How can we define personal development and how does
it relate to human potential?
development is not measured by financial, social or external
success. Instead it is determined by our efforts to develop our
intellectual, physical and spiritual
aspects in order to reach our
full human potential.
In the process of developing ourselves, we also strive to express
our talents and abilities for the enrichment and benefit others.
in today's instant gratification culture there has been an unhealthy
trend towards 'get rich
quick' (substitute thin, beautiful, fit, etc.) schemes gaining
It implies that if you are rich enough, thin enough, or beautiful
enough, you will be happy. Instead of encouraging legitimate
personal growth and development, these schemes and false claims work
I'm sure most of us have read, or heard the woeful tales of lottery winners
who attained massive fortunes only to be broke soon after their
windfalls. We have also seen beautiful, rich, and influential
entertainment stars end their own unhappy lives in spite of their
There are no "quick fixes" or short cuts to personal
It is a deliberate, disciplined process achieved by reflection,
introspection and self-awareness.
Personal Development and The Human
The emphasis on personal development began to arise in the 1960's
with the Human Potential Movement that had its roots in existentialism
and humanistic psychology.
Its purpose was to promote the idea that humans can experience an
exceptional quality of life filled with happiness, creativity and
fulfillment when they strive to reach their potential.
Maslow, a humanistic psychologist, put forth the idea that
self-actualization (the fulfillment of self through reaching one's
potential) is the highest expression of a human's life.
In his research Maslow found that self-actualized people were those
who are creative and spontaneous, possess a good sense of humor
and are able to tolerate uncertainty. They have an appreciation for
what life has to offer, a deep concern for others and are able to
enjoy close, meaningful, personal relationships.
He advocated a list of behaviors that he felt lead to
These behaviors include:
Maintain the curiosity, attention and wonder you had as a child.
Take responsibility for your life and your actions.
psychology emphasizes the importance of attending to and
developing the "whole" person or those aspects of ourselves
that make us human - the physical, the emotional, the intellectual and
To be your "true
self" means to be and take responsibility for it on all of
development is therefore, the process of striving to be the best
that you can be in order to reach and realize your full potential. It
is a journey of self-discovery, self-improvement and self-realization.