Personal Development Defined

Personal development is simply the act of enjoying your life and of being in control of it. You learn to make decisions every day that guide you towards achieving a set of goals or values, and remaining motivated to achieve your goals. Personal development helps you work more effectively and efficiently yet maintain your focus on what really matters in your life.

istock_000005276784xsmall.jpgThe first personal development book was published by Samuel Smiles in 1859. He opens his book with the quote, “Heaven helps those who help themselves.” Also known as self-help, there is a great variety of resources available to offer guidance through nearly any of life’s trials and tribulations.

There are some commonalities seen carried throughout most personal development texts, articles, teachings, and so forth:

1. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Many people seeking to improve themselves have become jaded or beaten down by society, by their hectic lives, or by financial troubles. Their perspective of the world has changed over the years from childish innocence and optimism to outright anger and mistrust.

A key factor in successful self improvement is to be able to affect a shift in attitude to one of optimism. In reaching toward personal development you must learn to ask yourself what you can find about any given situation that is good, positive, and beneficial to you.

2. Banish Negativity

You must learn to prevent negative thoughts from invading your mind and tarnishing your thoughts. If you allow negative thoughts to prevail, you will suddenly be questioning your abilities, your looks, your values, your intelligence, or anything else with which you may harbor insecurities. In order to achieve positive change you must learn to keep the negative thoughts at bay.

3. Seek Knowledge

Approach every setback as a challenge, and look for the positive outcomes of any troublesome situation. For every difficult experience there is something to be gained, and there really is truth in the saying, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Adversity does not build character, but rather it reveals character. Take the opportunity to learn about yourself through the challenges you face.

4. Define Your Values

A large part of self-improvement or personal development is determining what in life is truly important to you. Examine what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what gets you excited, and how you would like to be remembered. Your values are your roadmap that guides you through life, keeps you interested and excited, and makes you want to strive to do better. Before you can improve yourself, you must figure out where you are going.

5. Build Solid Relationships

You cannot make it through this crazy world without developing some supportive relationships in your life. You need to associate with those people who share similar goals and values as you, and then create a supportive environment that helps you flourish. Learn to cast away hurtful or parasitic relationships, because they erode your energy, take your precious time away from you, and are harmful to your emotional well being.

6. Refine Your Focus

Learn how to work more efficiently by maintaining controlled focus on one task at a time. Exercising good time management techniques are an important part of personal development, because they free up time in your life to enjoy yourself and give you a sense of control over your life. Learning to control your focus and become task oriented help you regain many lost hours.

The overriding theme of personal development is to determine where you are in life right now, examine what brought you to this point, accept responsibility for your choices and actions that led you to where you are, and determine where you want to go from here. The goal is to work towards those things that are important to you and fulfill you rather than work towards someone else’s expectations of you. You take steps to become a happier, more satisfied person who is emotionally grounded and socially well adjusted.

Every one of us has different goals in life, different values, and as such, will walk a different path towards self realization. Only you can decide, through careful contemplation, which path is right for you. You can achieve self-fulfillment, though – all you have to do is take the first step.

Thanks to Widow’s Quest for including this post in the Carnival of Positive Thinking, to for featuring this post in the Total Mind and Body Fitness Carnival along with our article for Calories in chicken salad, and to Your Health Guide for publishing this post in the Carnival of Inspiration and Motivation.

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