Personal development is a process that spans ones whole life. It defines the process of assessing ones skills, qualities and abilities, and trying to match them with objectives in life. It can summarily be said to be a way of seeking to exploit ones potential to the fullest extent.
The Scope and Examples of Personal Development Activities
PSI Seminars offers people a chance to go through their personalized training. The activities you pursue in an effort to develop yourself should be focused on increasing self awareness, identifying inherent and acquired talents. The end goal is to build potent human capital and improve your chances of being gainfully employed. This, in turn, it is assumed, will better the quality of life you lead. As opposed to the common misconception by many people that personal development is only about the self, ideally personal development includes an effort to develop others too. If you are interested in training other people acquire specific skills that improve their chance of competing in the world of employment and business, you are certainly pursuing personal development goals.
Personal Development in Institutions
When this term is applied in institutional circles, it refers to the sum total of the programs, approaches, techniques and tools used to support human resource development at personal level.
Some of the activities that encourage and support personal development efforts include:
Helping you become aware of yourself and your abilities
Boosting self knowledge
Helping you become a self leader
Inculcating new skills or improving existing ones
Developing ones spiritually
Developing human capital
Helping one achieve their aspirations in life
Identifying, developing and effecting personal development plans(commonly referred to as (PDPs)
Encouraging autonomy in life
Improving social abilities
Helping people improve their health
Helping people improve their quality of life
Identifying ones potential
Other Spheres of Personal Development
Outside the self-improvement sphere, personal development is also a field of research and practice. In practice, personal development refers to the methods of improving oneself, the learning programs designed to help people in various disciplines, the set systems of assessment, techniques and tools that help mentors and coaches achieve training goals and objectives.
As a research field, it is an attractive area of study that stirs interest from scholars and independent researchers. The subject is common in scientific journals, business books, educational reviews and management guides.
Assessing Personal Development
Although personal development is most commonly used to refer to self-initiated efforts to improve oneself in various aspects of career and social aspects, any development can only be gauged if there is an elaborate system to measure progress and level of achievement against the passage of time. Therefore, when referring to personal development that involves progress as initiated by individuals, there must be defined criteria to determine achievement and progress, or the lack of these elements. Of course, a measure may reflect regression sometimes. Whether it is progress, stagnation or regression, measuring criteria helps you make changes to the strategies you use to develop yourself. There must be, to begin with, clear cut aspects of behavior to be measured. This means that you must derive objectives. These objectives must be crafted along the standard conventions of specificity, measurability, achievability , realistic consideration and, finally, they must also be time bound. Consequently, you are the primary judge of self-improvement. You must subject the results of your assessment to the various milestones defined in your objectives. Once you have determined the end results by careful evaluation, decide whether you will alter some aspects of the strategies you are using, or whether they are working just fine so you continue applying them. One other critically important aspect of the process of measuring progress is establishing effective and frequent feedback mechanisms which tell you the effect of any changes you introduce.
Theoretical Basis for Personal Development Strategies
One of the most common references for personal development is the self actualization theory by Abraham Maslow (1970). The theory explains that everyone has an innate personal development need. This occurs through the self-actualization process.
It is explained that the level and extent that people achieve in self development is strongly influenced by the presence or absence of certain needs which are of hierarchical nature. In other words, certain needs must be met before you can realistically achieve some personal development goals. It states that changes occur in ones age the needs that motivate behaviour also change.
In summary, Maslow presented his findings in the form of a pyramid. Here is a list of the needs in bullet form. Note that the top most need occurs at the bottom of the pyramid. The order follows the same sequence to the top of the pyramid.
Security and safety needs
Love and belonging
Self esteem needs
The need to understand life
Note that the strength of the needs and their ability to influence behavior is strongest at the top of the list (bottom of the pyramid), and decreases downwards.
Although the experiences we are subjected to in the formative years of our lives; i.e. childhood, with our parents, caregivers and, later, school teachers, personal development should not stop at the end of our interaction with these people.
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