Personal Development

I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking about the kind of content and the value of the content I provide here on and actually, the rest of my life as well.  I strive to provide a wide range of topics with a personal touch based on my own learning and experiences so that I can accelerate the personal growth of others in a similar way to how I’ve had that opportunity because of others’ work.  This has always motivated me in my own efforts and I must say it continues to do so.  At the same time, I’m finding times of reflection where I look to explore the best value I can provide and its a great challenge to realize what is most worthwhile both to me and to others in my quest for life improvement.

There are three main areas that feed our patterns and behaviors and I’m taking a look at how these areas fit into thinking about personal development.  Obviously, I’ve experienced many of these stages and hope to share some perspective on what this journey of personal development can become!

Expansion Versus Focus

I have found there to be a cycle of growth where personal development can expand into so many topics and inspire someone to learn an immense amount of topics and devour huge masses of material.  This does exceptional things to a person by expanding their knowledge and building a confidence in learning that enables them to tackle new subject matter and absorb more and more into practice in their lives.  The power of this is hard to describe if you haven’t experienced it yourself because it seems like it creates an exponential period of growth.

While that period of growth can feel great it is actually enabled by a period of addiction, not in a negative sense but one that keeps driving you further and further. It provides an opportunity to meet several basic needs; significance, variety and certainty in ourselves and our abilities.  Addictions are reinforced by meeting these needs (in this case positive) and for some people, this period of addiction may even last years.  Eventually though, this period of expansion typically brings one to a period of assessment as the personal development stops driving those needs at the same level.  Perhaps the significance of it fades or the variety is gone from the content or even that the certainty turns into some feelings of doubt or wonderment.  This breaks that additive cycle and leaves room for change typically leading to new focus which brings back some significance and certainly in what is learned and experienced, not to mention variety by doing things differently.  This time of focus drives us deeper into a subject and we look to specialize in it even more.  This cycle of course is useful since we can learn from it and apply it in a way that is lasting and fulfilling to us and others.

Dialog and Language

This is one of the my most impactful areas I’m learned and changed during my journey of personal development and provides a huge opportunity for all who explore it.  The way that I think, my beliefs, my knowledge and everything I’ve learned has shaped the way I interact with people and the language I use in conversation and with myself and my thoughts.  I’ve learned to make the most of things, be open and even welcoming of change, positive and encouraging with my dialog and hopeful wherever possible.  The impact this has is immense and its life changing, to be honest.  These is also another side of that coin however, in that this vibrant positive core is easily disconnected in our society that advertises pain and problems.  While such dialog of encouraging words and stories can be inspiring to many, it also separates us from being connected to those dwelling on problems and presents a bigger challenge when it comes to relating to others and finding first impression commonalities.  This puts strain on relationships and unknowingly steers people away.

I truly belief the risk of disconnection is worth it however, as the opportunity is always there to inspire people and hopefully make some lasting change in others’ lives.  Dialog and language fortunately are one of the best ways to convey ourselves and our beliefs and so our influence with others come largely from this area. If we are honest and authentic when connecting with others, our dialog and language should not damage our relationships, but uplift them and strengthen them.

Emotions and Physiology

The third area I know is impacted by studying personal development is our emotions and physiology. Emotions are a result of our choices and are easily the single biggest factor in the quality of our life that is under our direct control.  Unfortunately, emotions are more often than not, uncontrolled and we let them take the better of us by responding in a negative manner to events in our lives.  Studying personal development brings emotional control to the forefront and one can learn through practice and decision to change what emotions control them and what emotions they control as individuals.

Our physiology is a broad area of course but ultimately its about understanding how our body’s and lives actually work.  The mind, our health and the way our body adapts to its environment and inputs is not only an astonishing thing to study, but also an important one to understand if we want to make ourselves the best we can be.  Our physiology is deeply connected with our emotions as our chemical processes in our minds are triggered by all areas of the body and so these areas must be looked at together in order to make sense of them and to steer them positively in our lives.

So while I continue to grow in my own personal development, I challenge you to stop and think about the long term effects of what studying personal development can or has already done for you?  What impact has it had on you directly?  What about on the people around you in your life?

Prev: What is Learned From Running a Blog?
Next: The Problem with Leadership