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Last Updated on April 17, 2020

10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter Your Age

10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter Your Age

Self-improvement products in the U.S. bring in an estimated 9.9 billion dollars annually according to the latest data,[1] a seemingly massive industry. That is until you compare it to the music and film industries, which come in at a whopping 61 billion dollars combined. Or the beauty industry at an enormous 265 billion.[2] Now that’s a behemoth.

What these impressive numbers tell us is that Americans spend nearly 33 times more of their hard-earned cash on music, movies, and personal appearance than they do on personal growth.

Of course, the numbers aren’t a big surprise — our society is driven by appearances and instant gratification. We all want to look good and enjoy ourselves. But the data may be illustrating just how out of whack our priorities really are.

Assuming we could collectively use a swift kick in the pants to adjust those priorities, let’s review some great reasons to actively pursue personal growth, at any age.

Those who actively pursue personal development enjoy the following ten advantages:

1. Healthier Relationships

Relationships — with your family, children, co-workers, lovers and even that primary relationship with yourself – are the foundation of life. You can’t avoid them (even when you may wish to).

When your relationships are low-quality, your life is low quality. Conversely, when your relationships are healthy and vibrant, you will reap the benefits in profound ways.

Learning and building good relationship skills is an essential part of any personal development plan. People who consciously and deliberately build interpersonal skills experience greater satisfaction in relationships of all kinds.

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2. Less Stress

Given the killer that stress has turned out to be,[3] and how quickly it negatively impacts our overall quality of life, anything that reduces stress would be worth pursuing, don’t you think?

By making personal development a habit, particularly with regards to stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness practices, you will be better able to identify, manage and even eliminate key sources of stress in your life.

3. Improved Health

This one follows very nicely from our first two advantages above.

The link between stress and health is undeniable; more stress equals more disease. Happier and healthier relationships equals less stress, and the more equipped we are to manage and reduce stress, the better our overall health becomes.

The tools and teachings of personal development and self-improvement give us a better understanding of ourselves and of the world around us. The more you understand, the more equipped you become to handle whatever life throws at you.

People who have learned to manage the challenges and stressors of life have fewer lifestyle-related diseases, and may enjoy a prolonged lifespan as a result.

4. Increased Productivity

The number one enemy of productivity is procrastination. And procrastination is often driven by deeper emotions.[4] People engaged in personal growth as a lifestyle make a habit of digging deeper into these issues, thereby increasing the likelihood of arriving at meaningful solutions.

The second largest enemy of productivity is, you guessed it, stress. Our increasingly hectic lives are often driven by the expectations of perfection and performance, and when stress enters the mix, our productivity drops. We spend so much of our time worrying and trying to multitask that our ability to focus and accomplish what we set out to do diminishes.

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Self-development techniques improve your ability to focus and manage stress, help you get at hidden emotions and motivators, and allow productivity to sore.

Just imagine what life would be like if nothing stood in the way of your highest productivity. How much more would be possible for you?

5. Enhanced Self-Control

Self-control, that ability to regulate your emotions, thoughts and behavior in order to accomplish specific goals, is a cognitive ability that can be worked out and strengthened just as you would your muscles.

When setting and working towards goals for your life, it’s easy to become derailed by temptations, habits and impulses, particularly those driven by subconscious beliefs and underlying emotions.

By making self-development a regular and important part of your life, you bring to light those underlying beliefs and feelings. You strengthen your self-control ‘muscles’, making it easier to build new habits and achieve short and long term goals.

6. Greater Success

By success, we’re talking about the ability to reach those markers of achievement that each individual sets for him or herself, rather than the standard markers of ‘success’ as presented by media (i.e. wealth, popularity, fame or power). Though, ironically, if that’s what you truly want, you’re more likely to achieve it if self-development is a regular part of your lifestyle.

When we look back over the advantages as listed above, it’s easier to see why this is true; healthy and supportive relationships, reduced stress and the associated improvements in health, increased productivity, and enhanced self-control all create the necessary environment for success to occur.

7. Improved Peace of Mind

Aside from the peace of mind that generally follows as a result of such factors as lower stress levels, experiencing better overall health, and being successful, regular self-awareness and improvement practices can generate their own feelings of greater contentment and tranquility.

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Mindfulness, meditation, and mind-body techniques such as yoga and qi-qong, when practiced regularly can improve focus and self-awareness, which in turn helps generate peace of mind.

Personal development practices also tend to increase your understanding of self and others, which contributes to a greater sense of peace and acceptance overall.

8. Better Parenting

Because young children and babies learn by aping their parents and caregivers, it’s vital that parents first and foremost work on developing and improving themselves.

To be a better parent, one that can serve as a good first role model for babies and young children, you need to be willing to take a long, hard, honest look at yourself.

When you spend the time on personal development and self-awareness, you are less likely to unwittingly pass along negative patterns and behaviors to your children. You’re also far less likely to fall into common parenting pitfalls such as negative reinforcement, anger, bullying, enabling, micromanaging and the like.

9. Greater Resilience

According to the dictionary definition, resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from life’s challenges, tragedies and difficulties. It’s the psychological ability to emerge from these experience and return to a healthy mental and emotional state. It’s essentially a form of emotional flexibility.

Personal development allows you to confront and work through obstacles from the inside and out. Time spent developing your emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and coping strategies will have a direct and positive impact on your level of resilience.

Life will always throw us curve balls in the form of obstacles and challenges when we least expect them. Having resilience means being able to rebound quickly, returning to your natural balance, growing and learning from the experiences instead of snapping or breaking.

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In fact, developing greater resilience may well be the most important thing anyone can do to improve their overall life satisfaction.

10. Greater Happiness

And we finally arrive at the grand finale of advantages — happiness.

If happiness truly is the journey rather than the destination, then spending the time in your daily life to develop yourself will make that journey a heck of a lot more pleasant.

Imagine a life in which you enjoy good health and better relationships; a life in which you feel in control of yourself and your ability to cope well with whatever challenges come your way; a life in which you feel generally confident in your ability to succeed in your endeavors.

By taking the time to work on your personal development, you are decreasing the negative impacts of stress and ill-health, and you are increasing your ability to handle your life and relationships.

Through self-improvement efforts, you learn to identify, heal and transform underlying beliefs, traumas and self-sabotaging behaviors and habits.

All of which contributes to removing the layers of obstacles that smother our ability to experience real joy and happiness.

Final Thoughts

So next time you’re feeling crappy about your life or something in it, and feel tempted to spend money on makeup, clothes or that latest video game, perhaps you’ll think again and browse a while in the self-improvement section.

The former might change your mood for the moment, but the latter may well change your life for good.

Tips for Accelerating Your Personal Growth

Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mike Bundrant

Co-Founder @inlpcenter, which offers NLP training and life coach certification to students in over 70 countries.

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Last Updated on July 24, 2020

A Comprehensive Guide to a Smart Learning Process

A Comprehensive Guide to a Smart Learning Process

One of the most crucial aspects of our lives is the ability to learn. We often take this skill for granted since not many of us pause and think about our learning process. In fact, if we did, we would probably uncover that we engage in ineffective learning mechanisms.

Think about it. Has your learning helped you recall things you learned last month? Go back a year and ponder.

A lot of how we learn was tucked away in school. Our exposure to school learning is the basis of how we learn moving forward. However, over the past few decades, learning has evolved into different stages of learning, and that becomes the main issue.

No longer are we looking at examinations of people’s characteristics about understanding and learning. Instead, scholars have created learning processes that use materials that support our interactions with others and our goals.

As a result, we can learn new things more smartly and effectively – which will be covered as we proceed further in understanding the learning process.

The Essential Steps of the Learning Process

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell states that the key to success is for us to practice 10,000 hours on a specific skill. It’s also worth noting that the skill needs the correct learning direction. If you’re learning how to do something the wrong way, you’ll continue to use it the wrong way.

But before understanding the learning process, we must understand the stages of learning. Written in the 1970s, Noel Burch created a model called the Four Stages of Learning. [1]

From there, we can use the stages of learning as a basis for how to learn effectively.

1. Unconscious Incompetence

Think of a skill that you are good at and that you use every single day.

Now think back to when you first developed that skill. Were you good at it? Probably not.

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You never heard of the skill or had a desire to learn of it until that point. This is the first stage: You know nothing about it.

2. Conscious Incompetence

Once you have heard of the skill, you begin to delve into it.

Driving a car is a perfect example. Before this stage, you never felt the need to learn how to drive. Nevertheless, once you became of legal age, you had to study to get your license. You likely made several mistakes on the driving test as well as during the written test.

This is the stage where you feel learning is slow, and you’re also aware of your mistakes.

3. Conscious Competence

By this stage, you know pretty much everything you need to know. At the same time, though, you are also aware that you need to focus and concentrate on what you are doing.

This stage can be that you know the rules of the road and can drive well. However, you feel you can’t talk to anyone, play any music, or look away from the road. You feel like you need total silence to focus and concentrate on driving.

At this stage, learning can be even slower than the previous stages. The learning isn’t consistent, nor is it a habit yet.

4. Unconscious Competence

By this stage, you’ve made it. You know everything in and out about the skill. It’s become a habit, and you don’t need to concentrate. You can relax and let your unconscious mind take over.

Exceeding the 4 Stages: Flow/Mastery

While Burch only covered four stages, there is another stage that exceeds it. This is the flow or mastery stage.

You may have heard of something called a flow state. [2] It’s the mental state where someone is performing an activity and is fully immersed in it. They feel energized, focused, and get a sense of joy from doing this activity.

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Flow or mastery can stem from all kinds of activities like Writing, reading, jogging, biking, figure skating, and more. It’s also characterized as complete absorption in what you’re doing, making you unaware of space and time.

Different Types of Learning Process

Another aspect of the learning process is the types of learning. While every person goes through those stages of learning, how we learn is different.

Having covered four learning styles in 4 Learning Styles to Help You Learn Faster and Smarter, I’m recapping the different types of learning in psychology.

Psychiatrists have narrowed how we learn down to seven learning styles as below:

  • Visual (spatial): Learning through pictures, graphs, charts, etc.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): Learning through sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): Learning through spoken or written words.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): Learning through the body, hands, and a sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): Learning through logic, systems, and reasons.
  • Social (interpersonal): Learning through groups or talking to people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): Learning individually through self-study or individual assignments.

You may be asking why all of this matters and actually how we learn plays a significant role. How we internally represent experiences stems from how we learn. What we learn not only establishes how we recall information but also impacts our own word choice.

It also influences which part of our brain we use for learning. Researchers uncovered this through various experiments.[3]

For example, say you’re driving to a place you’ve never gone before. How you learn will determine which method of learning you’ll use. Some will ask people for directions, while others will pull up Google maps. Some will write the directions out, while some won’t and merely follow street signs.

Knowing how to learn to this depth is vital because once you know what style you use, you can then develop a learning process to be a more effective learner.

How To Become an Effective Learner?

The learning process varies from person to person. Generally speaking, though, consider the following steps and considerations:

1. Improve Your Memory

Learning doesn’t only require that we learn information, but to retain it. If we are to learn something, we will have to learn and relearn. This means recalling and having a sharp memory to keep that information.

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Improving our memory can range from a variety of things. From memory palaces to practicing other memory improvement tactics.

2. Keep Learning and Practicing New Things

Learning a new skill takes time, but there is nothing wrong with learning a few other things. International Journal of Science – Nature: Changes in grey matter induced by training[4] reported that those who juggled between learning different topics increase their gray matter which is associated with visual memory

3. Learn in Many Ways

While we have our own go-to style, delving into other types and stages of learning can be useful. If you learn by listening to podcasts, why not try rehearsing information verbally or visually?

It will not start great, but by improving your skill to describe what you learned orally, you are further cementing the knowledge in your mind.

Judy Willis MD, M.Ed in her publication on Review of Research: Brain-Based Teaching Strategies for Improving Students’ Memory, Learning, and Test-Taking Success[5] states how the more regions we keep data stored, the more interconnection there is in the collection information that we later process.

4. Teaching What You Learned to Others

It doesn’t have to be in a tutoring situation, but this method is still a reliable way for two people to grow.

Regardless of learning styles, we retain the information we tell others more effectively than if we keep it to ourselves. Was there a random fact you told someone a few months ago? You are more likely to remember that information because you brought it up to someone.

5. Use Relational Learning

Relational learning is relating new information to things you already know.

A typical example of this is remembering someone’s name. You can better recall that person’s name if you associate that name to something or someone familiar.

6. Gaining Practical Experience

Nothing beats learning than trying it for yourself. Sure, seeing information does have its strong points -and most learning styles benefit from exposed information – there is something to be said about getting your “hands dirty.”

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7. Refer Back to past Info If Need Be

The learning process is not perfect. We’ll forget at certain points. If you ever struggle to remember something, make a point of going back to your notes.

This is key because if we try recalling, we risk ourselves learning or relearning the wrong answer. And again, there is a difference between learning the right way and the wrong way.

8. Test Yourself

While this step may seem odd, there are benefits to testing yourself. Even if you think you know everything about the topic, going back and testing yourself can always help.

Not only does testing improve our recall, but we may realize that we learned a concept or task incorrectly. That knowledge can enhance our effectiveness in the future.

9. Stop Multitasking

While we should be learning new things all the time, we shouldn’t be trying to do several tasks at once. We ought to focus on one activity at a time before moving onto other tasks.

By trying to multitask, we are learning less effectively and are only hindering ourselves. Check out how multitasking is merely another way of distracting ourselves.

Bottom Line

Psychologists define learning as the process of a permanent change in a person’s behavior resulting from experience. The understanding of the learning process is up to us, but do consider the bigger picture. Be aware of what style works best for you, and work to improve it while enhancing other learning styles. The only way we can advance a skill is to learn continuously. Even in the skills you have mastered, there are always new developments.

You can learn more about how you can cultivate lifelong learning and attain an edge in every niche that you get associated with today!

Featured photo credit: Aliis Sinisalu via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Gordon Training International: The Four Stages of Competence
[2] Habits for Wellbeing: Flow: the Secret to Happiness: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
[3] Training Industry: How the Brain Learns
[4] International Journal of Science – Nature: Changes in grey matter induced by training
[5] Judy Willis MD, M.Ed: Review of Research: Brain-Based Teaching Strategies for Improving Students’ Memory, Learning, and Test-Taking Success

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