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The Basics of Personal Growth. Live Life at Maximum Potential

Updated on October 16, 2012

There are many ways to educate yourself on personal growth.


In the video below, Effecting Positive Change Personal Growth and Development, Dr. Randy Ross explains the importance of effecting positive change before life forces you to make changes in order to get out of a negative situation. He also suggests a practical method of assessing your need for personal growth.

Personal growth and development is an extremely important factor of success. Many people live life according to a set plan that often involves education and professional development, but does not leave much room for personal improvement.

I believe this is one of the reasons that so many people end up living sedentary lives in miserable, dead end jobs, and fail in their relationships with others.

What is personal growth?

Personal growth is any change that leads to self-improvement. It could be a change in your mental, physical, emotional, social, creative or spiritual realm. Self-development in any of these areas will have a large impact on all of the others, so having a good ongoing personal development plan will help to keep you from having to seek self-help in the future.

As much as I enjoy sharing self-help advice, I also understand the need for prevention, and frankly, I think preventing problems is always much easier than fixing them! However, if you already have problems to solve, it can certainly help you kick start your desire for personal change. So… where do you start?

Make an ongoing personal growth and development plan

Set a schedule for self improvement, and stick to it. Staying organized always helps you achieve your goals. I would suggest that you start small. Try one self development goal a year, and if you reach your goal quickly, add another goal or two when it comes time to revise your plan. As I mentioned before, there are 6 realms of development that you should consider. However, trying to improve them all at once is unnecessary because a small change in one can create big changes in many others. Let’s take a look at these six realms of personal improvement.

Mental Growth

Personal development in the mental realm is probably one of the easiest goals you can make. Learning new information and skills almost happens on it’s own every day. As a matter of fact, it’s really hard to get through an entire day without learning something new. When seeking a goal for mental development, choose something that will help you live life with excitement.

For example, I came to the conclusion a few years ago, that what I really enjoy is sharing my opinions with others, and playing on MySpace. When MySpace started to change, I began to lose interest in it, but before I lost that interest I had discovered blogging. My enjoyment of blogging eventually led me to setting a goal for improving my writing skills. Of course everyone isn’t going to enjoy writing, but I think everyone has something they really enjoy, and can learn more about.

Physical Development

I would have to say that at least for me, physical development is the hardest realm of personal change that a person can take on. Unless your passion is physical fitness, it may also seem like one of the least important goals to achieve. However, Physical health is a very important factor of mental and emotional health. Therefore, improvements are essential.

Again, start small. Even achieving a tiny goal like drinking more water daily, or doing 30 minutes of exercise per day can make a huge impact on your overall personal growth and development.

Emotional Growth

Emotional development is another realm of self-improvement that can seem difficult for some. I have personally taken an invested interest in the subject, but many seem to be turned off by the whole idea of thinking about the way they think, and react to stressful situations.

The wealth of information I have found on changing negative emotional thoughts and behaviors continues to astound me. The benefits of seeking personal improvements in this realm are undeniable, and breathtaking. I really feel that change happens from the inside out, and I encourage anyone to consider placing this as a top priority in their self development plan.

Social Growth

One of the more desired forms of personal change is developing a stronger sense of social involvement and acceptance. This aspect of personal development can also be hard to achieve, but well worth any effort.

What I like about developing a stronger social circle, is that developing this area of your life can be done in conjunction with accomplishing your other personal growth and development goals. Joining groups and clubs is one of the best ways to learn a new skill, or overcome a challenge. Philanthropy, volunteer and religious opportunities are also great ways of connecting with people on a deeper level, and helping you feel a greater sense of belonging in the social realm.

Creative Development

As I began learning about ways of creating emotional health and wellbeing, I discovered the fundamental role that creativity plays in self-development. Harnessing creative outlets helps you build a greater sense of accomplishment, and control.

I have always tried to live by the rule that you should live life doing what you love. Creativity isn’t necessarily about painting, sculpting, poetry and music. It can also be about finding ways to incorporate your passions into your daily life, even if you don’t have much time to spare. Have you ever heard the saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow”? This concept used to be an enigma to me, but I am finally finding out that with enough effort, it’s absolutely true.

Spiritual Growth

Whether or not we like to admit it, none of us can live life alone. For this reason, personal change in the spiritual realm can have more of an impact than any other form of personal development. Giving our lives to a higher purpose means that we are not solely responsible for the outcome of our efforts.

When we take the focus off ourselves, and focus on pleasing our creator, self-improvement naturally follows. It is suddenly easier to be thankful for the little things, and hopeful for the bigger things. Therefore, nothing seems as difficult or frightening as it is when our focus is heavily fixed on ourselves. For this reason, I consider spiritual growth to be the most important realm of personal improvement there is.

Live Life Your Way

It may seem like a contradiction to say this after talking about spiritual development, but I am convinced that growth in ALL of these realms is an essential part of living life at maximum potential. Spiritual growth allows us to look at things from a completely controlled perspective. Once we know that an intelligent creator is on our side, and we find a way to use our given passions to bring our creator glory, mental, physical, emotional, social and creative growth happens in ways that only an omnipotent creator could fathom.

It all boils down to three questions:

What do I enjoy?

How can I use it for personal growth?

How can I use it to build my relationship with my higher power?

Do you know what your passion in life is?

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    • zionsphere profile image

      zionsphere 5 years ago from Oregon

      Thank you CyberShelly :)

      I couldn't imagine going back to living life without any future goals. I get depressed just thinking about it.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      We definitely should deepen and widen our lives, it is my motto. Thank you for writing such an in depth, well expressed article. Up, interesting and useful

    • zionsphere profile image

      zionsphere 5 years ago from Oregon

      Thank you Always E. I Find it in writing too, and as I am sharpening my writing skills, I am finding other ways to grow as well. I hope you are finding your happiness :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great article. Personal growth is necessary to achieve happiness and contentment. I find this in writing..Thank you..

    • zionsphere profile image

      zionsphere 5 years ago from Oregon

      Thank you for the comment Brittanie :) Fear of moving backwards was what finally drove me to seek out personal growth. I am so glad that I did!

    • Brittanie2216 profile image

      Brittanie Pervier 5 years ago from Seattle WA

      Awesome article! I am always trying to grow. At one point in my life I realized if I was not trying to move forward I was likely to just stay the same or even worse go backwards. Personal growth is important in a world that is always changing. Thank you for sharing :)

    • zionsphere profile image

      zionsphere 5 years ago from Oregon

      Thank you for the vote up G. I wholeheartedly agree. You would be surprised how many people in my life have balked at the idea of changing themselves. It's good to know that there are people out there who understand how important it is to do so.

    • zionsphere profile image

      zionsphere 5 years ago from Oregon

      Thank you Billybuc. I like that! Your Dad sounds like a wise man.

    • GClark profile image

      GClark 5 years ago from United States

      Great article with wonderful information and encouragement for anyone at any level of growth. Learning something new or improving yourself and your mind takes you forward towards new goals, a sense of purpose, and a reason for living. Voted Up!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      If you aren't growing you might as well be a clump of dirt.....those words were told to me by my dad fifty years ago and they are still true today. Thank you for reminding me of that.