Oscar Del Ben has seen many articles recently about why personal development doesn’t matter because you should be grateful for what you already have, but he has a different opinion.
While I agree that we can be happy with whatever we have at any moment, I think that it’s a mistake to stop there without pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. It stops our growth dead in its tracks. Accept any fact as given and shying away from value judgements is reductionist and it rarely leads to self-improvement.
So what is the role of personal development in all this? Personal development allows you to discover new things and emotions that you couldn’t have seen before because of your self-imposed limitations. What happens when you ignore your growth? Look around you. There are countless examples of people who ignore their core areas of development. You only need to observe how they look and act to see what ignoring your growth does.
There are a few key aspects to look at when working on your personal development. Let’s look at a few of them together.
From the first day of your life, you have been exposed to new things to learn, like languages, math skills, science, etc. This kind of exposure to new ideas slows down in your twenties when you leave school to enter the business world—unless, of course, you constantly study new things after you leave school.
There’s a common belief that our brain stops growing after age 20 because we have reached its maximum potential. In reality, most people’s brains stop growing at that age simply because they don’t exercise it like they did in the past. This is a well-established fact among scientists. The effects of mental laziness are clear: you loose your memory abilities and you are not able to concentrate on difficult tasks like you did before. This process is, of course, gradual, and it varies a lot from person to person, but eventually, if left unchecked, it leads to the same place.
You may wonder what happens to people who continue to study and practice new things. If you look at history, people who exercise their minds like an athlete does his or her body are able to perform important tasks with ever-increasing speed and efficiency. Some of them even win special prizes at an age when other people are often retiring. Intelligence can and will grow at any age.
Another important area to develop is your body. You can’t pretend to stay fit without training, and you can’t pretend to stay healthy if you don’t pay attention to your body. Both training and proper diet are important to prevent cardiovascular problems, injuries, and a lot of other common diseases. Giving up bad habits like smoking and abusing alcohol is vital for your body’s integrity.
Other Areas of Life
There are many other facets of life where it’s important to grow, like spirituality, sociality, and problem solving. I’ve seen many articles recently about why personal development doesn’t matter because you should be grateful for what you already have and enjoy the little things. Of course it’s important to be happy with what you already have, but that should not be an excuse to stop yourself from achieving even more in your life.
While I agree that we can be happy with whatever we have at any moment, I think that stopping there without pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone is a huge mistake that can stop our growth dead in its tracks. Don’t rest on your haunches or your laurels – no matter how good your situation is, it can always be improved.