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"Personal Development" and why you should avoid it.

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

I used to think that implementing personal development meant that there's something wrong with me and I needed to be "fixed", never quite sure what or how.

Then I met Martin, a "petrol head". Martin, and all the men in his family, loves nothing more than to buy a new car and make changes to it. His mother once had a sign made, "PLEASE LEAVE AS IS" and stuck it to the windscreen, because she was tired of his constant "fiddling with cars".

One day, I asked Martin why he constantly worked on his car. He said that stock-standard cars are good and reliable, but lack "growl". The modifications got the vehicle to work at its optimal performance. Martin said, "it's like upgrading a computer to match the demands of new software".

Personal development is modifying your skills and abilities to ensure optimal performance. It's an upgrade to match the demands of the environment in which we live. The world has changed. We cannot remain the same and expect to excel in this new environment. Our software needs to be tweaked to get the best performance possible.

Personal development sometimes seems like one dives into a dumpster and scratches about in the hope of discovering a forgotten gem or a discarded treasure. Saying I am working on personal development creates the image of going to an electrician who then rewires thought and emotional connections.

The good news is, you don't have to be a petrol head or a dumpster diver to implement personal development in your life, and you can forget about the tissues and a counselling bed. What you need is to develop, tweak, key skills and abilities in your life.

Here are ten super-abilities that you should develop on an ongoing basis:

  1. Identify and solve problems

  2. Creativity and innovation

  3. Communicate effectively

  4. Collect, sort, analyse and critically evaluate information - "make an informed choice"

  5. Manage and organise yourself (basic life skills)

  6. Work effectively with other people

  7. Develop cultural and aesthetic awareness

  8. Use simple science and technology

  9. Systems Thinking (Cause and Effect)

  10. Vision, Mission and Strategy Management

Nurturing and improving these ten key skills will ensure that your mental and emotional systems will align to optimal performance. Excellence in these skills will also ensure that you are employable and relevant in the changing world in which we live.

You should avoid personal development. Slapping a sign saying "PLEASE LEAVE AS IS" and skipping class will save you money and keep you functioning with "factory settings". Modifying skills is addictive, expensive and time-consuming, and it will become a life-long project.

Are there any advantages to Personal Development? It will put the "growl" into your life.

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