I have described personal development simply as the process by which an individual plans to improve himself. We may have personal development plans related to family relationships, business, career, skill development, wealth creation or spiritual growth. The main goal of personal development is self improvement. We all desire to be better than we are today and need to make efforts daily to draw nearer our goals.
In the process of personal development, we discover ourselves. Our innate skills, abilities and gifting are uncovered when we consciously strive towards developing ourselves. If we do not make any effort to be better, we would never really know who we are. It is a lifelong process and really does not have an end. Any normal individual would want to aspire higher in order to achieve greater success.
Whatever may be your personal development goal, it will be unachievable if you do not develop a plan. You will need a plan which will help you pursue your personal development goals. A plan details how you will move from one point to the other and helps to uncover the areas where you may fail. Plans are like guides that help in the achievement of goals.
There are mainly four different stages of personal development that every individual goes through. I will be discussing these below.
Self discovery is the process of gaining more knowledge about yourself. At this first stage, the individual
is discovering who they really are. They are beginning to understand themselves, their character, values, needs and purpose in life. Here also, they are beginning to identify what interests them, their hopes, dreams and potentials. This does not happen overnight but comes after a constant searching to know who you are, what your goals are and what you intend to become in life.
This is the most important stage of personal development, because if you do not know yourself, you may never be able to make any headway in life. You need to look at your past and envisage the future. Based on the feedback you have got, find out who you have been and who you want to become in your future. This is a very critical point in every individual's life because without discovering yourself, you are bound to make a lot of mistakes. Self discovery helps you understand who you are. In the process, you begin to identify what strengths and weaknesses you possess. Discovery of self is necessary if you will ever be able to achieve any of your personal development goals, in fact when you don't know who you are, you will never be able to even pursue any goal. This is the most important stage of personal development, because if you do not know yourself, you may never be able to make any headway in life. You need to look at your past and envisage the future. Based on the feedback you have got, find out who you have been and who you want to become in your future. This is a very critical point in every individual's life because without discovering yourself, you are bound to make a lot of mistakes. Self discovery helps you understand who you are. In the process, you begin to identify what strengths and weaknesses you possess. Discovery of self is necessary if you will ever be able to achieve any of your personal development goals, in fact when you don't know who you are, you will never be able to even pursue any goal.
Self Development This is described as the process of developing your character and abilities. It all has to do with making progress in life. At this stage, you will need to assess what your current skill and competencies are. Through this process, you get to understand your strengths and the areas to improve upon. You will need to develop specific aspects of your mind and body and pursue your personal growth by identifying and enhancing your physical and mental skills in order to maximize your potential. Self development comprises of a set of actions you need to take to make yourself better and keep in the direction of your goals. Without it, your personal development
will not happen. If you want to become a better writer, you will need to identify objectively what you need to do in order to achieve it. It may be that you will need to attend workshops or writers training programmes. You may also need to get a mentor that would help you develop your writing skills. To develop yourself, you need to have a vision for your life. Living life without a vision will take you nowhere. After you have developed your vision, you need to develop goals that will help in the actualization of that vision. Your goals should be short term, medium term or long term.
This is described as the ability to recognize, understand and control your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self. This is achieved through the understanding and control of your thoughts, emotions and actions. When you improve your skills abilities, you are able to produce maximally. When you become a master in your chosen field, your self confidence increases and this brings feelings of happiness and satisfaction. When you have self mastery, you are in control of yourself and determine how you react and respond to issues.
In order to cultivate self mastery, you can regularly speak to yourself. When you are self-aware, you take charge of your thoughts. In order to master yourself, you must have to let go of negative past experiences and focus on the challenges ahead. If you are unable to allow the past remain behind, it would be difficult for you to move ahead. To develop self mastery, you will also need to change your pattern of thinking. No one knows it all so it is necessary to review all the decisions you make and make adjustments where possible. Another way you can gain self mastery is to maintain a journal where you can put down your behaviour and thought patterns. You can also use the journal to put down your thoughts and goals for living.
This is the stage in your personal development process that you realize your full potentials. Very few people get to the point of self actualization because they allow themselves to be stopped at one point or the other. At this stage, you have overcome the obstacles and challenges that life has brought your way and are able to maximize your potentials fully. The desire to attain this stage in our personal development plans helps us do all that is on our power to succeed. This desire drives men to use all the resources available to them to excel in everything they do. At this stage, the individual is said to have fully realized his potential.