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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To my knowledge personal development is very important hence it plays very pivotal role in any Individuals ...

In order to do any thing you need to first have very strong self reflection & self awareness ... I read some where that if self regulations are strong then you may leave lasting impact on others very strongly ..In order to articulate vivid points & justification .. You should have strong sense of self reflections ..Mentioned above are the key & integrated component of personal development tool.
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Your conscious pursuit of personal growth to achieve your highest potential.
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Each one of us has been growing up to be a "different version of ourself" each moment though we may not realise it. We may think nothing is changing in our lives (apparently everything is the same) but looking back we see everything is different. Have you ever reflected at a life lived so far? Such reflection helps us in setting-changing-resetting our direction of personal development.
I took up my first course on Coursera "Know Thyself". This course has put me on this path of actively engaging with my life as I live, looking at my past where I passively lived most moment apparently making choices that now appear as my autopilot mode.
To me personal development is active participation in life, making conscious choices within our spectrum of behaviours using self-observation, touching every aspect of our existence. We may want to be a bit more of good and often times a bit bad. Surprised? Good and bad imo, is a very relative term. What may appear good to me may appear bad to someone else. For example, I want to little selfish at times, but being selfish is bad. Isn't it? No, definitely not after reading " virtue of selfishness" by Ayan Rand.
Personal development is having the power to choose what you want to be, not what others (society, friends, relatives) want us to be. It is in a way "self-realisation and thence self-actualisation".
We all may use various methods for self-development in different combinations. It could be just observation. Most of us do not realise but it is the most potent way. We tend to mirror others. If we see certain behaviour that we like, we try to inculcate it into our behaviour. A simple saying "thank you" or "sorry" by a person who sparingly used these words is also self-development. Believe me, for many people uttering even these 2 simple words is like going out of their comfort zone. Think of a situation where you or someone else found it hard to utter these words despite wanting to. If ultimately said, it is nothing less than victory and often turns out to be the first step towards personal development.
Another way of personal development is by being in a situation accidentally (unprepared). Here you end up behaving differently from your routine behaviour. The outcome helps us to stick to similar behaviour more often and you know you are actually on the path of personal development.
Next comes by engaging in active learning. We may use in-persons or MOOC. Area of development may be anything from being able to deal effectively with day to day stress to helping someone else become a better version of themselves thereby learning about being more empathetic, compassionate. At any given point in life, we engage in both, consciously or subconsciously in self-development.
I have taken several courses on Coursera and other platforms that imo, helped me become a better version of myself. I am not bothered if someone else thinks otherwise - this in itself is my personal development. Not letting the opinion of others take away my peace of mind.
Certain MOOCs on positive psychology, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, love as a force of social justice, A life of happiness and fulfilment, social psychology helped me understand why I do what I do? And knowing this helped me look for ways to improve.
Interacting with peers helped me improve further in my interaction with people from different cultures. I highly recommend the cross-cultural communication course here.
Reading books (I am currently reading multiple books on Enneagram) tops my way of ensuring self-development. Understanding self and using this understanding to respond instead of reacting to situations in everyday life. Often I include MOOC in this category (I see them as interactive books). I learnt a lot about food and nutrition, weight management. Sleep and exercise. I must say I have come a long way, by incorporating healthier habits I not only improved myself but became a role model for those close to me. Other courses that help us in personal development are like "think again" to think rationally, understanding arguments.
It is a constant process where we often work on feedback. Curiously enough, often we think we are good as we are and possibly do not need any improvement or we just get motivated by someone else engaging in something related to their personal development and end up trying it for self. Possibilities are endless.
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Hi All,
iAppreciate great any trhead in this community

Good Luck
Lahcene

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