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Last Updated on September 2, 2019

10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter How Old You Are

10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter How Old You Are

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 development, 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.

More Resources About Self Improvement

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.

10 Leadership Goals That Strong Leaders Set for Themselves 10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter How Old You Are How to Get Motivated to Go to Work Every Single Day 9 Ways to Prepare for Change and Live Your Dream Life 12 Most Important Milestones in Life to Grow Through

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Last Updated on September 17, 2019

What’s the Easiest Language to Learn for English Speakers?

What’s the Easiest Language to Learn for English Speakers?

Who says learning a language needs to be hard?

The better question to ask is: what is the easiest language to learn in the shortest amount of time?

How to Know Which Languages Are Easier to Learn?

Playing to Your Strengths

One way to hack this process is to first understand that as English speakers, we have in our hands one of the most connected languages that exists. It’s linked to many European Germanic languages by descent or influence, and over 50 percent of English words stem from Latin or French.

    This probably doesn’t come as a big surprise to most, as the structure, alphabet, and makeup of the language is very similar to Spanish, Italian, French, and other languages from the latin root.

    Bestselling author and polyglot, Tim Ferriss, says that you should consider a new language like a new sport.

    There are certain physical prerequisites (height is an advantage in basketball), rules (a runner must touch the bases in baseball), and so on that determine if you can become proficient at all, and—if so—how long it will take.

    For example, it would a wiser choice and indicate a higher likelihood of success if a professional water polo player decided to transition into playing handball: similar structures, rules, and physical requirements.

    However, it wouldn’t be too wise if Kobe Bryant started to play professional ice hockey. It involves learning too many new rules, an entire new skill (skating), and the likelihood of success decreases significantly (or will take 10x longer).

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    Language learning is no different. As a “professional” language learner, we need to first breakdown our strengths and our understanding of existing rules and structures.

    If you already speak English, picking a compatible language with similar sounds and word structure like Spanish, instead of a completely different root like Mandarin, could mean the difference between reaching conversation fluency in 3 months versus 3 years.

    Follow the Golden Sentences

    If you want to determine which is the easiest language to learn, you should aim to answer the following questions first.

    • Are there new grammatical structures that will postpone fluency?
    • Are there new sounds that will double or quadruple the time it takes to acquire fluency? (particularly vowels)
    • How similar is it to languages I already understand? What will help and what will interfere?
    • All of which answer the question: How difficult will it be, and how long would it take to become fluent?

    An effective tool to use to answer all of these questions is called The Golden Sentences.

    It comprises eight sentences that expose much of the language, and quite a few deal breakers.

    1. The apple is red.
    2. It is John’s apple.
    3. I give John the apple.
    4. We give him the apple.
    5. He gives it to John.
    6. She gives it to him.
    7. I must give it to him.
    8. I want to give it to her.

    Here’s a directly translated version of these sentences in Spanish.

    1BObwE56jfMqAPOokV2IBsA

      There’s a couple of reasons why these sentences are helpful:

      • It shows you how verbs are conjugated based on the speaker (gender and number)
      • You can see a high-level view of the fundamental sentence structures, which helps you answer questions like: is it subject-verb-object (SVO) like English and Chinese (“I eat the apple”), is it subject-object-verb (SOV) like Japanese (“I the apple eat”), or something else?
      • The first three sentences shows you if the language has a noun case that may become a pain in the butt for you. For example in German, “the” might be der, das, die, dem, den and more depending on whether “the apple” is an object, indirect object, possessed by someone else, etc.

      If possible, I recommend you check with a language teacher to fully understand the translation of these sentences and how transferable your existing languages are.

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      As a rule of thumb: use The Golden Sentences as your guiding map, before you choose the vehicle (the method). It will help you achieve your goals in half the time.

      Difficulty Level for Learning the 7 Most Common Languages

      Now let’s dive into dissecting which of the hundreds of languages that exist, is the easiest language to learn.

      We profiled each of the languages we’ll mention into the following categories:

      • Speaking: This is based on the ease with which learners are able to pick up this language.
      • Grammar: Used as a criterion when ranking a given language as easy, moderately easy, or difficult to acquire.
      • Writing: In many languages, learning to speak first and write later makes the journey easier. Other languages are equally easy to speak and write. This item spells out the easiest languages to write alongside the most difficult. As with speaking, easy, moderately easy, and difficult were used to qualify each language.

      We’ve decided to rank the order of the languages from easiest to hardest to learn.

      1. Spanish

      • Speaking: Very Easy
      • Grammar: Very Easy
      • Writing: Easy
      • Overall: Very Easy

      As English speakers, we can be thankful that Spanish pronunciations are one of the easiest to learn.

      Overall, Spanish has a shallow orthographic depth – meaning that most words are written as pronounced. This means that reading and writing in Spanish is a straightforward task.

      With only ten vowel and diphthong sounds (English has 20), and no unfamiliar phonemes except for the fun-to-pronounce letter ñ. This makes learning how to speak Spanish the easiest out of the bunch, and may give you the best return on your time and investment, as 37 per cent of employers rated Spanish as a critical language to know for employment.[1]

      2. Italian

      • Speaking: Easy
      • Grammar: Easy
      • Writing: Moderately Easy
      • Overall: Easy

      Italian is the most “romantic” of the romance languages. Luckily its latin-rooted vocabulary translates into many similar Italian/English cognates, such as foresta (forest), calendario (calendar), and ambizioso (ambitious).

      Like Spanish, many of the words in Italian are written as pronounced. Moreover, the Italian sentence structure is highly rhythmic, with most words ending in vowels. This adds a musicality to the spoken language which makes it fairly simple to understand, and a spunky language to use.

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      3. French

      • Speaking: Moderate
      • Grammar: Moderate
      • Writing: Moderately Easy
      • Overall: Moderate

      Despite how different French may appear at first, linguists estimate that French has influenced up to a third of the modern English language.

      This may also explain why French’s Latin derivations make much of the vocabulary familiar to English speakers (edifice, royal, village). There are also more verb forms (17, compared to the English 12) and gendered nouns (le crayon, la table).

      But it’s not all easy.

      Pronunciation in French is especially difficult, with vowel sounds and silent letters that you may not be used to in English.

      4. Portuguese

      • Speaking: Moderate
      • Grammar: Moderate
      • Writing: Moderate
      • Overall: Moderate

      With the Brazilian economy ranking 6th in the world, Portuguese has become a powerful language to learn. One great element of the language is that interrogatives are fairly easy, expressed by intonation alone (“You Like This?”) If you can say it in Portuguese, you can ask it. What’s more, in Brazilian Portuguese, there’s one catchall question tag form: não é.

      The main difficulty with the pronunciation is the nasal vowel sounds that require some practice.

      5. German

      • Speaking: Difficult
      • Grammar: Moderate
      • Writing: Moderate
      • Overall: Moderately Difficult

      For many English speakers, German is a difficult language to pick up. Its long words, four noun case endings, and rough pronunciation gives your tongue quite the work out each time you speak.

      German is recognized as a very descriptive language. A good example is how they use the noun by combining the object with the action at hand.

      Example: das Fernsehen – the television, combines the words fern, far, andsehen, watching, lit. far-watching.

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      On the other hand, German can be a fun language to learn and its use of grammar is considered to be quite logical, with many overlapping words in English. Just watch out for the exceptions to the rules!

      6. Hindi

      • Speaking: Moderate
      • Grammar: Moderately Difficult
      • Writing: Difficult
      • Overall: Moderately Difficult

      There are many familiar words in English which are either Hindi or of Hindi origin. For example guru, jungle, karma, yoga, bungalow, cheetah, looting, thug and avatar. Hindi also uses lots of English words. They are read and pronounced as they are in English, but are written in Hindi. For example, डॉक्टर is pronounced doctor and स्टेशन is pronounced station.

      This shows that while learning the vocabulary and pronunciation of Hindi may not to be too difficult due to its similarity to English, writing in Hindi is a different ball game.

      7. Mandarin

      • Speaking: Difficult
      • Grammar: Difficult
      • Writing: Very Difficult
      • Overall: Very Difficult

      Last, but not least: Mandarin. We mainly put this here to show you the contrasting difference between the easiest language to learn (Spanish) and the hardest language to learn, for English speakers.

      While language learners won’t struggle as much on the grammar, mastering the tones can be very difficult. Mandarin is a tonal language, which means the pitch or intonation used when a word is spoken impacts its meaning. For example, tang with a high tone means soup, but tang with a rising tone means sugar.

      Learning Mandarin has its rewards though, providing cultural insights and knowledge. But according to the BBC, you’ll need to memorize over 2,000 characters to read a Chinese newspaper![2]

      What’s the Easiest Language to Learn?

      Winner: Spanish

      The clear winner for the easiest language to learn is Spanish. Everything from writing, grammar, and speaking will come more naturally to the English speaker: similar rules, structure, and latin roots.

      It’ll be like going from playing football to ultimate Frisbee.

      More About Language Learning

      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

      Reference

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