By virtue of being born to humanity, every human being has a right to the development and fulfilment of his potentialities as a human being.
Ashley Montagu (British-American anthropologist)
We are to some extent a product of our genes and the social environment, but we also create ourselves – to a large degree it is up to us what we will become and how far we will actualise our potential. This is what development refers to.
What personal development is
Remember the time when you were a kid. It is likely that you thought in a different way, liked doing different things or listened to different music. Perhaps you believed that you would stay the same forever, but these things changed – you developed. Development is not the same as aging though. Aging is a natural process that is largely genetically determined; development, on the other hand, is a potential that depends on our efforts and intentions. So, while the body stops growing at some point, then stagnates, and finally starts deteriorating, personal development does not have to. Our experience keeps accumulating, so your development does not ever need to stop – it is all up to you.
The prerequisites of personal development
You can develop in many ways on your own, but this process may be easier and quicker with some assistance (e.g. written materials, teachers or guides). After all, why not benefit from those who have already been on this journey? This does not mean accepting indiscriminately what others say – real development requires reflecting on what you absorb and making sure that you are the one who determines your path. Ultimately, this is your journey! There are many routes of personal development, so assistance is beneficial only if it goes in conjunction with your choice. Development though is not completely effortless, so some level of self-discipline is essential – it will not happen if you give in to inertia. Let’s consider now the types of personal development.