Personal development used to be a bit more ‘alternative’ than it is now. Now, you can talk about yoga, mindfulness, and the special diet you are on to increase your longevity (not just to lose weight) and it will all sound very ‘normal’.
So what is Personal Development?: I would say that if you have an interest in these things, then you are interested in personal development:
- deliberately taking charge of your own wellbeing
- understanding how people tick, and what makes you happy
- creating changes in yourself to create a change in your experience of life
And not just an interest, an ongoing commitment. Integrating personal development into your life is about integrating a way of thinking, an openness to learning, often by experimentation. It is more than reading books and listening to motivating podcasts. Often, it involves deciding to change something in your life and creating goals to do that over time. Frequently, those goals require organising support, or at least, connecting with others who are doing the same.
And why is it a growing in popularity? Let me count the ways!
- The message to consume as the pathway to happiness hasn’t really worked out for people: in the West we have increased our average income massively in the last 50 years, but not our level of happiness. There have never been so many people diagnosed with anxiety and depression and popped onto medication, with no foreseeable end.
- People are working longer hours than previous generations. And if that work isn’t very meaningful, it doesn’t take long to really ask yourself ‘what is it all about anyway?’ And people don’t wait for a mid-life crisis to ask this. The current generation of millennials are valuing ‘experience over possessions’.
- We have more access to information from all over the world than ever before. On the news, particularly, we are presented the most frightening facts on a daily basis (and because we ‘sort’ for danger that really gets our attention). The outcome of this is that we feel like the world is more dangerous than it used to be. In fact, it isn’t. There are less wars now than for previous generations.
- We are comparing ourselves to each other on a never before known level. Thanks to spending hours on social media every day, we are feeding our minds with a diet of ‘PR-versions’ of people we know. We only really see the full experience of life with its downs as well as it’s ups in the people we are closest to. Talk about creating a distorted sense of reality!
I could go on! There are so many reasons that people are noticing that thinking for yourself, taking charge of creating your own wellbeing, and thinking about the larger system that we find ourselves in, is a really good use of their energy.
If you are interested in thinking about this some more, join me on a free webinar that I am running on the topic of Loving Your Life. This will cover some of the core understandings from personal development as well as talking about ‘the 21st Century Conditions’ that you may be finding yourself in:
- Stress and burn out
- A struggle to balance making an income with living an authentic life
- A search for identity, purpose and meaning
Come online and join in the discussion on what IS going on and how personal development can support you in the day to day experience of life!