There are so many benefits of personal development, it is hard to decide which are best to promote. I've thought long and hard about it. I didn't start with 9, but in the end, I chose the ones that meant the most to me over my 73 years of life. See if you agree with my list.
It didn't take me long to realize that personal development is a term which can mean different things to different people. So, it is probably best to begin with a definition. I like to keep things simple. Here is how I define personal development:
Personal development is a process of improvement a person uses to dramatically change their life for the better.
That is so right on the money. And, while it is easy to talk about, it is also very difficult to do. That being the case, why would someone choose to put themselves through such a grueling process? The answer, of course, is for the reward at the end of the journey.
Life is not easy. And for some people, it can be downright harsh. Nobody escapes having challenges along the way. What's sad is how many people accept what happens to them and fail to take the proactive actions that over time can make all the difference in the world.
In some cases, the obstacles could have been foreseen and bypassed. In other cases, when the challenges happen, the question becomes, what are we going to do about it? In today's world there are a lot of resources at our disposal, but it is attitude, mindset and actions that sets everything in motion. It is the Law Of Causality.
When people work on themselves, the benefits of personal development would make a tremendous difference in how their lives work out. This is, again, why Jim said, "Work harder on yourself than you do on your job."
Before a challenge makes an appearance, a person can set goals, make plans, and take action. The question is not can they do something to mitigate the obstacle, but will they? While there are no guarantees of success, it sure feels awfully good to accomplish a task, goal or dream. It can take our lives to another level. A better level. Taking initiative matters.
Isn't that what we are all striving for? A rich and rewarding life? Of course. We all want a life that makes us feel alive and right for reality.
This article is not about different strategies for personal development. You will find those strategies in other parts of this website. This article is about the benefits of personal development and what you can expect to achieve when you commit to that type of life. Yes, you read that right. I said a life of personal development. No matter your age, you need to continually develop yourself to reach more potential.
1. Reaching Your Potential: Jim Rohn said, "The big challenge in life is to become all that you have the ability of becoming." Humans are not a static life form. We can act. And better yet we can act intelligently.
We all have potential. It's not just the child that changes and matures to become an adult. There is more growth to be had after schooling has ended. There is more knowledge to gain and more skills to acquire.
The question becomes - how much of your potential will you reach? And it's important to note that potential is a choice. Some people will probably disagree with that last statement. They will say that a person is a product of their environment. Well, that can be true, but only if a person chooses to do nothing about their circumstances. For instance, a person can change their environment. They do not have to stay were they are. They can radically change their environment by moving. Jim Rohn says it best, "You are not a tree." So true.
But the big changes will come to you primarily when you decide to change yourself. I'm not talking about changing your environment. I'm talking about changing you, the person. And, yes, Jim Rohn had a saying for that as well. He said, "For things to change for you, you have to change." He's talking about the benefits of personal development.
The point of all of the above is that nobody has to leave a lot of their potential on the table, so to speak. This is not an abstract theory, this is fact. It's been proven over and over again. There are plenty of stories that prove the point. We are talking about your life, day in and day out. Every moment of it. If you are not happy with how your life is going...you can do something about it.
2. Developing A Growth Mindset: This benefit is related to #1 - Reaching Your Potential. It is with a growth mindset that you have a chance of reaching your potential. Scientists have learned that the brain itself, and its structure, are not fixed. The brain can change over time. They call it Plasticity.
You have a say in how your brain changes over time. You do that by the choices you make, the values you have, the beliefs you adhere to or change from, the experiences you have, the habits you create, and the use of reason you use to figure things out. New brain cells are created; new connections are made with new paths which change the structure of the brain itself.
That being the case, there are many people who believe they are the way they are and cannot change. That's called having a fixed mindset. Well, if they act like they have a fixed mindset where they can't change anything, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. And, of course, they do not change.
It does not have to stay that way. Learn about what a growth mindset can do for you. And then, when you change your mindset, you will change their life.
I suggest you read my article about having a growth mindset. I make that suggestion because with a growth mindset you take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. Isn't that exciting? In fact, you don't even have to wait for opportunities; you can create them. Which is even more exciting.
3. Learning To Set Goals: Do you have a vision for what you want in life? Have you set some goals to achieve? How are you going to make those dreams a reality?
How often do you achieve your goals? I ask because so few people achieve the goals they set on New Year's day. And I can't help but wonder if that also occurs when they set goals at other times of the year.
Setting goals, making plans, and taking action on those plans are benefits of personal development. You can get better at this over time. There are plenty of goal setting tutorials around the internet. Find one that resonates with you. You could even get a personal coach. Everything is figureoutable.
A primary benefit of achieving goals is obtaining happiness. It's been shown that by "making progress," happiness happens. So, it's not just the achievement of reaching a goal that matters, it's the journey itself. It may be difficult, and you won't always succeed, but the more often you work at and accomplish goals, the happier you will be.
Another benefit of achieving goals is a rise in your self-esteem. Every time you accomplish a goal, you get a bump in self-esteem.
4. Changing Your Direction When Necessary: I bet you are not surprised when I quote Jim Rohn again. He said, "Direction equals destination. You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction." How true. (By now, I'm sure you can tell Jim Rohn had a big influence on my life. He was amazing.)
The choice is yours. For instance, a person might ask themselves, "Do I go in this direction in terms of my career? Or do I go in a different direction? Do I stay in this city or will I follow a newly discovered opportunity that requires me to move?" It's called free choice. Of course, it's not entirely free. There are the consequences of going outside your comfort zone to consider.
You have to think through each choice, weigh the possibilities and decide. One of the benefits of personal development is getting clarity on your values, goals, and dreams. In this case, you would ask yourself, "What do I value more? The extra money I would make in an unfamiliar city where I know no one, or staying here but earning less money? Do I say yes to the Offer? Say no?" Life is about making decisions.
5. Getting Better At Taking Initiative: This is where the rubber meets the road. In the end, it is what you do that matters. All the thinking in the world won't matter if you do not take initiative and take action. What is it you want to have, be, or do? Make a list. Always keep in mind that the purpose of life is to live, not merely survive.
So here is the definition of initiative: "Initiative is the ability to judge what needs to be done and to take action." Go over your list again. What resononates with you from that list? One more than the others? Then, by all means, go for it. Take initiative. And here is the something to consider - the more you take initiative, the easier it gets. So practice it. Even on small goals. Even on chores. Just get started and see how far it will take you. When you do, you will be experiencing first hand the benefits of personal development.
6. Developing Self-Discipline: Let's begin with the fact that self-discipline is a skill that can be learned and practiced. You can make it a habit.
Nobody just drifts to success and, in the process, their dreams. It takes both thought and effort. Everything worthwhile is upstream, so you have to paddle. The good news is that other people are doing it which means you can too.
Yes, you will have to go outside your comfort zone. That's where your dreams reside. That being the case, you can break your dream into smaller steps to make it easier to achieve and less scary. The smaller the steps, the better. And, when you start a new steps, you must concentrate and focus only on the step your'e working on. Ignore the negative chatter that may be going on in your head.
Finally, in terms of self-discipline...commit. Commitment changes everything. As Jim Rohn says, “Motivation is what gets you started. Commitment is what keeps you going.”
7. Improving Your Mental Focus: In my article on developing mental focus, I say that we live in what I call the "Era Of Distractions." Make no mistake about it, distractions left unchecked, lead to disaster. So how do you deal with today's distractions?
All is under control, you say. Congratulations. That is not very typical at all. If, on the other hand, you need help dealing with distractions, that would be one of the benefits of personal development for you. Focusing is a skill. You can develop that skil over time. Indeed, you can make focusing a habit. The time and effort you put into it will be worth it. Many times over.
8. What To Do When You Are Not Motivated: Has this ever happened to you? You know you should do something, but you just aren't motivated. Well, what if there were techniques to deal with that? But you didn't know it. Wouldn't that be a shame. One of the benefits of personal development is dealing with that situation.
On this website is a Motivational Toolbox. Inside you will find philosophies, principles, and strategies that can help you overcome a mental state that leaves you wanting. There is one technique I use often called The 5 Second Rule. It really works great. In 5 seconds? Yep.
And now you see 8 of the 9 benefits of personal development which can help you make that happen. One more benefit to go!
9. How To Deal With Failure: Michael Jordan has shown us how to deal with failure. When asked about his tremendous success, he said, "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game willing shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." In other words, to Michael, failure is nothing more than a learning experience. A chance to grow and do better the next time.
Nelson Mandela is credited with saying, "I never lose. I either win or I learn." That is the same attitude Michael Jordan has.
Success leaves clues. These quotes by two, such successful people are major clues in how to deal with failure. You must consider it as a learning experience. Nothing more, nothing less. Isn't that a great attitude to adopt? And as you get better at it, you develop mental toughness and resilience. You become stronger.
Learning to deal with failure is one of the biggest benefits of personal development. But it is not all that is affected. So, too, is your self-esteem. Your belief in yourself will grow. And because of that, you will find yourself taking on more goals, more challenges. Motivation becomes easier.
So now you can see 9 benefits of personal development that should get you excited. And what a difference you can make in your life if you get serious about your personal development. It is a journey, an adventure, worth pursuing.
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