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When Personal Development Equates to Progress

by Adrienne Carlson

One of the buzzwords we hear being bandied about regularly today is personal development.

We’re all being told that we must do more to develop ourselves and become better people in the process, both professionally and personally.

And in the quest for success and perfection, we try to exhaust all the oft-repeated clichés – we manage our time, accept and grow with change, making plans and sticking to it, living life to the fullest, achieving the perfect balance between work and personal life, getting out of your comfort zone, confronting your fears head on, and so on and so forth.

But the question is, are we really developing personally because of all the activities we undertake?

For example, some people force themselves to learn a new language or play a musical instrument in the quest for personal development. But truthfully, how does that help you progress, unless you’re going to be using the new language in the course of everyday life or playing the instrument on a regular basis?

You may think you have to continue to improve yourself with a new degree or by pushing yourself at work; but if your degree does nothing for you in your professional life and if all your hard work does not equate to a rise in the overall quality of your life (you may get paid more, but are you really happy?), then all your efforts are in vain.

In my book, personal development happens when we go through life and learn from the lessons it teaches us.

You don’t have to go out and look for challenges and test yourself or push yourself to the limit in order to develop personally.

Instead, it’s enough to try and do the best you can at your job and take pleasure in the simple things that life has to offer.

Personal development is all about striving to be a good human being with moral values and ethics, someone who respects and nurtures people and relationships and who is responsible to oneself and society at large.

What’s important is that you stay focused on priorities without allowing yourself to be distracted, and that you learn to accept and deal with life as it happens.

One of the best ways to grow personally is to learn from your experiences and let them mould you into a better and more mature person, one who is capable of handling triumph and disaster with equal élan (to borrow a line from Rudyard Kipling) and someone who is satisfied and content with life instead of striving to achieve more and more without really having a goal in mind.

In short, personal development has to come from within, and when it concerns your soul more than you actions, that’s when it equates to personal progress.


This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of accelerated online degrees.

Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson1@gmail.com .


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