Personal growth is a buzzword that continually finds its way to boardrooms and coffee table conversations. The sad truth though is that few people actively pursue growth. But if practiced consistently over time, personal growth can unlock the potential that lies within us.
John C Maxwell, a best-selling author who often writes about personal development and leadership, once said:
“Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not. When I see a person beginning to separate themselves from the pack, it’s almost always due to personal growth.”
In other words, self-improvement (or personal growth) is the big differentiator between people who achieve their goals and those who do not. If you study the most influential and successful people in the world, you will realize that they all care deeply about growing as a person. But why does that matter; what do you stand to gain from practicing personal growth?
7 Benefits of Self-Development
There are countless benefits you can experience from practicing personal growth, self-growth or self-development. But there are 7, in particular, I would like to mention here, that have helped me and will certainly help you to elevate your personal, professional, and social life.
1. Improved Relationships
Relationships form the core of human existence. The people that we surround ourselves to determine how far we go. You may have come across the quote that says,
“you are the average of the five people that you spend most of your time with”
In light of this statement, cultivating the right relationships in our lives is incredibly important.
You attract who you are. So by taking the time to invest in yourself, you attract people in your life who are interested in improving themselves too. This will ensure that the people you surround yourself with bring value and push you forward.
2. Getting out of Your Comfort Zone
We all love being comfortable. More often than not, new relationships and activities can be scary. Safety and comfort are reassuring. But the danger with comfort is that we allow average experiences, and average mentalities to rule our lives.
A few years back, after working for the Dutch government, I took up a sales manager job. I held the position for three months. The job was way outside my comfort zone, and to be honest, it didn’t fit my personality. It was scary and stressful. But despite being in unfamiliar territory, despite the stress, and even anger at myself for not being a good salesperson, I did gain precious sales experience. This experience has been particularly useful in building my company.
It has helped me to learn how to deal with rejection, and to keep pursuing your leads or dreams. It would have been impossible for me to grow this fast if I hadn’t been pushed out of my comfort zone.
Now I’m not saying that you should quit your job and start in sales. The main takeaway from my personal story is that if you want to grow, you will need to move out of your comfort zone. This can be scary, but it will lead you to learn new things and gain new experiences. So start that business, take that coaching program, go for that excursion you’ve been planning. Take a leap.
3. Work Ethic and Self Discipline
The process of improving yourself requires you to be disciplined and do the work. This is difficult; it’s not easy to be disciplined and hold yourself accountable for watching Netflix instead of exercising. However, each day, as you strive to be better and reach your goals, you train yourself in self-discipline and you improve your work ethic.
Within no time, you will become an athlete who trains every day regardless of the weather. By investing in yourself every day, you build a growth mindset. In the long run, small improvements every day will help you develop grit and perseverance; these will help you in all areas of your life.
4. Building Habits
Through constant self-improvement, you learn new things and adopt new values, habits, and routines. Personal development will help you not only create new habits but also make habit-building easier. Using tools like goal setting, accountability, and repetition. Eventually, acquiring a new habit will become an easy task.
5. Discovering Happiness
Developing a positive mindset, and exercising gratitude to how far you’ve come, are major components of personal growth. These have a huge impact on your happiness. As a result, being positive will lift your spirits and give you inner joy.
Living a life of gratitude affects your inner being, which then influences everything around you. Being thankful for your growth and life, in general, allows you to appreciate life more, and treat everyone in your life with reverence. A life of gratitude will help you discover what really matters.
6. Serve the World Better
Some people tend to think that by focusing on yourself, you are selfish. On the contrary, personal development helps you tap into your full potential and give yourself to the world in a much better way.
After all, if you care about self-improvement, you do so to become a better you. You don’t need to become a better businessperson — self-improvement can also be about becoming a better husband, mother, carer, or kinder person. So remember, “As you grow, everything around you grows.”
7. Sharpen Your Axe
A long time ago, a woodcutter went looking for a job. In his new role, he aimed to impress his new boss with significant results. On the first day of the job, he cut down 20 trees. On the second day, he managed to cut down 15 trees. He vowed to do better the next day and not let his boss down.
On the third day, he only managed to cut down ten trees. He was disappointed in himself and couldn’t understand why he was doing worse each day. On that day, he apologized profusely to his boss for his reduced performance. His boss, however, did not reprimand him. Instead, he asked him one question: “When’s the last time you sharpened your axe?”
In this case, the axe is a metaphor for our skills, character, and proficiencies in life. Many times we approach life with the mentality of the woodcutter. Continuously chipping away at the tree without thinking about our effectiveness. In other words, personal growth is the tool that we use to sharpen our axe.
Overcoming Life’s Difficulties
You may have hit a roadblock in your life. You might be frustrated about not getting that promotion you think you deserve. You may be stuck financially. But as long as you’re improving, every day, you will position yourself to access the opportunities you seek. As American entrepreneur and speaker Jim Rohn said: “Income seldom exceeds personal development.”
And it’s not just about income. Self-improvement is the only sure way to reach your goals, whether they’re financial or not. So perhaps it is time to take a leadership course to help you get into that management position, or read a financial book to help you get your finances in order.
Remember, it’s easy to get started, but the real fight is in keeping on going even on the days you don’t feel like it. But whichever personal development path you take, one thing is certain: you will see an exponential return on your investment.