If you are reading this article, congratulations! It means you are open to improving your life and are willing to take on challenges to work on yourself. Many people disregard personal development tips and advice because they correlate those with being imperfect and not being good enough. Is giving importance to personal development skills and qualities only for those who are not successful in life? Let us discover what personal development is, why it is important, and what are the tips and tricks that you can do to improve yourself.
Personal development: A brief introduction
Simply put, personal development is the improvement of one’s self. It is a life-long process of knowing and understanding your identity and capabilities, addressing your needs, harnessing your potential as an individual in different fields and industries, developing talents and skills, building personal relationships, all of which are aimed to improve and enhance the quality of your life.
Is a personal development program only for imperfect and unsuccessful people?
Actually, it is on the contrary. Because personal development is not just a phase in your life but a continuous cycle, it does not matter if you are from the top management of companies or a struggling job candidate. Everyone needs to develop themselves. That is just how life is, changing, evolving, and introducing new challenges that we need to figure out who we are, how we cope, and what we can do.
Components of personal development
Because people have different personalities and needs to satisfy, there is really no perfect or standard personal development plan. You may search online and read about its importance but once you get to the part where they tell you what steps to do, all of them give you different answers. This variation is because it would inevitably depend on your own life how you are going to improve as a person. What we can do is to give you an idea about what aspects of your life you should focus on when on the journey to self-improvement.
The Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
In psychology, a theory called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is being taught as a good way to know and understand the basic needs of a person. This theory generalizes what man is bound to need in a lifetime and shows how one should prioritize each need according to its importance.
The theory has a framework of a triangle divided into five levels. The five levels are:
In the diagram, this need is situated at the base of the triangle. This positioning indicates that this is the first set of requirements that man has to satisfy. Physiological needs include air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, and sleep. It involves all physical needs a person has to function correctly.
Once the bodily needs of a person are satisfied, his feeling of security comes next. This need establishes boundaries, order, and protection is a person’s life. The existence of laws and rules is the fruit of this human need. For workers, for example, your work tenure makes you feel secure that you are employed and have a stable job.
Love and belongingness
So you now feel satiated and secured; what you currently struggle to have is the feeling of social acceptance and affiliation. You want to feel loved and accepted. This need motivates you to build relationships and establish camaraderie and the need to be a part of a group.
Once you satisfied your bodily needs, you feel secure and loved. You will now aim to feel good about yourself and for others to respect you as who you are. This need is where self-esteem ideations enter into your life. Because you think that you have overcome the challenges that life gave you and you achieved the things you have accomplished so far, you need to feel proud of yourself, and at the same time, you want others to give you the respect that you think you deserve.
Located at the peak of Maslow’s diagram, self-actualization is the part of your personal development that makes you feel fulfilled that you have reached your best and full potential. You have harnessed the skills, knowledge, and capabilities that a person should achieve in his life.
To put everything into perspective, we can simplify these life necessities into three phases. Physiological and safety needs can be considered as man’s basic needs. They are the physical needs that a person needs to have so he can have a foundation in establishing himself. Love and belongingness and self-esteem needs are our psychological needs. Establishing oneself as a successful person demands acceptance not only of others but also of one’s self. Now, once you are satisfied with what you have achieved and you have earned respect and love of others, that is where you finally feel fulfilled.
Sounds simple and easy, right? However, the theory is not necessarily geared towards achieving everything in generalized terms. This approach is to be used in every aspect of life. Let’s say you may be loved and respected at work, but your family life is chaotic. Or you are cherished by your family, but you think so little of yourself, and that affects your productivity and work ethics. In practicing and keeping this theory in mind, you are able to balance all things and satisfy each need in every aspect of your life.
Tips on how to practice personal development
There is no easy route to improve one’s self. We can only give you tidbits of advice on how to cope properly with the challenges that you have to face on the way to success.
Start now. Procrastination will get you nowhere. If you want something good or better to happen in your life, take the first step now.
Focus on yourself. Comparing yourself to others will do you no good. Everyone is on their road to self-fulfillment. You just have to concentrate on how to reach your full potential without undermining or getting intimidated by others.
Slowly but surely. When we say start now, we do not mean you should start a race. It is better to take your time in understanding and accepting things about yourself at your own pace rather than swiftly skimming through each level and realizing in the end that you have unfinished business to go back to.
Listen. Advice and life lessons from elders and more experienced people who harnessed most of their potentials can help inspire you to be better. Without comparing yourself to them, have an idol or a source of inspiration so you at least have a framework of what you really want to achieve.
Accept change. This life variation can make you feel less disappointed in the long run. Expecting thigs to stay the same and constant will only set you up for disaster and heartbreak. Even the framework of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs changes every time a new development of human life is realized. Expect that change is inevitable, and you will find it easy to adapt and adjust your sails.
Be responsible. In every action that you do, be accountable. Do not point fingers and blame others for things that did not go your way. It is your responsibility to enable yourself to grow.
Push yourself. Do not settle for something just because it is convenient, and you have become comfortable in it. You cannot fully assess your true potential if you do not allow yourself to break molds and change your perspective.
Never give up. Because change is e-inevitable, you are bound to lose or stumble at one point in time. The best thing to do is to accept that fact, find out what you did wrong, ad find ways to improve the outcome. Dust yourself off and try again, says the late Aaliyah.