Personal Development is one of those buzz phrases that gets thrown around but have you ever stopped to wonder why it’s important?
As a self confessed personal development aficionado I am a true convert to the transformational power of investing time and energy into my personal growth and development. I have seen it work within my own life and in the lives of my clients. And if you are into personal development you too will know the benefits. However if you are new to this world then you might be wondering the following:
What is personal development?
Why is personal development so important?
Why has personal development become a thing?
And why the heck do I need it in my life?
Now even though I am an absolute personal development addict, these questions boggle me too. So I decided to do a little research into the benefits of personal development and to find out why it is so important for us today.
Being an amateur historian I always like to look to the past to understand the human psyche. And what I found about the history of personal development is staggering. Firstly we tend to think of personal development as a modern day concept. Some people say that the movement started with Wallace Wattles’ 1910 classic “The Science of Getting Rich”. While this may be true of movements such as the Law of Attraction. The history of personal development goes way, way back. The subject of personal development has been discussed for literally thousands of years. Only back then it was part of the science of philosophy.
Somewhere around 400 BCE and on philosophers in ancient Greece such as Diogenes, and Epicurus were questioning status quo and discovering what real abundance in life meant. Whereas Aristotle deliberated on what makes a person happy, productive and responsible for their own character. Ancient Roman writings by Marcus Aurelias in his Meditations still inspire some of the greatest personal development truths and philosophies still relevant today. And this history goes on and on. Pascal, Spinoza, Descartes. And don’t forget the religious teachings from Buddhism, Taoism, Lakota wisdom and more that have always been guiding us to be better versions of ourselves. Infact wherever you look at human history in civilizations both great and small, there has been an interest in personal development.
And certain recurring themes or areas of interest are dominant throughout the history of personal development. These are:
- The pursuit or nature of happiness
- Fulfilling our potential
- How to be the best version of yourself
- Reaching Goals
- Influencing others
Whether you were a human living in ancient Greece or are a 21st century fishmonger in Huddersfield or Teacher in Detroit these things, these themes are relevant to you in your journey in life. Isn’t it amazing how humans haven’t really changed despite the changes we have made in the world around us.
I see these five themes as the core and center of what Personal Development is:
Happiness, Potential, Best self, Reaching Goals and Influencing Others.
For me Personal development is important because I see life as a journey of which the main point is to evolve and leave the world a better place than I found it.
I see the whole point of human existence as evolution. Why? Well because if we don’t evolve we stagnant. And if we stagnant what is the point really? That is why there is so much truth in the statement you are never to old to begin again. When you see life as a journey rather than a destination there is really no wrong time to begin a new part of that journey. If we reached the point of absolute perfection then what would be the point? Does a flower or a plant or technology ever stop evolving? No. Then why should we?
So why has personal development become a ‘thing’?
Wow this is a can of worms when you start to dig deeper into it. Now I am not a student of philosophy, anthropology or sociology( or infact anything ending with an ology that officially makes you clever). However from my humble observations I believe that personal development has become a ‘thing’ in the last 20 years because we live in an age of rapid change, socially and technologically. In essence, more of us are becoming less focused on the things that we need to survive (like the ancient Romans who had slaves for that sort of thing) so we have more time on our hands to pursue the answers to the bigger questions in life. Such as why am I here?. Simultaneously we are educated to think and question. Unlike our forbearers 100 years ago education is now considered a right for everyone. We are taught to use these big old brains of ours so we ask questions. And lastly we are in the middle of massive social upheaval. We have lost the fairly stable benchmarks that told us who we are and what we had to do in life. We are in charge and to be honest that has made alot of us feel like we have a loss of direction.
Finding ourselves has become more relevant because society doesn’t tell us who we are anymore.
And that’s why Personal Development is relevant for you. Personal development will give you the foundation you are looking for. Unfortunately, although we all have access to education today it doesn’t prepare us emotionally for the changing world we live in. I mean how can it the world is changing so fast the schools can’t keep up. So we have to become our own teacher. And that is where personal development is so powerful. Because it allows us to learn and create a path that is truly our own.
That is truly one of the most addictive things about personal development. You choose. It’s your choice what you want to change. It’s your choice on what inspiration, what actions you take. You are incharge of tapping into your potential and transforming your life. Personal development practice is about investing time and energy into figuring out who you are, what you want, how you are going to get there and taking the actions that will get you there. It gives you the foundation that society is not giving you.
When you truly commit to the practices and I don’t just mean buying every fad book and never reading them, I mean committing, doing the work and consciously taking charge of you and your life, you will feel empowered. Alot of personal development practices focus on career development, financial development. But for me personal development is about taking charge of your whole life and turning the whole thing around.
Practicing personal development means being the creator of your life’s journey and happiness.
And that is wild!
I feel we are so lucky to live in an age where we have the luxury of investing in ourselves in this way. It would almost be rude to not take that leap into self discovery and growth!
The benefits of personal development are unlimited and countless. I have never met anyone who hasn’t been touched positively by the experience. The rewards are so rich. And they spread. Because when you are being the person you were meant to be, living your truth, unleashing your potential you cannot help affect and inspire the people around. And that my friends is how to leave the world a better place.
I hope this article inspires you to embark upon or go deeper into your own personal development journey. Let me know you thoughts below. I would love to hear about your journey and experiences with personal development.
And if you want more inspiration and support on your journey come and join the Re:Root your life personal development community on facebook and be part of our amazing community journey
With love from me to you
If you would like support on your personal development journey, to transform your life and to create the life you love then you are welcome to connect with Emma-Jane for life coaching or business coaching- Check out Re:Root’s coaching services here and sign up for your free life coaching consultation