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Personal Development


What is Personal Development ?


Personal development is a lifelong process which enables people to assess their skills and qualities, to consider their aims in life and to set goals which will help them to maximise their potential.  Although early life development and early formative experiences within the family, at school, etc. can help to shape us as adults, personal development should not stop later in life.

A Theory of Personal Development
There are many ideas surrounding personal development, one of which is detailed below -

Self Actualisation
The extent to which people are able to develop depends on certain needs being met and these needs form a hierarchy.  Only when one level of need is satisfied can a higher one be developed.  As change occurs throughout life, however, the level of need motivating someone’s behaviour at any one time will also change.

  • At the bottom of the hierarchy are the basic physiological needs for food, drink, sex and sleep, i.e., the basics for survival. 
  • Second are the needs for safety and security in both the physical and economic sense. 
  • Thirdly, progression can be made to satisfying the need for love and belonging. 
  • The fourth level refers to meeting the need for self-esteem and self-worth.  This is the level most closely related to ‘self-empowerment’. 
  • The fifth level is the need to know and understand the environment, this level includes more abstract ideas such as curiosity and the search for meaning or purpose. 
  • The sixth relates to aesthetic needs of beauty, symmetry and order.  At the top of Maslow’s hierarchy, is the need for self-actualisation. 

Practical Steps to Personal Development

Practical steps can be taken to enhance personal development, including:
  • Organising your time.
  • Producing a personal CV or résumé.
  • Undertaking a skills appraisal.
  • Looking at your transferable skills.
  • Overcoming barriers to learning a new skill.
Organising Your Time
If you are considering making changes in your life, finding additional time often poses a problem.  It could be that the changes you are thinking of making are to ensure you have extra time to:
  • Spend with your family.
  • Spend on things you enjoy doing.
  • Devote to your work.
  • Devote to your education.
Whatever the reason, looking at how you spend your time will encourage you to think of ways your time could be managed more effectively.

1. Learning to say 'no' to jobs or requests that you feel are not your responsibility.

2. Learning to delegate – sharing jobs can be fun and will leave you with more time.

3. Making a ’to do’ list of tasks you need to do each day/week, ticking off tasks that you complete.
4. Giving up things you do not really want or need to do.

5. Identifying your high and low times of the day. Everyone has a time when he/she feels more or    less energetic. Try to do the most demanding tasks when you have the greatest energy as you will  do them more quickly, thereby releasing more time to spend on other things.

Recording your Personal Development
It is often a good idea to keep a record of your personal development. By writing down key developments in your learning and development as and when they occur, you will be able to reflect on your successes at a later date. 

This reflection may well help to motivate you to learn more skills in the future.  Try keeping a learning log or journal as you develop your skills and knowledge.

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