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What are we trying to achieve in personal development?

  Personal development aims for:
  1. Emotional Control
  2. Understanding
  3. Effectiveness

Sometimes we respond in ways which, when we have calmed down, we regret. We get angry, we get upset, we despair, when logically, we wish we had expressed a different emotion. Similarly we get excited and enthusiastic about things, which had we been able to follow our reason, we would not have pursued with such passion. We feel we cannot control or direct our emotions. We are at the mercy of outside or unconscious forces. We wish for the freedom to express  appropriate emotions.

Instead of having to do certain things to gain pleasure, we wish to gain pleasure by doing appropriate things! This is traditionally the area of psychiatry or religion.

To accomplish any aim we need understanding - the skills,the  maps and the (mental) tools. We can know without having the skills to do.  Understanding means knowing and doing. This area is traditionally the area of education.

Just as lacking skills, knowledge, emotions etc, can be a barrier to achieving personal development, so can a lack of effectiveness. We can know what we want, be able to do it, have the motivation (appropriate emotions) but not the personal effectiveness.

Effectiveness can involve personal influence. Personal effectiveness is mainly concerned with the communication, persuasion, rapport building skills to motivate and enthuse others and to help them understand. This area requires that we understand the skills of manipulation, but it does not mean we have to be more manipulative than other systems. Personal effectiveness involves overcoming the barriers within ourselves too. Effectiveness also involves knowing what is most appropriate. We can do several things, but which is best. This is wisdom and is the area traditionally concerning business.

Personal development cannot be fully attained without addressing all these factors. We cannot attain our aim by merely feeling good, although we need to feel good to attain our aim. We cannot attain our aim merely through understanding - knowing and being skilful, although we need to have them. Nor can we attain our aim merely through effectiveness, although we cannot attain it without it!

I believe that much confusion within the path of personal development arises because we do not acknowledge that all these factors are essential. This does not mean we have to be expert in all of them. Being especially good at one will tend to improve us in the others, just as being very bad in one will tend to hold us back.For example, if we are especially good in understanding, then we may feel good because others turn to us for knowledge. And we may be motivated to learn to be more effective in communicating our understanding.

In summary:

  • We need to be in the right state of thinking and emotion,
  • Know how to get into this state,
  • Know what we want,
  • How to do it, and
  • We need to act effectively.

The goal of Personal Development Quest is to seek and find those skills and abilities, that knowledge which enables us to attain emotional wellbeing, understanding and effectiveness, and to share them with others.

This short article is written by Ken Ward.

Ken Ward and Peter Shepherd, Europe's Personal Development Technologists, are authors of New Life Course, and Think Different. "If you like these articles, you will love these courses! These courses really can make a difference. I encourage you to benefit from these valuable resources." Check out the courses here!

Most recent revision 11 November 1999
Copyright 1998,1999 Ken Ward,
All Rights Reserved.

For more information please visit: The New Life Course