Personal growth isn’t like GDP. It’s about quality rather than quantity. So, what areas of personal growth do you like to improve? Take a look in your vegetable patch and see what’s growing there now. Identify what is serving you and what is holding you back.
Nature abhors a vacuum so if you remove those stinging nettles and bindweed, you will make space for strawberries, aubergines, or whatever brings you joy.
There is a fork in the road and the right path is unclear—what do you do? For many people, this predicament seems like a daunting and impossible task, but if you know exactly what it is you want to get out of life there the answer is obvious.
What Is Personal Growth?
This term refers to various techniques for improving one’s habits, behavior, actions, and reactions.
Here are a few examples to clarify what is personal growth:
- Learning to control anger
- Learning to overcome procrastination
- Learning to overcome laziness
- Learning to be more polite and considerate.
- Becoming a more responsible person
- Learning new things and developing new skills
- Changing your mindset and becoming more positive
Successful personal growth requires motivation, the desire to improve, and the willingness to strive to make changes.
You also need to be willing to get out of your comfort zone, and sometimes, do things that are uncomfortable, but are for your own good. An open mind and the desire to learn and grow are also important.
Personal growth is an ongoing process that starts from an early age but is mostly shaped by parents, teachers, and the environment.
However, to make the most of it, you need to become aware of the process, know what it is, and take the right steps to grow and improve yourself.
Sometimes, problems and difficulties are the triggers that awaken the desire to grow and lead to making changes in one’s life.
At other times, people are inspired to take steps toward personal growth after reading an inspiring book, watching a movie, or reading about people who achieved success.
This often leads people to new paths, to making changes in their lives, expanding their knowledge and self-awareness, improving skills, and developing new ones.
Finding Your Right Path
When you make this active decision to begin your own journey of personal growth and development, you’ve taken the first step towards a better and brighter future. Although your journey is yours to travel alone, there are tools that can help you get the most out of life.
Inspirational workshops, such as our Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, testimonials from successful people, and books authored by the greatest motivational speakers can aid in improving your relationships, workplace, intellect, and much more.
What Exactly is Personal Growth and Development?
Personal growth and development is a transformational process, in which improvements are made in your physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social, and/or financial state.
This process is often triggered by an important life event that inspires you to improve and empower yourself by discovering where your full potential lies.
The result is a more satisfying and meaningful life, which is evident in your relationships, place of work, self-image, and self-confidence, as well as your worldview.
Why Do You Want to Partake in This?
People want to grow and develop themselves because they are unsatisfied with their life and the direction it is heading. To change its course and create a satisfying life, undergoing the personal growth and development process is essential.
Once this process is underway, the results are endless. You will find meaning and purpose in yourself that was absent before. Life goals will become possible. You will use your full potential to benefit yourself and others.
New skills and talents will be discovered. Old relationships will be strengthened and new ones will be easily formed. All of which will give you a boost in your self-image and self-confidence.
If you aspire for personal growth, then you have to focus on yourself. Here are five areas of personal growth and how to improve them.
Most of the time, people operate the journey of their lives on autopilot. Over the years, you have programmed yourself to react rather than respond. The strategies that you have adopted in the past have become your default settings.
Many of these learned behaviors were set in stone during childhood, and you unconsciously trust these strategies because they have worked in the past—”worked” in the sense that you at least survived whatever life was throwing at you at the time.
Self-awareness will help you recognize these knee-jerk reactions and question them in the context of who you are now. In some cases, you may perceive them to be perfectly appropriate and benign, while in others, you will realize the opposite.
You will see that some options that served you in the past are no longer in your best interests as a fully formed adult. Indeed, some of these learned behaviors may be positively toxic and hence, they are significantly holding you back in terms of career, relationships, and life in general.
As this process occurs, it is important not to judge yourself for having let these “ways of being” outstay their welcome. Furthermore, do not regret having used them in the distant past, since it is likely they did indeed get you through some difficult times.
The trick is to simply see them as they are, give thanks for what they’ve achieved in the past, and with the clarity, you are now experiencing, choose another way—a way that will serve you now and in the future.
One thing we humans love is control—being in control. Or, at least, we love the idea of being in control. We tend to link control with safety. This is completely understandable, and it’s an example of the logical cognitive brain in action: “If I am in control of events, I can protect myself and I will be safe.”
The need for safety is in our DNA. According to Darwin, it’s why we are here today. We are living proof of natural selection. So far, so good. However, the development of the human brain is such that we are different from other animals.
We no longer need to fear for our physical safety to the extent that our ancestors did. Not that we are free from fear and its partner anxiety. On the contrary, anxiety is one of the most debilitating conditions in the developed world.
One difference between fear and anxiety is that fear tends to be based on reality, whereas anxiety is not. The fact is that we spend too much of our time worrying about external factors and future potential. The important thing is what we focus on. What is it we want to be in control of? What are we in control of?
The answer, of course, is ourselves. Nothing more, nothing less. Of course, external factors are important in our lives, but what’s most important is how we respond to them, how we perceive them, and how much of our power we give to them. All this important work is done inside.
If you want to be in control, focus on your thoughts, your beliefs, and your values.
How many times a day do you curse? Whether it’s under your breath or even in your head makes no difference. The energy is the same: resistance.
What we resist persists. Carl Jung
When we allow something that “happens” to disturb our peace, we give away our power. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a person who might be irritating you, a technical problem, or even a recurring thought in your head. If you let it trigger you negatively, your emotions are like a ship at sea with no engine power.
Shirzad Chamine, the creator of Positive Intelligence, recommends that we treat unwanted thoughts, perceptions, and irritations in the same way as physical triggers. For example, if you pick up a pan from the stove and the handle is hot, you put it down immediately.
Provided your pain threshold is not too high, the burning feeling will disappear within about ten seconds.
Why is it, then, that often something happens that we obsess about for the rest of the day—maybe even several days. Is this logical? It has already happened. We can’t do anything about that. Why expend so much energy on wondering: what could have been different? Why was that person so stupid? Why was I so stupid? Why didn’t I listen to my intuition? What I might have done differently?
Some of these questions, although not useful in themselves, have potential links to positive action as opposed to uncreative ruminating.
For example, “why didn’t I listen to my intuition?” might lead to a note to self: “In the future, I should listen to my gut and my heart as well as my head when making an important decision.” Three brains are better than one.
So, use the ten-second rule. Recognize your emotion—frustration, anger, disappointment, blame, self-pity (this is a great one to let go of), or whatever—and focus on it for ten seconds. Acknowledge it, respect it, and let it go. Release it into the ether, and keep your emotional channels clean. This will create space for positivity and practical solutions.
Eckhart Tolle recommends that we ditch the perception that “this is happening to me,” which is a sure-fire precursor to self-pity, feeling like a victim, and, once again, giving away our power.
“Suffering arises from craving; the only way to be fully liberated from suffering is to be fully liberated from craving, and the only way to be liberated from craving is to train the mind to experience reality as it is.”—Yuval Noah Harari
The keyword is “accept.” Acceptance is the friend of peace. So, if you aspire to improve areas of your personal growth, don’t say “no” to things, say “yes,” accept, and get on with your life.
4. Knowing Yourself
How well do you know yourself? How does your perception of yourself compare with how others see you?
The quote “what other people think of me is none of my business” has been attributed to countless famous people. So, how useful is it in terms of different areas of personal growth?
It can be tempting to compromise who we are for the sake of being accepted by others. Cultural issues, whether familial or national, often restrict your confidence to just being yourself.
If you want to know yourself, you need to dig deep and find your authentic self—the real “you.” Listing your core values is a useful way to start. Consciously knowing your values will ground you, empower you, and enhance your self-confidence.
The German philosopher, Axel Honneth wrote that:
“Basic self-confidence has less to do with a high estimation of one’s abilities than with the underlying capacity to express needs and desires without fear of being abandoned as a result.”
Honneth uses this concept in the context of potential traumas in your childhood. Through examination, either by yourself or with the help of a therapist or coach, you can make more sense of how your responses and perceptions of past events created who you are today.
Typically, you will have beliefs hidden in the “shadows” of your mind that significantly limit your potential, your self-worth, and your happiness. So, shine a light on them.
Miley Cirus says she is comfortable with her shadows since they “show me that I am standing in the light.”
By knowing yourself, you can establish where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. You will grow into the person you are to fit your aspirations and your dreams.
5. Not Knowing
Part of the personal growth process of acceptance is to accept what you don’t know.
Humans tend to seek solace in knowledge, a bit like a comfort blanket. The idea that perceived knowledge provides security is, of course, a myth. Indeed, a significant amount of “knowledge” and “certainty” is, in reality, just opinions.
Awareness, inner control, acceptance, and true knowledge will enhance your journey to improving different areas of your personal growth. Only by knowing yourself can you grow yourself.