What Does Personal Development Really Mean?

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Personal enrichment and development are more than learning skills to land your dream job. You’ll find no shortage of social media posts telling you how to make more money, how to be more mindful, how to find the right partner and so much more. It seems like society is obsessed with self-improvement to the point it’s lost its true meaning. While career satisfaction and personal fulfillment are important, real personal development is about so much more. In this article, we’ll delve into a deep exploration of what personal development is, why it matters and some strategies you can use to feel happier and more confident.


What is Personal Development?

Personal development is a life-long process of defining and redefining personal and professional goals. It’s something everyone should do, even if they feel content. Life brings about a lot of changes, so it’s important to have insight into what’s helping you succeed and things in your life that may require a change.

One misconception is that development has an end game. While specific goals do ultimately reach a conclusion, your commitment to developing as a person is really a decision to stay open minded and grow throughout your lifetime. This creates a sense of freedom and opportunity that people who think in concrete goals often lack. Despite professional success or checking off all their big to-do lists in life milestones, they feel like something is missing. That something is actually someone, and it can be you if you don’t lead your life with more than just relationships, money and jobs in mind.

Why Personal Development is Important

Learning how to identify your strengths and weaknesses is the first step to genuine happiness in every aspect of your life. Once you identify areas you thrive, you can then use them as a motivator to keep growing and moving forward. The idea holds true in areas where you might need additional help. You can use them as identifiers in which you can create a plan to improve. The key benefits of personal development include:

·         Reaching your career goals

·         Boost in self-confidence

·         Improved interpersonal relationships

·         Sense of accomplishment

·         Greater resilience

·         More self-awareness

·         Greater happiness in the present

True fulfillment comes from more than a job title, relationship status or a paycheck. It doesn’t come solely from finding your soulmate or having the family you’ve always dreamed about. All of these things can contribute to your life in wonderful ways, but they have to be built around your own sense of happiness. You need your own reasons to get up each day, to keep pushing forward when things get tough and to recognize what really matters most to you.

This can be a major source of struggle for people. The question, “What do I really want?” may not have an answer, and everything you’ve tried so far may feel like it falls short. What do you do in that case? Rather than settling because you aren’t sure you can do better, you have to start concentrating on different areas of your life and yourself.


Areas to Focus On

You may already feel confident or have many things you love about your life, but that doesn’t mean self-improvement isn’t for you. On the contrary, the more you have to work with, the easier it will be for you to start pinpointing specific areas you’d like to develop more thoroughly. Some of the biggest pieces of our lives like family, work, and where we live can become stagnant and lead us to believe that they do not require focus.

On the contrary think about these areas and if they can be reworked to incorporate other passions. Maybe you love you profession but want a position that you can do while traveling the world. This is a good example of sharpening the microscope to look beyond the surface of even the parts of your life you are seemingly content with.


Personal development is related to the self, but it can include others, too. For example, you may realize that communication and connection are two important areas of your life that are lacking. Communication helps us express ourselves clearly, but it also helps us build close relationships with others. Poor communication skills can lead to more arguments, misunderstandings and barriers to intimacy. This can go on to perpetuate a sense of loneliness, or it may result in you keeping people at a distance to avoid disappointment.

When you think about your best relationships now, what are their strongest characteristics? Draw from them as you think about relationships that aren’t going so well. You will have to build unique rapports with different people throughout your life, and knowing how to confidently express yourself in any situation can help you live more authentically.


Money is one of the biggest sources of stress for people, and it’s understandable. Without enough money, our lives become a constant race to earn more, pay off bills and frantically try to claw out of mounting debt. Living paycheck to paycheck never gives you a sense of peace and fulfillment that financial stability does. There are a lot of ways you can start to build money management skills and earn more. From a self-improvement standpoint, this could look like going back to school to further your education, building a budget and thinking about investments. Planning ahead helps you feel more comfortable about your future, and there are a lot of affordable ways to invest in yourself.

Retirement can be funded through social security, but you can also build savings through your own 401k account or a permanent life insurance policy. If you decide to invest in life insurance with hopes of cashing in on it later, you should thoroughly review a guide on selling your life insurance policy so you understand your tax implication. These choices are best made when you’re still in your working years. Someone in their 30s or 40s still has plenty of time to make significant contributions toward their retirement.


Everyone wants to be happy, but it seems so hard. The more you chase it, the harder it is to feel a sense of true happiness each day. But rather than seeing happiness as something you can only have when certain conditions are met, reevaluate your definition. Happy is an extreme emotion, just like sadness, and it comes and goes at different times throughout your life. Instead of feeling like you always have to have it all or feel on top of the world, think about what makes you content. Personal development helps you achieve contentment by building purpose. When you live with greater intention, work for something you believe in and fill your life with things you love, you stop chasing happiness because it comes to you naturally.