It is well recognised that personal development is a key driver of organisational performance and employee engagement. Emphasising personal development has also been heavily linked to employee retention — a vital and ongoing concern for employers as we move into 2017. For reasons such as these, Personal Development Plans (PDPs) form part of many organisations’ performance management systems. However, despite their many advantages, PDPs have also invited criticism, which has caused HR professionals to re-examine them as a concept and to explore alternatives.
Do not care if people judge who or how you are and look. It might help you to know that people tease others for being too tall too — some people just tease because they’re insecure, none too bright or mean. Be proud of how you are and don’t change. If you’re still young (under 18 years) you might get taller yet and even if you don’t, you’re a valuable person in your own right.
It’s clear, then, that we can’t trust our own interpretations of our actions. There’s a small mountain of psychological evidence to support this: we feel something first, then we justify it later with some story we tell ourselves. And that story is usually highly biased and vastly overestimates how noble and selfless we were.6
You might be wondering how these messages are delivered. The answer is that they are delivered in the form of feelings and contrast. Each day you encounter things which you feel bad about. You don’t like something or, you don’t like a situation the way it currently is. Imagine if you took the opportunity to ask yourself questions such as:
The first self improvement tip is learning to love yourself. Unfortunately for many, this is easier said than done. You have to learn to accept who you are and that you are beautiful just the way you are. You’re not supposed to look like Brad Pitt or sing like Adele. You are supposed to simply be you.
You cannot conspire for happiness. It is impossible. But often this is what people try to do, especially when they seek out self-help and other personal development advice — they are essentially saying, “Show me the rules of the game I have to play; and I’ll play it.” Not realizing that it’s the fact that they think there are rules to happiness that’s actually preventing them from being happy.
4. Stop Procrastinating. Procrastination has been called the thief of time, opportunity’s assassin, and the grave in which dreams are buried. Fortunately, procrastination is not a character trait, but a habit. And just as you learned the habit of procrastination, you can unlearn it. Make better use of the time that you have by overcoming procrastination.
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Gorell, Ro (2013). “GROW as a process”. Group coaching: a practical guide to optimising collective talent in any organization. London; Philadelphia: Kogan Page. pp. 74–75. ISBN 9780749467593. OCLC 817579553.
When we are little kids, the way we learn to transcend the pleasure/pain values (“ice cream is good,” “hot stoves are bad”) is by pursuing those values and seeing how they fail us. We steal the ice cream, mom gets pissed and punishes us. Suddenly, “ice cream is good,” doesn’t seem as straightforward as it used to — there are all sorts of other factors to consider. I like ice cream. And I like mom. But taking the ice cream will upset mom. What do I do? Eventually, the child is forced to reckon with the fact that there are unintended consequences from pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain.
“This course has helped me (and continues to help me) like no other course has. It’s very down to earth, no nonsense, easy to understand and extremely user friendly. The best thing about participating is that it “cuts to the bone” of getting where you are meant to go in Life. Myrko has helped me in a way that no other course or instructor has.” on Personal Breakthrough Academy
All told, this is a bleak picture. If the ideal of the optimized self isn’t simply a fad, or even a preference, but an economic necessity, how can any of us choose to live otherwise? Storr insists that there is a way. “This isn’t a message of hopelessness,” he writes. “On the contrary, what it actually leads us towards is a better way of finding happiness. Once you realize that it’s all just an act of coercion, that it’s your culture trying to turn you into someone you can’t really be, you can begin to free yourself from your demands.”
We are all creatures of habit. We follow the same routines, day in, day out. This makes life easier for us, but also makes us lazy. To spice things up, you need to change your habits. I’m not talking about refraining from brushing your teeth, but maybe brush with the opposite hand.
This is why research has found that the most effective ways to break any bad habit is to — you guessed it — to bargain for it. Try this: write your best friend a check for $3,000 and tell him if you ever smoke another cigarette, he can go cash it. It’s shocking how effective this is. Create consequences for yourself. Create accountability.
^ Jump up to: a b Kross, E., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., Park, J., Burson, A., Dougherty, A., Shablack, H., & Ayduk, O. (2014). Self-talk as a regulatory mechanism: How you do it matters. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(2), 304
Sit and reach, hanging off anything, or just keeping you hand in the air and stretching them up. Those are the main exercises. And there are many more. Most improve flexibility — growing taller is a combination of things, not exercises.
Jump up ^ Daniel Seligman explicitly identifies the goals of positive psychology with Aristotle’s idea of the “Good Life” and eudaimonia in Seligman, Martin E. P. (2002). Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment.New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-2297-0 (Paperback edition, Free Press, 2004, ISBN 0-7432-2298-9).
Then I went to one of his classes in a London studio, full of supple people in leggings, and found the whole experience nerve-racking and humiliating. It wasn’t relaxing at all. It was like auditioning for Cats.
Training or mentoring in specialized teaching techniques that can be used in many different subject areas, such as differentiation (varying teaching techniques based on student learning needs and interests) or literacy strategies (techniques for improving reading and writing skills), for example.
Parents can also fail their children in another way: they can abuse them. A young child who is abused also does not develop beyond their pain/pleasure-driven values because their punishment follows no logical pattern and doesn’t reinforce deeper, more thoughtful values. It’s just random and cruel. Stealing ice cream sometimes results in harsh pain. Other times it results in nothing. Therefore, no lesson is learned. No higher values are produced. And the child never learns to control her own behavior. This is why children who are abused and children who are neglected often end up with the same problems as adults: they remain stuck in their childhood value system.
Get plenty of calcium. Again, there is little direct evidence between calcium and getting taller, but calcium is an essential ingredient in helping you grow strong bones which are important for growth.[10]. Most of your calcium will come from dairy products. It is recommended that boys and girls aged 9-18 should consume the equivalent of three cups (or 1,300 mg) of calcium-rich dairy foods a day.[11]
For snacks, I would eat an apple. At lunch and dinner, I would add in more vegetables. I don’t think I am anywhere need what the food pyramid calls for with these food groups, but this strategy works for me.
The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognise their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.
My first self-improvement guide is a new book called 15 Minutes To Happiness by Richard Nicholls. My first thought is that 15 minutes sounds a lot, especially when somebody else is promising to make me a millionaire in 10, but Nicholls’ book is full of quick exercises interspersed with longer explanations of why and how they work. Some of the exercises are designed to fix problems I don’t think I have, so I’m pretty sure I can skip ahead.
GROW’s literature includes the Twelve Stages of Decline, which indicate that emotional illness begins with self-centeredness, and the Twelve Steps of Personal Growth, a blend of AA’s Twelve Steps and will-training methods from Recovery International. GROW members view recovery as an ongoing life process rather than an outcome and are expected to continue following the Steps after completing them in order to maintain their mental health.[1][5][6]
Pretty much all of this article is my own spin on the research and pioneering ideas of the developmental psychologists Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Robert Kegan. My version is simplified, of course. If I had to recommend one book to dive into the subject, I would recommend Kegan’s The Evolving Self.↵
A friend of mine once described parenthood as, “Basically just following around a kid for a couple decades and making sure he doesn’t accidentally kill himself, and you’d be amazed how many ways a kid can find to accidentally kill himself.”
When parents and teachers fail to do this, it’s usually because they themselves are stuck at an adolescent level of value judgments. They, too, see the world in transactional terms. They, too, bargain love for sex, loyalty for affection, respect for obedience. In fact, they likely bargain with their kids for affection, love, or respect. They think it’s normal, so the kid grows up thinking it’s normal. And the shitty, shallow, transactional parent/child relationship is then replicated when the kid begins forming romantic relationships.4
So how do we go about realizing what’s truly important to us? How do we recognize our weaknesses, and learn not to hide behind them? How do we become balanced? How do we open that magical door that will show us the way to personal growth and success?
Both self-talk, the propensity to engage in verbal or mental self-directed conversation and thought, and social support can be used as instruments of self-improvement, often by empowering, action-promoting messages. Psychologists have designed series of experiments that are intended to shed light into how self-talk can result in self-improvement. In general, research has shown that people prefer to use second person pronouns over first person pronouns when engaging in self-talk to achieve goals, regulate one’s own behavior, thoughts, or emotions, and facilitate performance.[35] If self-talk has the expected effect, then writing about personal problems using language from their friends’ perspective should result in greater amount of motivational and emotional benefits comparing to using language from their own perspective. When you need to finish a difficult task and you are not willing to do something to finish this task, trying to write a few sentence or goals imaging what your friends have told you gives you more motivational resources comparing to you write to yourself. Research done by Ireland and others have revealed that, as expected, when people are writing using many physical and mental words or even typing a standard prompt with these kinds of words, adopting a friend’s perspective while freely writing about a personal challenge can help increase people’s intention to improve self-control by promoting the positivity of emotions such as pride and satisfaction, which can motivate people to reach their goal.[36]
If you’re reading this, you’re either past or nearly past this phase. If you were asleep, my work wouldn’t resonate with you. But I bet you remember when your conditioning and fears ruled you. That’s when you were asleep — playing the victim, assuming we don’t have the power or ability to change our own lives. Placing blame, neuroticism, fear, and lack of fulfillment are common side effects of being “asleep.” At some point, we realize we’ve been living our lives on cruise control and decide to stop.
It is more likely to increase your height while you are still in puberty. Unfortunately, you will probably not be able to grow any taller if you are already past puberty. If you are a boy, then you may keep growing, even in your early 20s. If you are a girl, expect to grow about until late teens. This, of course, varies on genetics.[10]
As a result, an adolescent learns that strictly pursuing your own pleasure and avoiding pain can cause problems. Actions have consequences. You must negotiate your own desires with the desires of those around you. You must play by the rules of society and authority, and then you will, more often than not, be rewarded.
Write a letter to your future self. What do you see yourself as 5 years from now? Will you be the same? Different?  What kind of person will you be? Write a letter to your future self – 1 year from now will be a good start – and seal it. Make a date in your calendar to open it 1 year from now. Then start working to become the person you want to open that letter.
So far, I have spoken mainly of the positives associated with personal development. However, personal development cannot make all your life experiences positive. There will always be times when bad things happen. Many times, these events will happen due to circumstances beyond your control, Other times, you will screw up and create a bit of a mess for yourself – congratulations on being human!
They don’t need to be important events either like scoring a raise at work. They could be as simple as getting to run around outside with your kids. Whatever it is, large or small, important or seemingly unimportant, be thankful for it all.
The symposium, put on by the Pachamama Alliance organization, fights for the conservation of the Amazon rainforest, which is home to many indigenous tribes like our partners, the Achuar. Specifically, the symposium illuminates the predisposed assumption that the habits of the “modern world” have little affect on the environment, which is a gross misconception.
In my first post in this exploration of how we can produce meaningful and last life change, I described the four obstacles that prevent change. In my last post on this topic, I introduced you to the five building blocks of change. These steps I just described set the stage for change, but the real work lies ahead. Change can be scary, tiring, frustrating, and repetitious. And change takes time. How much?, you might ask. It depends on your ability to remove the four obstacles to change and embrace the five building blocks I discussed above. It also relies on your ability to commit to the minute-to-minute process of change. But I have found that when someone makes a deep commitment to change, they can expect to see a positive shift in 3-6 months.
The journey of self-improvement is an ongoing process of constant learning. It gives you the opportunity to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and to work on them. Remember, personal development can help you in all the areas of your life and is therefore largely a personal journey, but one that needs to be prioritised. The benefits are that you grow as a person while growing your skills, you improve your self-awareness, and you boost your confidence.
If you are going to work out, you might as well eat well too, right? I find when I am working out, I eat better. When I stop working out, I eat poorly. It’s a simple cycle really. I lift weights, I feel good about myself, I eat well and the cycle repeats.
As you progress further with your personal development, you see that the real goals are the actions you need to take each day. You are confident that each action you complete will take you closer to the end goal /dream so, you don’t need to worry about that. You just focus on what you need to do next and, get that done. Then, you move to the next task. Occasionally, you check to see what progress you are making but, most of the time, you are only focused on what you need to do next.
A common criticism[37] surrounding personal development programs is that they are often treated as an arbitrary performance management tool to pay lip service to, but ultimately ignored. As such, many companies have decided to replace personal development programs with SMART Personal Development Objectives, which are regularly reviewed and updated. Personal Development Objectives help employees achieve career goals and improve overall performance.
When you know what you want to achieve, it is easier for you to see the benefits of taking action. Even when the task ahead is not enjoyable; if you can see a clear benefit, you are more motivated to take the necessary action. There is truth in the old adage ‘Where there is a will there is a way’. With strong personal development, you develop the necessary will.

Self-actualisation refers to the desire that everybody has ‘to become everything that they are capable of becoming’. In other words, it refers to self-fulfilment and the need to reach full potential as a unique human being.
Some adolescents become stuck at the second stage for the same reason others are stuck at the first: abuse and trauma. Victims of bullying are a particularly notable example. A person who has been bullied in their younger years will move through the world with an assumed understanding that no one will ever like or respect them unconditionally, that all affection must be hard-won through a series of practiced conversation and canned actions. You must dress a certain way. You must speak a certain way. You must act a certain way. Or else.
If you’re shy or introverted, this will serve as you getting outside of your comfort zone. Spending time with new people will broaden your horizons and open up different adventures and opportunities in your life. Unsure of how? Friends of friends is always a good start. Get yourself invited to parties and make it your mission to talk to someone you don’t know. Strike up a conversation at the gym. Introduce yourself to the person you always see at your favourite park or beach. Ask to share a table with a stranger at a busy café.
Because the only way to truly benefit from self-improvement is to one day arrive at a place where you no longer need it. Like a cast for a broken arm. Or a bandage for a deep cut. You put it on, let it heal you. And then you take it off and move on with your life.
Accordingly, if we notice that someone seems to be unable to make an impersonal decision that is isolated from human perspective, we should say to ourselves, “Ah ha, here is a Feeler. This person does not use Thinking well, and that is why they’re behaving this way.” Yet when we as Feelers are presented with a situation that requires an impersonal approach, we should NOT say to ourselves “I am a Feeler, and can’t be expected to make decisions based purely on impersonal facts and logic.” This kind of rationalization for behavior is certainly an easy way out of a situation, but it enforces the weakness, making it weaker and weaker still.
It requires good parents and teachers to not allow themselves to succumb to the adolescent’s bargains. It is their responsibility to point out to the adolescent that this sort of behavior is a never-ending treadmill, that you can only get so much from the world by bargaining with it, that the only things in life of real value and meaning are achieved without conditions, without transactions. The best way to do this is through example. The best way to teach an adolescent to trust is to trust them. The best way to teach an adolescent respect is to respect them. The best way to teach someone to love is by loving them.
There is a certain amount of natural overlap. Both 15 Minutes To Happiness and The 10 Minute Yoga Solution stress the importance of breathing, and the exercises are not dissimilar. But focus is the key to both, and the focal points are different. It’s harder to mix mindfulness and stillness than it sounds. Add in a podcast explaining what GDP is, and the whole thing becomes an exercise in frustration. I am reminded, to my eternal disappointment, that there are no quick fixes.
As for life being limited… well that may soon change if we support the development of new therapies to treat age related disease most notably sens foundation who are doing stellar work in the field of biotechnology (biomedical therapies) to eliminate all age related disease so that no one ever has to suffer age associated sickness decline or loss of function.
To get started reading and to stick with it pick out some books in niches that interest you. If you like mystery novels, then search out some short books in that niche. You can also check out my resources section for a list of my personal favorites.