This guide will help you understand the importance of personal development and will provide you with advice on how to get started. I help ordinary leaders create extraordinary results. Personal development is an excellent way to do that.

What is personal development?

Personal development refers to the study and practice of developing a person’s capabilities, talents, and assets. It includes activities that improve employability, performance, and productivity. It enhances the quality of life, the achievement of professional goals, and the realization of an individual’s noblest dreams. Personal development aims for self-improvement, evolution, and transformation.

It is a life-long pursuit of self-actualization and self-transformation.

Personal development helps you discover your purpose, passion, and potential. It enables you to embrace a growth mindset, build your capabilities, improve relationships, develop leadership, and enhance your quality of life.

You can pursue personal development through self-learning, coaching, mentoring, and training.

Become the best you can be with personal development. And experience abundant health, wealth, and happiness by consciously growing each day

It is the smartest move you can make to transform your life and create happiness and success. People who pursue personal development must commit to doing what they have never done so they can achieve what they have not yet achieved. Personal development requires them to examine beliefs, use new strategies, and pay attention to their daily results.

In Filipino, personal development may mean pagpaunlad sa pagkatao. Because I think of it as a process of transformation, I translate it to paghubog sa pagkatao.

personal development brings happy morning.

Is personal development for you?

One who wants to live a meaningful life cannot ignore personal development. But there are people who died without thinking about it. Let’s explore why.

Personal development isn’t a priority for someone who has to work 12 hours to earn 400 pesos daily. We see them in the streets, the marketplace, and wherever they can find a livelihood. They are the ones who need personal development the most but are not aware of it.

I do understand. And so, I find ways to help.

Most people don’t care for personal development. They are too busy earning a living; they have no time for themselves.

It does not mean that those who are struggling ignore it, but they are less likely to pay attention.

In Passion for Excellence, I talked about the importance of desire and action to do excellent work each day. Without desire or action, a person won’t grow.

Some professional grow on a snail's pace. There is no visible personal development.
How fast is your movement?

How do you know that a leader or an employee is not giving attention to personal development? Here are some signs.

  • He doesn’t do anything to act on constructive feedback. At times, he considers feedback as a judgment and, therefore, unwelcome criticism.
  • The person is not improving because he may not know what to work on or how. I found that most criticism about the Filipino’s working style has something to do with a lack of skills more than a problem in attitude.
  • The person may know what he needs to improve but is not motivated to act on it. Something like “quiet quitting.”
  • The person doesn’t adjust his approach to different situations. He has a hammer, and everything to him is a nail.
  • The person is immune to negative feedback. He is arrogant and defensive. He cannot accept that he has problems.
  • The person has a fixed mindset. He fears failure and the risk of admitting his shortcomings. Or his fixed mindset made him believe that people don’t change; therefore, personal development is not worth the effort.

When people don’t pursue personal development, they miss many opportunities. Contrary to common but wrong beliefs, personal development is not self-centered development. We must grow so we can be of better service to others.

A Journey to Personal Transformation

Personal development is a journey to personal transformation. Your aim is not only to improve your knowledge, skills, and attitude. It is not only to make a little improvement in every aspect of your life. Personal development allows you to transform your life.

Thousand of books have been written to explain the steps, models, and formulas on “how to become your best” or “how to create a new you”. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is essentially about personal development.

You may study personal development as a subject in school, but it is the object of many studies in social sciences, physical sciences, and spirituality.

You don’t become an expert in self development although some gurus claim they are. This is because personal development is a life-long process and we are still discovering more about ourselves.

Most of what we know about human beings are mere attempts to explain our experiences.

Personal development is also a collective term for the activities, processes, and steps individuals take to become the best they can be. Notice that this is also the objective of many religions in the world today.

Motivational speakers may tell you different things, but the object of their talks is all about self-development. Why? Because those who value personal growth will pay to get it.

One who pursues personal growth creates a personal development plan in any or all of the six aspects of personal development: physical, economic, social, spiritual, relational, and intellectual.

Personal development is a discipline and a continuing quest to create limitless possibilities. You can grow yourself into the best you possible. That means that you can create an awesome and wonderful you.

Pause for a second. The last paragraph does not say that you will reach your fullest potential. Instead, it says that you will create limitless possibilities.

I want you to know that you can create limitless possibilities.

Self development is not a linear path to “reach your highest potential”. The notion of the highest potential is an invention of those who think that there is an “ideal person”. The truth is that you can choose to become the person you want to be.

Personal Development in Filipino

The Filipino translation of personal development is pagpapaunlad ng sarili. The word unlad also means progress. In this sense, we believe that personal development is a lifelong process.

Pagpapayabong ng sarili is the translation for personal growth. One can translate personal growth into pagpapalaki ng sarili, but it does not have the same strength as the first. We all grow up. Pagpapayabong is a deliberate effort to make something flourish.

Personal development allows you to think of possibilities.
Do you keep your sense of wonder?

Strategic Personal Development (Mini-Workshop)

The best way to get started in personal development is to start. Let me share with you simple and easy ways that can help you progress. Even if you are not yet ready to sit down and craft your personal development plan, reading these tips can help you immediately.

I wrote down 50 self-improvement ideas for those who want to set find mini-steps to personal development. Elsewhere, you will find many steps to personal development.

But if you want to start now, I will offer you this mini-workshop for personal development. Get a notebook and a pen. Let’s do some serious stuff.

I am going to guide you on how to create breakthroughs in personal development.

A breakthrough is a great success that takes you to a different level. The direct translation of the word breakthrough in Tagalog is “pambihirang tagumpay”.

I want to offer you this opportunity. Later, we will talk about how you can embrace a growth mindset. A growth mindset is crucial in creating breakthroughs.

Let’s get started, shall we?

vision
What do you want to create?

1. Define Your Personal Vision

Your personal vision is the future you care about. Most people have dreams but have no vision. So when the future comes, they won’t notice it. That’s because they can only afford to live for today.

I will explain.

When I was younger, I knew that many people in the slums were also like us. They worry about whether they have food to eat for the day. They wished they had extra money for the next day to keep their soul and body together.

We pity ourselves because we were victims of our circumstances. Or so we thought. We were called so many names: dukha, hampas-lupa, and anak-pawis. And through time, we embraced these words to describe us. 

When I was young, there was a popular song that goes:

“Isang kahig, isang tuka, ganyan kaming mga dukha”.

Dukha is a pejorative word that means poorer than a rat.

Unsurprisingly, those who belong to the poorest of the poor felt helpless and hopeless. But it doesn’t mean that the poor cannot dream. 

Our lives will transform when we start embracing an inspiring vision

Since you are reading this today, you likely don’t use dukha, hampas-lupa, or anak-pawis to describe yourself. You must have gotten a better education than most.

But an educated person without a vision is lost. So, don’t take this lesson for granted.  

A vision defines the endpoint of our direction.

Once you have a clear sense of the life you intend to live, you will know your next move. You can answer each question, or you can write a letter that describes your vision of your future.

  1. How do I see myself ten years from now?
  2. What have I achieved?
  3. Where do I live?
  4. Who do I work with?
  5. What are the things that I do every day?
  6. What do I feel?
  7. What do family, my friends, and others say about me?

You can work on your vision for a week.

2. Clarify Your Mission

Your mission is what you ought to do every day to achieve your vision. If your vision is your destination, the person you want to become ten or twenty years from now, your mission is how you live your life daily.

Your daily activities may help you achieve your vision. Or it might not.

I have mentioned that most people live one day at a time for them to survive. We do not want to die. We cannot blame them too.

But we can move from surviving to thriving.

And if you were to ask me whether your vision is more important than your mission, I would say no.

Your mission is more tangible. It is what you choose to do now.

If your vision is to be on the other side of the river, your mission requires you to get wet, then keep on swimming until you reach the other side of the river.

Crossing the river is an excellent metaphor for a mission. But even this metaphor does not justify the importance of your mission.

I will tell you why.

We assumed we had control over time and space by linking our mission to our vision.

So, one says: I will be a senior manager five years from now. You will deem it your mission to do whatever will get you promoted to the senior manager.

But here’s the catch.

God did not promise that we’ll be alive tomorrow. We are not sure we’ll be here five, ten, or twenty years from now.

With our mortality in mind, I encourage you to return to your answer about your vision. It is okay if you want to change it. Or if you want to add something.

This page can wait for you. Then, when you come back, I will tell you a simple formula you can use to write a clear and coherent mission statement.

How can you make your dreams fly?

Here’s a simple formula for your mission statement. I thought about it while waiting for my flight from Legazpi to Cebu. The previous day, I presented the first part of the formula to a group of leaders. I thought that the second part would make it more powerful.

So, I am sharing this with you.

Write down your answer.

You don’t need to do it in one sitting.

I exist to ___________________ and because of this, I will __________________.

People will know your mission with how you live. Your mission is what you do every day because of who you are.

You will become who you choose to become someday because of what you choose to become today.

Does that make sense?

Your third move will give you more clarity about your vision and confidence in your mission.

When you have an inspiring vision and a clear mission, you will discover that it is easy to live on purpose.

2. Set Your Standards

Your standards are your values and beliefs you say yes to every time. You will do with enthusiasm those activities that reflect your values in life.

I have dedicated an article to help you identify your values. Please read them. But you can work on a simple exercise to help you identify your deeply held values.

Get your pen and paper. Then, write your answer to this prompt.

Think of a time when you felt alive, most enthusiastic, and most valuable. Where were you, and what were you doing? Who were the people you worked with?

Consider many occasions.

These occasions will give you clues about your values.

You won’t have to pick a set of values from a list of 300. Instead, you will know who you are.

I have written my set of standards on my values page.

Before you move on to the following steps, please remember that our values change over time. We caught some values from others. And we can choose to pick other values too. Doing so are steps we make that will change our stories.

Personal development isn’t about reaching your highest potential. Of course, reaching our highest potential is an attractive idea. But that thinking was based on a fixed mindset.

Personal development is transformation. You can design your life and the person you want to become.

4. Create Your Personal Development Plan

A personal development plan is your roadmap; it is how you intend to accomplish your personal development intention based on what you know today. You can change your PDP as you learn new things from your experience and study.

You can create a personal development plan based on SMARTER, GROW, 4DX, or a good project management tool. A PDP is a project plan.

I wrote a piece on creating a bold personal development plan using the 4 Disciplines of Execution. Though the framework is typically used for high-impact projects, the process is simple.

The Make It Happen Workshop teaches how to do your PDPs using 4DX.

Benefits of Personal Development

There are many benefits of personal development. You can start with these five benefits. May this encourage you to start your journey to personal success today.

  • When you develop skills in personal development, you will be committed to and actively work toward lifelong improvement. Even small steps can bring you far when you move consistently.
  • You will be agile and adaptive. You can understand different situations and act accordingly. You take ownership of problems and find ways to solve them.
  • You will focus on the positives. You are aware of your personal best; you operate around your strengths.
  • You know your limits and allow your assets to compensate for them.
  • You live according to your passion or calling. You know where you can be the best in the world. And you position yourself for success.

Importance of Personal Development

Personal development is important for anyone who desires a meaningful and fulfilled life. We grow old each day. We cannot help it. But when we pursue personal development, we grow up. We become the person we can love. We become the person our loved ones will remember. We become the person our co-workers desire to see every day.

Personal development is vital because it allows us to transform ourselves. And transformation is not only remarkable; it is a joy.

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.

Abraham Maslow

Personal development is important because we are meant to grow big.

Plants need fertile soil, sun, and water to grow. The right combination will make them grow and multiply. If you cultivate the land and trim them, plants will grow according to your desire.

In the same vein, personal development makes us intentional in our growth. Unlike plants, we can define how we want to live our lives. We can accelerate our progress. We can position ourselves so we can live the lives we desire.

If we are not intentionally working on ourselves, we may fail to become the person we want to be and become someone we dislike. The worst thing to happen to us is to dislike ourselves.

George Bernard Shaw famously observed that there are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch what happens, and those who wonder what happened.

Areas of Personal Development

The six aspects of personal development are physical wellness, financial wellness, relational well-being, emotional health, spiritual wellness, and intellectual wellness. Each one builds the others.

Some experts identified 9 important aspects of personal development. Others identify a dozen. But you can easily configure them to these six aspects.

This means that even if you decide to focus only on one aspect when you start your personal development plan, you will also be improving in other aspects when you start implementing your plan.

Personal development is holistic. You can grow in all six aspects. And you can do it by working first on the area that will create the most significant impact.

People often say work-life balance brings happiness and success. That’s not entirely correct. Work is not equal to life; work is part of life. There are other aspects of our life that when given attention will bring happiness, wealth, health, and success in life.

The secret sauce to personal development is not in balancing the various aspects of our life. What we need to accomplish is the right blend. I encourage you to find out how you can do the right blend for yourself.

Best Articles on Personal Development

Continue your journey on personal development. I recommend the following articles.

  • 79 Examples of Values Statements. Being clear about your values will help shape your behaviors.
  • Personal Development Plan in 4 Easy Steps (with Examples). A bold personal development plan encourages you to achieve what you have not achieved before. It also inspires you to do what you have not done before. 
  • 3 Reasons Why I Am Writing 1500 Words Daily. The fastest way to write is to write freely. And I free-write because I do not have to publish them. There is joy in writing. It is the closest thing to thinking.
  • 4 Percent Rule. The 4 Percent Optimization will help you thrive. I will tell you why and how you can use it. You may work on 100 things each day. 
  • 4 Ways to Develop a Sense of Urgency. Good leaders work with a sense of urgency. Their words are their vows. They work on the most important and stick to it until it gets done.
  • 50 Awesome Self-Improvement Tips for Professionals. To get what we want, you and I need to upgrade our mindset, explore strategies, improve our skills, and make baby steps to improve each day. 
  • 6 Important Aspects of Personal Development. Holistic growth happens when we pay attention to all aspects of personal development. Without balance, we stunt our growth.
  • Accomplish something today! Every day, make sure, no matter how small the effort, that you do something to make your dreams come true. 
  • Appreciative Leaders Bring Out the Best in People. Appreciative leaders inspire hope. Without hope, there will be no enthusiasm, energy, commitment, or persistence. An appreciative leader is a dealer of hope.
  • Are you trying to get things done? I found many productivity apps counter-productive. They are designed for factory workers, not knowledge creators. 
  • Be a go-giver! Being go-giver works better than being a go-getter. It is good to be a go-getter. Go-getters take action. They look for opportunities. They create opportunities. They make things happen. 
  • Be cheerful and fill your life with power. Instead of worrying too much about the misfortunes you anticipate, be happy about the blessings that are about to come. Count every blessing that comes, and you’ll be happy.
  • Be interested in people. Be interested in people. That’s your first assignment as a leader. 
  • Begin now; start with good enough. Begin now. You don’t have to wait until Everything is perfect. You have a big project to accomplish. Maybe, a project worth a million pesos. Don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Behavior and Vision. Make your vision statement specific and inspiring so that it can guide your people’s behavior. Your vision is a pitch for the future. 
  • Character Development vs. Personal Development. Character development started at home. Our parents taught us that there are traits and values which are good and acceptable in our society. 
  • Choose Your Attitude & Take Positive Action. Choose your attitude and take positive action. Your attitude will direct you in any direction. It can bring you up; it can bring you down. 
  • The classroom is theater. When I was young, most of my teachers made us students memorize trivial information. I topped quiz bees because I could remember most information we were asked to memorize. 
  • Cram Early: 5 Simple Steps that Cure Procrastination. Cram Early is my best time management tip. Cramming early is also one of my best stress reduction strategies and procrastination cure. Most people worry about big tasks with deadlines. 
  • Do it now. Do it now is a call to action. Do it now turn theories into truths, dreams into realities. Whatever you want to do, do it now. 
  • Do one important thing. A to-do list is a good thing. However, a to-do list with ten, twenty, or thirty items is overwhelming. It is a sure template for daily failures and frustrations.
  • Everything is figurable. Everything is figurable. You can start before you are ready. I don’t debate with people who say they are waiting for the right time. 
  • Focus on Results and Value. Speakers who focus on purpose, result, and action are more likely to become successful in professional speaking than those who get themselves busy with tasks and tricks. 
  • Good People Ask for Help. You can always ask for help from friends. But when you do, don’t ask them to do the work for free just because they are your friends. 
  • Be the First Follower & Start a Movement. Always remember the first follower principle. Professionals understand this principle. Teachers, trainers, speakers, and anyone intending to change will benefit from following the first-follower principle. 
  • Become Indispensable and Irreplaceable. I thanked him for his courage to ask that question which almost everyone wanted to ask but never did.
  • Invest in Your Biggest Dreams. Malcolm Gladwell talked about the 10,000-Hour Rule. He did not argue for it. Instead, he gave many examples of successful people who devoted their lives to doing one thing.
  • Jump Start Your Leadership Journey. Maximize your website experiences. Here are 15 tips on how you can make the most of jefmenguin.com
  • Keep a record of almost Everything to think clearly. Keep your eyes on the future. And keep your hands recording what you see. Because you’ll need them to make sense of the world you are in. 
  • Keep yourself sold. Be sold on your vision. Or people will sell on you their “objections” to your offer. You must deepen your knowledge about the change you want to create.
  • Kickstart yourself. When I think I must work on something and I am not in the mood to work yet, I tell myself to DO IT NOW until I stand and do something.
  • Leadership and Personal Development. Effective leaders do not pursue personal excellence because they are effective leaders. Instead, they are effective leaders because they seek personal development.
  • Learn Like a Child. The best leaders aren’t those with ready answers for Everything. No, not the know-it-all type. The best leaders are those who learn like a child.
  • Make every minute count! A minute for a dying man is a lifetime. Gladwell said that we need to work 10,000 solid hours to become an expert. 
  • Make your dreams come true. Poverty is painful and often dulls the mind. I was eleven. We were living in slums.
  • Make your good luck! An excellent professional makes his good luck. Look around and ahead to the unexpected things you can do without waiting to be told. Opportunity sometimes walks in mini-skirts. 
  • More is not always better. We measure ourselves better with the outcome we create, our impact, and the value we produce. We do not become productive because we do more. People who are caught in a whirlwind do more every day. But they don’t get the most important goals done. 
  • Persistence: Build Stick-to-itiveness. You must be stickier as you get older. Stick with your dreams when others tell you to forget them. Stick with your dreams when facing tough times and you aren’t sure you can make it.
  • Personal Branding vs. Personal Development. Personal branding and personal development are not the same, even if some gurus insist. Personal branding can be part of personal development.
  • Personal Development vs. Personality Development. I daresay you pay attention to personal development to achieve clarity and confidence about who you want to be. Then, you invest time in personality development to relate better with others.
  • Personal Excellence: How to Become Your Super-Duper Best. Personal excellence is a core value, a strong belief of an individual to live an extraordinary life each day. 
  • Professional Development vs. Personal Development. Professional development refers to the process, and activities professionals undertake to increase their value in the corporate world. 
  • Push Gently: The Sales Technique That Works. If you have the advantage of company-sponsored salesmanship training, you’ve probably learned the importance of closing. Unfortunately, most salesmanship training programs allocate 90 percent of training to product knowledge and less than 10 percent to closing sales.
  • Questions That Will Help You Get Started. I ask lots of questions. I choose to begin with you, and I empty my cup. I avoid giving you 120-slides of presentations to showcase how great our company is.
  • Resist the urge to criticize. When you become aware that you spend more than 15 minutes criticizing co-employees, organizations, or the government, snap out of it. Give more attention to creating more value. 
  • Say Goodbye to excuses! People who do not take accountability for their results have excuses. The mistakes are often not theirs. Someone else made a mistake. Or something is lacking. Or that the stars were misaligned.
  • Seek Progress & Pursue Excellence. I have heard people say that we must seek progress, not perfection. They say we cannot attain perfection as no one is perfect. 
  • Sell your confidence. Your customers buy your confidence first. Your customers won’t buy from you if you are not entirely sold on your offer. Watch your attitude about your product or service. 
  • Spread Enthusiasm to Grow Your Business. To make your customers enthusiastic about your product, you must be 101% excited about your product. When presenting before your customer, forget about Everything else.
  • Stand out, don’t just fit in. Everyone wants you to fit in. Everyone wants you to mold yourself into the desired image. 
  • Start before you are ready. The best step to writing a book is not trying to write but writing. Daily. In the number of hours you want. Until you get done.
  • Start Something Today. I do not know you. But you can start one small action today to help you build yourself. 
  • Start with Your Big Goals. Gurus will tell you to start the day with easy tasks. I think this works when your best time of the day is in the afternoon or the evening.
  • Steam Up to Succeed. I will not venture into a speaking performance before a hungry audience cold. Athletes spend an hour or two getting warmed up before the game begins. 
  • Stop Wishing and Start Doing. Motivation and ability fail people. Not only that they need to develop skills of achievement, but they must also develop achievement habits. Stop wishing and start winning.
  • Seek Personal Development. Spending three hours each day on Facebook will provide volumes of information. But spending time on Facebook or Netflix, or Twitter won’t make us improve ourselves. We do not need much input. We need the inspiration to grow.
  • Take Breaks. For some people, life is a sprint. They give all their energy to some causes because they want to achieve them fast. But they don’t know when to stop. 
  • Take the Initiative. Do you have initiative? You should have. Elbert Hubbard told us why. “The world bestows its big prizes, both in money and honors, for but one thing. 
  • Think Big and Play Bigger. Choose experiences that will make you think of new possibilities and immediately create changes in your leadership, business, and life. 
  • To Lead By Example. To lead by example means that you have to walk the talk. You tell people what to do and get yourself dirty too. Align your actions with your words.
  • To Succeed, Know What You Really Want. A crisis like Covid-19 hits all of us. Most stumbled, and many fell. But some are thriving even in the worst of times. Find out.
  • Uncover Your Passion & Find Ways to Be Successful. Passion originally meant suffering. Recently, the meaning expanded to an intense feeling that moves us to action, and that feeling is usually seen as love. So, do not be surprised when I tell you to do what you love. I believe all leaders will tell you the same. I cannot claim any originality. Passion is doing what you love.
  • Urgent dreams. A journey to a thousand miles begins in a single step. That’s according to a dead but wise Chinese philosopher.
  • Vital Behaviors: Actions That Bring Extraordinary Results. Vital behaviors are the smallest actions that lead to the desired results. They are the few high-leverage actions that, if you keep doing them, produce the outcomes you’re after.
  • Want to change the world? Pay the price. If you were to change the world, would you be willing to live in that world? Would you still push for it if you were the follower, not the leader?
  • What is more effective than a to-do list to manage your time? I started using a to-do list more than two decades ago. I was still a seminarian. We practiced listing everything we had to do because people expected us to serve them all. 
  • What to Do When You Are Bored at Work. Being bored with work is a real thing. However, even if you are a driven individual, you are very productive and one of your company’s most valuable players.
  • What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed. Meetings and webinars are driving people crazy. Well, not all kinds of meetings and not all kinds of webinars. But you know what I meant.
  • What You Have Is Now: Don’t Waste It! Please understand that long life is not promised to anyone. Some people live for a hundred. And they are very few—some for fifty, forty, thirty, twenty. You get the point. Don’t delay.
  • Why do Filipinos procrastinate? And how to cure it. People procrastinate not because they don’t want to do anything. Procrastinators are busy people. They do many things to find justifications for not doing what must be done.
  • Why I Choose Family First, I will begin by introducing to you my family because they are Everything to me. Meet my wife, Romelyn. 
  • Why Make a Difference? I believe you, and I deserve the best in the world. We do not have to wait for others. We do not have to wait until we are ready. Waiting wastes time. I am not happy with the status quo — and I believe most of us are not happy too.
  • Why should I care? That’s the one question that matters the most to your customer. Your presentation must be able to answer that question concisely and convincingly.
  • Why Today Is the Best Time to Write Your Book Today is the best time to write your book because today is what we have. Yesterday has passed, and we cannot do anything about it. 
  • Write Your Next Steps to Save Yourself from Chaos. Before leaving work, set aside 15 minutes to write your plan for the next day. Consider the amount of time you can use for work. 

You can find more topics on Personal Growth.

My Three Steps in Achieving Personal Development

My three big steps in personal development are (1) choosing a growth mindset, {2) finding your 1000x strategy, and (3) practicing disciplined execution.

There are many steps I took. But these three steps made the biggest difference. So, even though are they simple and easy to do, I call them big steps.

Personal development is a conscious effort to grow in various aspects of our lives. Of course, we can all grow old. We cannot help it. But to grow up, even when you are already 65, is a deliberate effort.

Elsewhere on this website, I will share how you can design holistic growth. This means that you will consciously grow in different areas or aspects of personal development.

In each aspect, there are tactical steps you can make. I’ve done some research, and I will show you steps backed up by science and other exciting techniques based on the achievers’ experiences.

My personal development could have been faster. I study a lot. But it was a long, almost flat line for many decades. And I know that many people feel the same about their personal growth.

The breakthrough – the hockey stick growth – happened when I discovered these three big steps in personal development. I will share this in detail later, but let me give you a quick summary.

After reading these three big steps, some people may think they know and have done these steps too. And these did not work for them. They may dismiss these steps, therefore.

I completely understand that. I was in that situation. I thought I understood what I read. But assuming that you understood what you read is different from understanding it from experience.

Anyhoo.

Step 1. Choose a growth mindset.

A growth mindset is an approach to life in which an individual believes that intelligence, skills, and abilities can be developed through learning and experience. It is contrary to common but limiting beliefs, about learning. Traditionally, it is thought that people are born with a predetermined level of intelligence and all they need to work to achieve their highest potential. Growth is not linear. You can create many possibilities.

A growth mindset is a multiplier. It makes us see many possibilities and help us make them real. Someone with a growth mindset does not fear failure; he learns from it.

The default mindset for most of us is the fixed mindset. Our school education, environment, and spiritual formation made us believe that success and failure are our destinies.

A few people are born rich, while most of us are poor. A few people got good DNA, were gifted with intelligence, and were “destined” to lead us and achieve extraordinary success in life.

Some call a fixed mindset a poverty mentality, scarcity mindset, and limiting beliefs. Though it benefited a few, these beliefs stunted growth and kept most of us in invisible prisons.

One can claim to think big though living in a tiny matchbox.

I first heard of the growth mindset when I was a teacher. But I first learned about it from my grandfather. When I was young, he told me this: Kapag gusto may paraan at kapag ayaw maraming dahilan.

I understood this saying, but not fully. It helped me break through the many limiting beliefs when I was young. But it took me a long time before I learned to use it to grow exponentially.

A growth mindset multiplies possibilities. It helps you grow stronger even when you fail for failure is a stepping stone to new discoveries.

Step 2. Find your 1000x strategy

Jef Menguin’s 1000x strategy refers to the process of looking for one strategy that will bring 1000 times the result. Before doing anything, it is important to design a plan of action that will bring the greatest result while minimizing efforts and resources.

You can increase your value a thousandfold. Sure, you can start with a 1 percent improvement. You can double it. Make it tenfold. Again and again.

Scroll marked VIII of Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World taught me that I could increase my value a hundredfold.

I was in a Catholic Seminary when I read the book. I read that scroll in the morning, afternoon, and evening. It was like a prayer. I understood it to be a personal goal. It was in line with the promise in Isaiah 60:22. And rereading it today, I can now see why I missed it.

It is not just a goal.

Thousandfold thinking is a strategy.

I may be able to do a thousand things. But some of these thousand things are ten times, hundred times, and even a thousand times than the others.

The key to creating the most significant impact in the world is finding the one thing that can produce 1000 times more for the least effort.

You must have heard others say, “work smart, not hard.” That’s not entirely correct. Finding the 1000x strategy is the most brilliant yet challenging step. But it is worth doing now.

A personal development guru said we must take massive action to create the biggest result. Another goo-roo wrote that there is a 10x rule to success, which is also doing massive action.

Taking action is important. But taking massive action on many things isn’t a strategy. It is a tactic. It is pure labor.

I talked more about this in my discussion on creating a personal development plan.

You will achieve significant personal development when you have the right strategy.

Let us talk briefly about the third big step.

Step 3. Practice disciplined execution.

Disciplined people take disciplined execution. Disciplined execution refers to the commitment to focus on the vital few activities regularly and consistently, like clockwork. Disciplined people take action even when they are not motivated.

You can practice disciplined execution. Focus on the vital few that you must do each day. Build momentum. And you will consistently work no matter what.

Personal development requires disciplined execution. To achieve great things, I need to embrace personal excellence in my life. Believing in excellence and trying to be excellent is different from being excellent.

Earlier, I mentioned that I chose a growth mindset. Choosing a growth mindset requires me to change my strategy and my behaviors.

That means I must do what I ought to do even when I am not motivated. That means I must do what I ought to, even when it is not enjoyable. That means I have to develop new habits and turn these habits into discipline.

That also means that I have to keep standing every time I fall.

And I kept falling.

Personal development isn’t a walk in the park. Instead, it feels like climbing new mountains each day. The climb up is challenging. Sliding down is more brutal. But I have to do it again and again.

I wanted to say that there are easy ways to achieve personal development. I must have written it somewhere else some years back. But these three big steps in personal development, though simple, require discipline and determination.

Yes, you can do some easy steps. For example, you can read a book on personal development. You can discover new life hacks. You can do the simple steps I shared in 50 Ways to Personal Growth.

But if you want a breakthrough, I encourage you also to do my three big steps in achieving personal development.

Aspects of Personal Development

Personal development is a holistic approach. Though most training programs focus on developing a singular skill, I found it more impactful when you consider growth in every area: physical, social, financial, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. Learn more about the six aspects of personal development.

Related Terms

There are terms that are often confused with personal development. May these definitions help you distinguish one from another.

Personal versus Personality Development

Personality development refers to the process of enhancing and improving one’s personality through deliberate study and practice. Personality refers to our unique patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. You can say that personality development is the outward appearance of personal development. When you pay attention to your personal development, personality development follows.

People differ in personality types, styles, and traits. For example, some people are introverts, others are extroverts, and a few are ambiverts.

Based on this definition, you can immediately see the difference between personal development and personal development.

Personal development is often inward. Personality development is outward. However, we can also say that personality development is the outward appearance of personal development. They are not two sides of the same coin. Personal development is about the person, while personality development is how the person is seen by others.

I explore this in a separate article.

Character development refers to the steps taken by our society to ensure that we grow to be good people. Even in the workplace, there are attempts to develop us into good workers through the WAVE (Work Attitude and Values Enhancement) program.

In literature, we expect heroes to go through character development, that is, character transformation.

Personality development refers to the process of enhancing and improving one’s personality through deliberate study and practice. Personality refers to our unique patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.  People differ in personality types, styles, and traits. For example, some people are introverts, others are extroverts, and a few are ambiverts. You can say that your personality is the mask you want others to see.

Personal branding refers to the steps you take to increase your perceived value in the marketplace. For example, a professional speaker may need to dress for success and fake it until he makes it. The speaker may need to call himself the “best motivational speaker in Asia” or the “best selling author” in his online store. If you were a commodity, your brand is how people distinguish you from others.

Personal leadership refers to your ability to take charge of your life and responsibilities. You hold yourself accountable for your actions and your results. It is also the first level of leadership, based on the belief that you can’t lead others unless you lead yourself. Personal leadership is leading by example.

Self-improvement is the deliberate effort of an individual to achieve speedy self-growth. Self-improvement requires a growth mindset, a proactive attitude, and the practice of vital behaviors. There are many tactics for self-improvement.

Personal growth refers to the changes in people through time. Personal growth can be a conscious effort. You can achieve personal growth through personal development activities. It can also be a change because of what happens to you. The challenge for every person is to grow up while growing old.

personality development and your masks
Personal Development for Smart People: Beginner's Guide [2022] 30
Professional development
We ought to grow professionally.

FAQs about Personal Development

Below are three of the most frequent questions I get from readers.

To set goals effectively, use this formula: From X to Y by When. You will start by describing your present situation. Then, find out what elements of your current situation are quantifiable. Doing so will help you define the difference between X and Y. Your Y is your desirable future.

You can adapt the framework of 4DX to set personal goals. Learn more about this in the Make It Happen webinar.

We need to develop different aspects of personal development, which are social, emotional, intellectual, physical, financial, and political. An example of a personal development goal is to lose 20 pounds in six months. Our goals differ. What’s important is to know why we want to achieve something. You need clear goals in creating your Personal Development Plan.

Yes. I have designed various personal development training programs for workplace professionals. The MVP (Most Valuable Professionals) series include self-improvement courses.

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