Do you have goals; both at work and socially, that you’re steadily working towards? Are you constantly trying to evolve as a human being – or are you happy to drift along, not worrying about what the future might bring so long as you’re reasonably content with life right now? In this article we will talk about why focusing on personal development will let you make the most of your life
Personal development is the process of assessing your skills and abilities, and setting yourself goals that will help you unlock and maximize your potential. For some people, this is a natural, lifelong process. Unfortunately, for others, it falls by the wayside; after they leave school or college and get into the workforce, they stop trying to build their skills and knowledge and get lost in the daily grind.
If you’re unsure where you fall on this spectrum, these free personal development tests will help you assess which aspects of your working life are good and which have room for improvement. It’s important to identify this, as lack of personal development can limit your potential and hamper growth.
Why is Personal Development Necessary?
People who don’t develop eventually tend to fall back in their professional lives, because the newer workforce has a more up-to-date skill set. Here are some reasons why you should focus on personal development and keep learning:
Personal development can be very satisfying and give you a feeling of accomplishment. For example, many people choose to learn a new language later in life, which isn’t easy and requires a lot of dedication. However, the feeling of accomplishment when you carry out a full conversation in the new language with a native speaker is unparalleled. Adding a new skill to your repertoire will have an impact on your professional as well as personal life.
Personal development will make you more productive. When you focus on yourself, you’re more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You can capitalize on your strengths and work to reduce your weaknesses. As you improve your skills and knowledge, you will improve your ability to do your work more efficiently and quickly. This improved productivity will have an impact on your professional life and also give you more job satisfaction.
People who understand the importance of personal development are also more focused and driven. They know how to sort through and prioritise their tasks and get them done on time. You’ll have better clarity and understanding of your own ability. You can identify which task you can complete effectively with the resources available to you at the given moment. If you struggle to focus, you may find this article useful on how to train your brain.
Personal development will help you develop a can-do attitude towards life and work. Most people either underestimate or overestimate their skills and ability. This can hold them back in life and halt their progress. Personal development doesn’t just help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, but also your potential. You realise that learning and mastering new skills or tasks isn’t beyond your ability and you just need to invest some time and effort.
Personal development won’t stop failures and tragedies and you may sometimes suffer setbacks in your professional and personal life. But this process will make you more resilient. You’ll be able to look beyond the setback and see the light at the end of the tunnel. This increased resilience will ensure you’re better at overcoming challenges. If you’re currently suffering from stress, the mental health charity Mind has advice on how to become more resilient here.
Human beings are social creatures and relationships are an important aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, relationships with the wrong people can also hold us back. If you focus on personal development, you’ll be more self aware and confident. You will be able to recognise which relationships hold you back and cause unnecessary strain. This clarity will also help you recognise which relationships are worth investing some time and effort into.
Better Mental Health
People who invest in personal development are less likely to become stressed or burnout. You’re more aware of your limitations and have a better idea on how to manage your time. This ensures you get more done in less time and can relax a little when your work is over. It also helps you avoid burnout and the feeling of redundancy. You will have new goals and feel more enthusiastic about learning new skills. This keeps you in a positive and productive mood.
Better Physical Health
Focusing on personal development also encourages a better lifestyle. You’ll feel more active, eat better, go out to play sports and exercise, and therefore will be in better physical shape. You’ll also have a clear sense of direction and can stay motivated through your workout programs and routines. Better physical health will also give you more energy to achieve your goals and succeed in your personal and professional life.
Some of the most successful people in the world, including Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington, value personal development and consider it the key to their enduring success. Oprah Winfrey famously said: “I don’t think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good.” Her belief in the power of the individual to learn, grow and make positive choices has made her an enormous success as a TV host, actress, entrepreneur, business leader and philanthropist – and one of the best-known faces on the planet.
If, like Oprah, you keep learning and developing, you’ll always have something new and interesting to contribute in a work or casual setting. That’s why people should focus on personal development and explore all avenues of learning. It’s never too late to start on this journey of self-improvement and success.
Ashley Andrews is an Inbound Marketing Strategist at Activia Training, a UK-based training provider specializing in improving delegates’ workplace performance in business skills, management development and IT applications. Ashley is passionate about self-improvement and productivity, and regularly blogs about these – and many other topics – on the Activia blog.