What Is Personal Development?

The term personal development covers so many topics but I like to summarise it as the ongoing pursuit of improving yourself and realising your full potential. 

Everyone has a different path, everyone has different values and different goals they want to achieve, but the underlying motivations are the same. We all want to be as successful as possible, we all want fulfilment.

The best way of understanding personal development is by looking at two structures for how you can live your life.

The first structure is the way that people normally live their lives. The second structure is the way that people live their lives when they’re pursuing personal development. This second structure might be unfamiliar to you if you’re new to personal development.

The Normal Structure

The First problem

The most common way people go about their life is as follows: you firstly encounter some kind of problem in your life that you want to get handled. For example, you have issues with your finances. 

You’ve got a lot of debt, or you’re not content with your current salary, or you’re too frivolous with money. You realise that you need to get this problem sorted, so you look for a solution.

Once you’ve identified the problem and how to solve it, you start taking steps to improve the situation. This could be putting money aside each month to pay off your credit cards, or moving to a new job with a better salary, or cutting down on your spending.

The Second Problem

Once this problem is fixed, you can then move onto another problem that you need to address. The second problem you need to address is that you’ve got a bad habit of procrastinating and you’re not being productive.

Since the problem with your finances is solved, you don’t need to think about it anymore so you can now focus on fixing this new problem. You find some good tips for reducing your procrastination, so now that you’ve got this procrastination problem handled, you can then forget about it and address a new problem.

Most people live their lives in this cycle of fixing one problem and then encountering another. All of these issues are distinct from one another, so as soon as you’ve fixed one issue, you can completely forget about it and never have to think about it again.

It’s still good if you’re making positive changes because you’re already doing more than most people are doing. Most people remain stuck in the same situation for years because they’ve made no effort to improve, solve or change the situation.

However, jumping from one problem to another and looking for a quick solution isn’t how you reach your full potential.

The Personal Development Structure

The structure for a person that’s pursuing personal development would be as follows. you encounter some kind of problem in your life that you want to get handled. For example, you have issues with your finances.

You’ve got a lot of debt, or you’re not content with your current salary, or you’re too frivolous with money. But rather than viewing your life as lots of individual problems, you’re viewing your life through a personal development lens; so the outlook is vastly different.

You see your life is composed of all these different areas like your physique, your financial situation, your intelligence, your work ethic, your dating life. You have maybe 20 or 30 of these areas, and in each area, you have a rank between 1-10 of how developed you are.

So in the nutrition area, let’s say you’re an 8. You eat fairly healthy, you could probably improve slightly but it’s not an area of focus for you, it’s not an area that’s causing a lot of misery in your life.

On the other hand, you’re a 3 in the finance area. You want to earn more money, get rid of your debt or your spending habits.

The Big Picture

When you have this big picture vision of personal development, you have all these different areas that you want to max out, so that you’re 10/10. This is a lifelong process of going through each of these areas and systematically improving each area of your life.

For someone that’s trying to grow themselves, this isn’t about making some more money in your job to solve the problem. this is about setting up your life so that you’re financially independent, and never have to worry about money again.

Personal development isn’t about fixing some kind of dysfunction, it’s about maximising your potential in life.

When you have this personal development vision, it completely changes your motivation for making these improvements in your life, and it completely changes the results you get.

When you don’t have this long-term vision in your mind, the improvements you do make in your life might not even be permanent because you lose sight of them once you’ve temporarily fixed them. When you don’t have a permanent motivation it’s easy to fall back into your old habits.

The structure of most people’s lives is about jumping from problem to problem, looking for the quickest way to get a quick solution.

The personal development structure is about trying to master all of these individual segments of your life, which are all constituents of an overall mission to grow yourself.

Scarcity and Abundance

There are two different types of pleasure, scarcity pleasure and abundance pleasure.

Scarcity pleasure is the satisfaction that you get from removing stress, fear, pain or any other negative feelings. Most of your thoughts and behaviours are motivated by scarcity pleasure.

Examples of scarcity pleasure are breaking your procrastination habit, losing some weight, getting out of depression, getting a promotion in a job you dislike, removing the feeling of loneliness by finding a partner.

Abundance pleasure is the ecstasy that you feel from functioning at your prime. This is the bliss that you get from creating the most meaningful and fulfilling life possible.

Examples of abundance pleasure are feeling energised and excited to take action every day, achieving your dream physique, developing full control over your emotions, starting up your dream business, creating an amazing relationship with your dream partner.

Abundance pleasure is about reaching and exceeding your biggest goals, generating extraordinary results, and living up to your highest values.

In the beginning, there will be problems and negative characteristics that you need to address first. Starting up your dream business would be difficult if you have a habit of procrastination. But once you overcome these sticking points, you then have the capability to achieve remarkable things.

Scarcity pleasure isn’t less important than abundance pleasure, it’s an integral part of the personal development process. However, you should set your sights higher than just finding solutions to your problems. This is how you can get the most out of personal development.

Now that you know a bit more about what personal development is, the article on Where To Start With Personal Development will provide you with more details on the next steps recommended for you.

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