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What is ‘Personal Development?’ … and what’s in it for you? “I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” ~ George Carlin

According to a Google search …
Personal development covers activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations.’

I would put it this way …
Personal Development is about discovering and implementing skills and techniques to support and assist us to grow as a human being in every area of life that is important to us. This can be any area including health, well-being, relationships, creativity, career/business, confidence, happiness, and prosperity. 

If you know the name Brian Tracy, through his books, seminars, audio programs and social media presence you will know he is one of the long standing and accomplished teachers when it comes to personal development.

“It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going.” ~ Brian Tracy

In one of Brian’s audio programs he talks about the first question he asks an interviewee:
“Give me the titles and names of some of the authors in your personal development library?” He goes on to say, if there is the slightest hesitation or they don’t have any, he thanks them for their time and ends the interview right there!

Are you consistently working on your own personal development and growth?  … sometimes termed: Personal growth or Self help or Skills development. How would you answer Brian Tracy’s question?

W.I.I.F.M.‘ ~ This is something else I learned in the same audio program. It suggests that as human beings, we have a kind of internal ‘favourite radio station’ which is W.I.I. F.M. ~ What’s In It For Me?

Can you relate to this? If there is no personal perceived value or gain we ‘tune out.’ This simple insightful lesson was really enlightening for me as I realized why I was interested in some things and not in others. I wasn’t aware that my level of interest or disinterest in a subject was affected by my own internal thoughts, questions and perceptions. If there is a perceived benefit and improvement in our circumstances we will pay more attention and the potential for taking action is more likely.

The only reason you have read this far is because you are curious, open, interested enough in some way about gaining some value and benefit either for yourself or someone you know and care about. I sincerely hope as you read on your investment of time here offers some value for you …

As a life coach and facilitator of personal development courses, seminars and workshops, I regularly ask at the beginning if anyone knows what to expect and what ‘personal development’ means to them? I have discovered it’s a bit of a fuzzy area for many and brand new for some. Once we get clear on what it means, then we can get clarity on what the desired personal results are and specific measurable methods to achieve them. Then we’re off … going and growing!

When I worked in the corporate world in a job I didn’t particularly like, I felt demotivated, uninspired and passionless about it. I later discovered the value in being depressed and miserable!  (Negative states and emotions I was creating within myself and 100% responsible for although I didn’t get that at the time.)  These powerful negative feelings fueled my openness and desire for something better. So my ‘antenna’ was up so to speak, and later I ‘tuned in’ tapped in and got turned on to the personal development world. A world rich in knowledge and wisdom from people and events that I needed to improve the quality of my own life.

I am so grateful that I now have knowledge, skills and resources to optimize my own life experience which has improved enormously and I haven’t looked back. I now feel empowered and confident through my own personal development resources and it’s an ongoing journey and one that constantly offers ways to optimize all areas of my life… physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is the other end of the spectrum to the life I used to create and experience in an unconscious and automatic way. Nowadays, I have the enormous privilege and pleasure to assist and support others improve their lives too.

One of the biggest revelations for me was that the work to improve the quality of our life experience is internal. It’s an inside job and less to do with the external conditions, environment and circumstances and more to do with how we represent these. The meaning we apply to everything, sometimes referred to as our ‘internal map of reality’.  …

Here is a simple example I sometimes offer in my courses: I will write the word ‘dog’ on a flip chart. I ask for a show of hands and ask ‘who likes dogs?’ If there’s a dog owner present, I usually ask a few more questions about their lovable dog and discover what it is they like and love so much? Sometimes the state change is so obvious as their physiology changes and their face lights up with a beaming smile. For others, this same little 3-letter word, ‘dog’ stimulates feelings of fear, disgust, even hate … The other end of the scale from feelings of joy felt by the happy dog lover.

Does the word ‘dog’ make your heart sing? OR Do you hate the sight of them? Do you have no opinion either way? What about dog owners? Notice how you changed your focus and internalized that. A single short word can produce an internal response that feels good, bad or indeed neutral (meaning you have no feelings or opinions one way or another). Then I point out the obvious that no dog is present at the time.

So what’s the difference? We are! Apply this to anything … an image, a sound or song, an expression, a belief, an aroma, taste. Then I reverse those 3 letters to ‘god’ … and off we go again. Words are ‘pointers’ and are just one of our many triggers to activate our emotions. We often give our power away to something we have the innate potential to change immediately. Most people I have discovered respond unconsciously and automatically. Something else that can be changed when we develop conscious awareness through personal development. How we feel is very important as it can either positively or negatively affect our health and well-being.

Yes – the variable is of course us. It’s always us. It may appear to be something external like the weather, our boss at work, that unfriendly neighbour or whatever. How we feel emotionally can be strongly attached to physical sensations including pain. Our mighty mind and body can change this too. You may already have experienced this. Have you ever had a pain like a headache or toothache and got so distracted by something that took your focus elsewhere and you forgot you had the pain … and it was no longer there.

I have also discovered that everyone I’ve asked prefers to feel ‘good.’ I actually ask the question to make sure … “do you prefer to feel good or bad?” So far no-one has said ‘bad’ … but if they do I can offer ways to make it worse. My point is, we can feel either way, but not both at the same time. Once we get clear on how we want to feel, we can make it our dominant intent to create it.

If like me you are constantly accessing ways to improve your life. Right on! Keep it going. If this is new territory for you, I invite and encourage you to feed your mind with books, affirmations, meditation and activities that excite, inspire and turn you on to living your life to the full.

You can make a fresh start in a moment… and as I often ask, when is now a good time? 🙂

Get in touch on any questions and if you would like to discuss how I can assist you. In the meantime, create a great day for yourself.

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For more information and suggestions to improve the quality of your life, get in touch for a complimentary 15 minute phone or Zoom call to get your questions answered. You may also be interested in my courses, seminars and classes for your group or organisation. More information here and here. Any questions just get in touch.

Related post:
Emotional Intelligence – Feel how you want to feel

What Is Personal Development?

2 thoughts on “What Is Personal Development?

  • September 26, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Wonderful Gordon. NAMASTE

    • September 26, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Thank YOU Lorraine. Hugely appreciated. Namaste 🙂

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