What does personal development mean? | Coursera Community
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What does personal development mean?


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What does personal development mean to you? And why does it matter?

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I like to use personal development as a way of thinking about well-rounded growth outside of what I need to do for career reasons. While professional growth is a form of personal growth, thinking about them separately is helpful for us life-long learners who like to know-everything.

For example, I was not a big fan of the life and natural sciences as an undergrad because I thought they were just too dry. As I have gotten older and experienced more of the world, I am amazed at the power of biology and physics especially. I always try to find courses in subjects that I am less familiar with, but interested in, to have a well-rounded view of things.

With the concept of neuroplasticity boosting my confidence, I have found going back to the basics and relearning things i have long forgotten in these subjects, reignites those wires in my brain and allows me learn them at a much more advanced level now!

Plus, with the idea of brains working like small networks, learning new stuff creates more neurons that stretch across small areas of neurons making learning additional topics easier, I think!

All that said, i also think personal growth is about not just learning more about topics, but becoming more self-aware. Specifically, when your posts have become quite long and you keep on typing, so on that note 🙂
When I first saw this title I immediately thought about the obvious, ways I have become personally better at various subjects and tasks. Thinking further, I didn't want to just talk about myself, which is easy, but wanted to think about personal development in terms of other people. Learning how to listen, respond, empathize and understand people I meet and interact with. How to be non judgmental, how to be open minded and respect others, how to tolerate and deal with diverse opinions and how to encourage the best interactions.
Do you ever wonder how others might see you? Or if you could step outside yourself and see yourself the way someone else might? I have learned much about myself as a result of other people.
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Thank you for the stimulating question. It is something I took for granted, so I had to think a bit.

To be able to do what you couldn’t, to understand what you didn’t and to see the same thing from a different perspective can be fulfilling.

To make this possible, you need personal development for either professional or private life. You often need to go beyond your comfort zone, but the experience could be rewarding. With a major goal in mind, getting small wins could be the trick to go through the process.

For professional life, this could lead to higher recognition and financial reward, while the reward would be more personal for private life. For example, you can enjoy travelling more by knowing the history and culture of the country, or you can get better results in your favorite sport activities. As already discussed by the community members, it could be higher self-awareness.
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Such thoughtful reflections, @JBOWLN, @Judith, and @Kohei! Learning about neuroplasticity – the idea that our brains can change – had a big impact on how I view myself. I found Norman Doidge's book The Brain That Changes Itself fascinating.
Thanks for what seems to be an excellent book suggestion for us, @Laura .
Many people fear change and yet we grow so much from it. Moving outside our comfort zones teaches us much. It takes a real effort to do this , to put ourselves in situations where we might not succeed. The human brain is fascinating. It’s so important to realize that we can cause positive changes in ourselves and don’t have to accept what we thought was our given fates.
I have seen many students who appeared to not be particularly musical, become excellent musicians for example.
@Laura , you say that this had an impact on you, sounds fascinating. Can you tell us more? Thanks.
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It's been several years since I read this book, but it's full of case studies showing how people overcome pain (like phantom limb syndrome) or other challenges by rewiring their neural connections. Here's an article that describes the phantom limb phenomenon: Cause of phantom limb pain in amputees, and potential treatment, identified.
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I think personal development is revisiting past experiences and trying out new ones, and in some cases a willingness to challenge one's concept of normal or routine. Education plays an important role in personal development, because I think when we stop learning we stop developing and move toward stagnation and death. Even more critical to personal development are our interpersonal relations, engaging with people we might consider friends or friendly, but also engaging with those that might be adversaries or different from us in a civil and meaningful manner; here again, when those relationships diminish or become a very small part of our lives we also move toward death, at least from a sociological standpoint. Regardless, continued personal development can prolong our physical and mental lives and more than likely bring greater enjoyment and meaning to individual lives.
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Personal development for me means focused on reflecting on my goals, my strengths and my weaknesses. Taking time to truly reflect and assess my life and myself. What are my goals and are their sacrifices that are too large for me to be taking and I will have regrets. I also am a true believer in being a constant learner, to constantly grow and be better. Personal development is focusing on what you want to improve about yourself to be better.
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Wow this question requires a great deal of reflection but I love it! First of all personal development is essential and even more so as a mother as so much of your energy goes into ensuring your children’s personal development is seen to that you are completely forgotten. Recently my boys have become teenagers and I have found myself exploring my own passions and discovering new ones which is exciting. Sadly my husband doesn’t share those interests so I need to either be satisfied that this quest is entirely solitary (and sometimes that’s fine) or find a companion to share the journey with.
Developing a strong network of friends is always important. You can and should have separate interests as your husband which are good to share when you find quality time to be together such as a breakfast out. It is an exciting time in your life to think about yourself again. Enjoy it !
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That’s true and a very good point. It’s perfectly fine to have separate interests and I do have a good selection of friends some of whom share my passions. Maybe I have spent so much time with my husband and family that I haven’t nurtured those friendships enough - and now is the time to do so. Thanks!
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Personal development means growing in wealth, health, consciousness and knowledge.

The most important thing is how wisely a person utilises these achievements in his/her life.

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