5 most important areas of personal development

We can all live a life of fulfilment and satisfaction if we’re ready to pay the price of personal development. To get more out of life we have to become more than we already are. Life is designed to be dynamic; it is constantly evolving. So we either keep pace with life or we get left behind. This is why the business of personal development is not a chore that we do from time to time but a discipline that requires lifetime commitment.

We cannot maximise our potentials without a deliberate commitment to improving ourselves. Jim Rohn aptly captured this when he said, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

Personal development is not a chore or a fad. It's a lifetime commitment. Click To Tweet

Perhaps you’re already familiar with the phrase ‘personal development’ but you’re not quite sure exactly what it means or how to get started. That’s why I wrote this piece to point out some of the most important areas of personal development where you should invest consistent effort.

Spiritual

Spiritual development is one area that may not be so clearly defined in light of its ethereal nature. However, one fact that we can all agree on is that there’s more to life than meets the eye and human beings are not just higher animals, there’s a spiritual side to our existence. Make a commitment to develop your spirit and align your life with spiritual laws. Study how to sharpen your intuition, develop a deeper sense of purpose and draw wisdom from your higher self. I may not be able to give you a step-by-step process here but I would highly recommend that you study and imbibe as much as necessary to develop your spiritual side. You should also consider active involvement with a spiritual community.

Mental

The quality of your impact and legacy in life will be largely determined by how well you have developed your mind. The mind is the seat of creativity and innovation. You may receive epiphanies, insights and guidance from your higher self but it is your mental capacity that determines how well you’re able to profit from these spiritual assets.

Your legacy in life will be largely determined by how well you've developed your mind. Click To Tweet

Commit yourself to reading extensively and intensively, developing your thinking skills and tackling difficult problems. Do more than the average person. Don’t back off when faced with seemingly impossible situations. Rather, look for creative solutions. As you do this you will start to stretch your mind thereby expanding your mental capacity.

Some people restrict their studying to fields they’re familiar with or subjects that are required to pass exams. That’s not how to grow or develop your mind. Give yourself freedom to explore and discover new horizons. It will boost your performance and give you an edge everywhere you find yourself.

Physical and emotional

Pay deliberate attention to your total health and fitness together with your physical appearance. You need your body to fulfil your dreams; hence the need to take very good care of it. Make conscious effort to look good and feel great. You may have all sorts of lofty ideas and dreams but without a healthy body and a sound mind, the process of translating those ideas to reality may be grossly limited and even frustrating.

Think about your nutrition and determine to eat more of life-giving foods in the right proportions rather than consuming items that slowly destroy your body. The volume of varying information available on nutrition can be confusing but you still need to study and develop a healthy plan that works for you. One useful piece of advice here is to make your food your medicine and your medicine your food. Also, natural foods are believed to be healthier than manufactured food. Whatever you do, practise moderation. Apart from nutrition you should also ensure that you engage in regular exercise while also getting adequate rest and sleep.

Make your food your medicine and your medicine your food. You are what you eat. Click To Tweet

Now, let’s talk about your physical appearance – this is also included in the physical side of personal development. People see the container before they see the content and appearance often determines acceptance. So it is important that you look good. You may think it’s unfair for people to judge you by your appearance without having experienced the broad spectrum of your personality. You’re probably right but that’s just the way things are. You would be doing yourself a disservice by basing your actions and behaviours on ideal assumptions. It’s better to recognise the existing reality and align with it.

Social

Nobody can succeed in isolation. You need others and others need you; hence the need to deliberately nurture empowering relationships and develop good people skills. You need to be able to express yourself, communicate your ideas and relate with all sorts of people. Get out of your comfort zone and explore new ways of connecting with people. The advent of social media has made this somewhat complicated. When engaging with people online you must always be conscious of the fact that behind that digital platform is a real human being like yourself. So it is important to be very courteous both online and in real life. Understand and follow acceptable codes of behaviour where necessary.

A simple idea that you may find helpful here is to practise the Platinum Rule. You’re probably familiar with the Golden Rule which says “Do unto others as you want done to you”. The Platinum Rule takes that further and says, “Do unto others as they want done to them”.

This is important because how you want to be treated may not be how the people you live and work with want to be treated. You will have better outcomes when you treat them how they would like to be treated instead of how you would like to be treated.

Financial

Another aspect of personal development is how you make and manage money. This often overlaps with your business or career. Many people dismiss ideas about money with clichés like "Money is not everything" but the fact is money answers all things! I believe that everyone has a personal responsibility to make money, at least to take care of one's family and help others in need. So when you're creating your personal development plan you need to factor in your finances too.

How much are you making from your business or career? How much do you need to make to live a reasonably good life? What is your plan for bridging the gap and investing the surplus? Thinking through these questions will get you started on the path to mastering the financial side of personal development.

You should also develop disciplines like saving and budgeting. Differentiate your needs from your wants. Avoid buying on impulse and seek to acquire assets rather than liabilities. An asset is anything that makes you money while a liability is anything that costs you money.

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Conclusion

A deliberate commitment to the process of personal development will help you become more, do more and have more. Most people are focused on what they can get out of life rather than what they can give. But the cycle of success is not complete without giving. As you begin to reap the dividends of personal development, determine to complete the cycle by giving back. This could be in form of volunteering, donating to a worthy cause, empowering others with your knowledge and skills – whatever you can do to make a meaningful contribution.

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