richer, more at peace, etc. You become desperate to change something in your life.
Even more importantly you realise that that you can indeed change anything you wish and you begin to develop your 'self'. At long last you return to the 'state of curiosity' in which you were born.
Self Development - Why do it forever?
When you totally lose interest in change or what is happening around you, you start to think "What's the point of anything?" If you do not feel that you are growing constantly, you lose your sense of purpose.
Self development adds to your emotional health and emotional wealth. There is no end to your self growth and learning. However it takes effort, time, focus and commitment. It is not about a huge change overnight but about taking little steps daily.
Self help books did not exist a century ago. The personal development and personal growth industry is now a multi-billion dollar market and people of all ages are tapping into it. As you increase your skills, abilities and knowledge, your growth can deliver the joy, success and happiness you seek. Self development is invaluable in changing lives for the better.
To receive further articles do visit the 'FREE Self Development Newsletter' link below. For my Background, Passions and why I write articles like these, see: Dr JOY Madden