What is personal development, looking from end to end? The PD term is self explanatory, since it obviously addressing the issue of understanding personal development needs, building of personal development plan and conducting the certain activities toward self improvement. All these quotations are absolutely true. Still, it is necessary to truly understand all dimensions and depths of PD.
The PD is conscious intention of self exploring and self improvement of specific personal attributes. The process requires deep and conscious introspective of personal traits at the level that they currently are. The assessment of current level of different personal attributes is having a purpose of mapping of the current reality. The understanding of current reality is one side of the story. The other side is identification of desired situation.
Desired situation of personal attributes levels requires a lot of understanding. First of all, one has to have a vision of where it wants to be. The vision should be developed on the different time frames. Example, short time vision can be the place or state where you want to be within 3-6 months. Mid term can be 1-2 years, while long term vision can be time frame from 2-5 years and onwards. The time spans definition is not crucially important, but it is important to realistically set the vision. Learning to drive within a month is possible, but becoming the good driver is a matter of much longer period of time. The vision should challenge you, but within a realistic limits.
When comparing the attributes map that you possess currently, and the vision of yourself that you are heading to, you are facing a certain gap. This gap may look a huge obstacle that is very difficult to pass. But try to look at it from the positive side. Understanding the »gap» is a key milestone in personal development. The awareness of the gap is the clear proof that we are able to consciously think about you. It is a proof that we are able to do an objective self assessment and that we are able to express what we want to be in a period of time. Understanding that we have a gap in some area is not the negative thing. It is the mature understanding of self. Person who does not see any gaps is person with real problems.
The gaps should be closed with a conscious intention and a realistic plan. Having a wish to learn some skill is not the guarantee that this will happen. Closing a gap is a matter of a planning of PD activities. Activities should be done in accordance with resources. Unfortunately, resources are always limited. If we plan to do everything at same time, than we will end up nowhere. Every planning requires a good judgment, allocation of time, effort, money and other resources to the certain activity.
Resources and management of resources are also referring to the personal potential. We are all "designed" in a way that we are more skillful in some areas, while we are less happy when we have to face some other area of activity. We have a different potential in different fields. This means that our development potential is also related to the field of personal preference. If we have talent for something, we will progress more easily. We can progress in every field that we place effort into, but the real result comes from the fields of our preference, the fields where are we talented. This is not the indication that we should not improve our weaknesses, but is indication that we need to plan development activities in smart way.
This requires a decision making. Since the resources are limited ( time, money, ... ) we need to decide where to focus. The decision about resource allocation may depend of the moment and current needs. If we really need to develop some professional skill to reasonable level, since our job depends on it, than probably we need to do it, even this area is not our field of preference. But what if there are some other opportunities around? In case that some other job is available and it requires some other skill where you have the preference, than it make sense to do change the job and develop the skill within the area that you really like. It is all matter of deacon making.
A good decision is something that we all want. But sometimes is difficult to make a good decision. A good decision is based on proper information. If we collect all available information about something the subject of our potential decision, than the decision may be easier, with potential good outcome. Another aspect of decision making is the understanding of the broader picture. Usually people are very focused on certain problem, since it bother them a lot. Out of this focus comes the blindness to everything that is around us. Sometimes the answer is around the problem, not within the problem. Out-of-box is way of thinking should be the way when approaching every problem or decision.
Understanding of changes is also very important prerequisite for making the decision. We are living in the age of changes. Every situation changes within time. It is necessary to consider changes when assessing personal development needs and decision about where to focus our efforts. For example, the skill that is attractive to have now may be obsolete in a near future. Learning a skill that does not have future is probably not the best personal development goal.
Besides having development actions well chosen, it is necessary to build development plan that will be call for action. This means that the plan should not be vague, but it should contain clear objectives, way of result measuring and defined realistic framework for activities. The good plan is not the one that set many goals, but the one that bring desire for development to manifestation. The good plan should build competences that are relevant for the individual. Goal of becoming the chess master sound appealing, but maybe the one may have more important development priorities, like obtaining a degree.
The god point is to do a post development evaluation of result. If you attend a dance course for three months, it would be good to think about purpose of fulfillment of this activity. Was it with purpose? Did we learn anything from it? Should we go for the next level or we should dump it and look for something more fulfilling? The quick self evaluation can build the sense of post assessment, but also the ability to evaluate value of things that didn't happen yet. This can support the ability of decision making for the future choices.
At the end, try to be aware of your potentials and limitations. Try to build your development plans in accordance to potential. Avoid wasting energy to something that you do not like, just because others do it. Try to live your life according your potentials and opportunities.