Personal development has to do with all that an individual does to make his or her life better than it is. It has to do with all the activities that an individual gets involved with to help them develop their skills, talents and abilities. These activities help to enhance their quality of life. It is a process that continues throughout the life of an individual.
There are several techniques, tools and techniques for personal development and over the years it has evolved into a field of study and profession for many people. Through all the ages, decades and years, people have always desired to improve and develop themselves. Man is a unique being and desires a better life. It has existed from time immemorial and some of the major religions of the world have various practices that help in bringing about personal development. These may include prayer, music, poetry, writing and sports. In ancient Greece, various methods such as abstinence from sex, dieting, meditation were used. Also in Islam, there are personal development techniques which include pilgrimage, fasting and recitation of the Quran.
Throughout history, there have been various groups that have contributed to the growth of the personal development industry. I shall be examining some of them in this article.
The great Greek philosopher, Aristotle propounded his own theory on personal development and described it as the practice of certain virtues that lead to happiness
and a state of well being. His theory emphasized the fact that all human beings like to flourish and that was the end of all their striving in life. He stated that there are four aspects of human nature which are: 1. We are all physical beings that require exercise, rest and nourishment and anything that would keep us functioning optimally; 2. We are emotional beings who are able to desire something and have the power to get it; 3. We are social beings who live and function well together; 4. We are rational beings and able to reason.
Confucius, another philosopher emphasized morality and in all relationships and spoke out about justice and equality. He also believed in goodness and willingness to help others and also believed that people should live with the highest ethical standards.
In 1727, a group was established to help its members improve themselves. This group comprised of 12 men who included clerks, printer, bartenders came together on Friday evenings to discuss different issues of interest. It was put together by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia.
Several philosophers and psychologists have studied personal development over the years which have made it become extremely popular in the last few years as people the world over have taken a lot of interest in applying its principles to enhance their lives. In 2006, the release of the best selling personal development movie known as 'The Secret' sparked renewed interest in the subject all over the world. It was written by Rhonda Bryes and featured Bob Proctor and Jack Canfield. The film became so popular and raised the awareness about personal development to another level. It has had an estimated viewing audience of over 250 million people all over the world.
In 1910, the classic, 'The Science of Getting Rich' by Wallace Wattles taught people that if they changed their thoughts and way of life, they could become people of great wealth. It encouraged people to live in a creative way and was opposed to living life in a competitive manner. Also, Napoleon Hill an American author published the best seller, 'Think and Grow Rich'. It was based on the years he spent studying 500 of the wealthiest people in the United States of America. This book has impacted millions of people and inspired them to take their personal development goals more seriously. The book
emphasizes the fact that there is a process and formula to making money and anyone who follows that formula would become rich and successful.
The personal development industry was also impacted by the popular radio show personality, Earl Nightingale who eventually became an expert in the field. He recorded thousands of personal development shows and he had a listening audience in over 20 countries. Another individual who made a tremendous impact in the industry was Bob Proctor. He developed instructional matters that help people to develop their minds.
Benefits of Personal DevelopmentPersonal development has a lot of benefits that it provides for individuals, some of which include:
- It helps to enhance and improve their skills
- It helps to increase their knowledge level
- It helps to increase their self awareness
- It helps to improve their self esteem and confidence
- It helps them develop their strengths and talents
Personal development is part of human life and the industry will grow even as more people are becoming aware of their need for it. In every aspect of our lives, there is a need to develop our capacity and improve our skills. Any individual without a plan for personal development will be behind in their field of study or career. In our daily personal and business relationship, there is a need for continuous personal development. There is virtually no area of our lives today that can do without a plan for personal development. In sports, athletes must learn new skills and train better if they want to succeed; scientists must develop easier and better methods of doing things if they are to remain relevant; teachers must learn new teaching and assessment skills if they are to make maximum impact on their students; business people must also strive to adopt new approaches that will increase sales and earn them higher profits. Everyone must be growing and advancing from one level to the other. The one who is not is headed for failure. Change is dynamic and those who do not prepare for unexpected occurrences and changes usually end up frustrated in life.
Personal development has come a long way and it has a long, positive history. Everyone should put in more effort to make their lives better for themselves, their children and society at large.