Personal development

A good education is a great start to a successful and fulfilling career. But good grades and a flawless reportcard do not reflect a persons intelligence and talents. What ultimately shapes a humans mind, character and skill set is his or her personal development – and that can be shaped at any age and with a lot of aspects.

Personal development starts when school ends

What sets apart school education and personal development is a simple fact: School is mandatory while personal development is voluntary. It is hard to get excited by mathematics for example, if one feels tortured or pressured by the subject matter. The same goes for any other subject really.
Even if you are interested in the subject matter, if the pressure of achievement and accomplishment finds it’s way into the study process, the joy of learning is lost.

Once school is over, once the “mandatory” piece of education is done however, things change.

Intellectual stimulation is very important. While school provides this stimulation to a certain degree while education is the main goal, the brain still needs food when the daily visits to school are cancelled.

After the mandatory school education and adult can choose the menu and has the liberty to focus on the subjects he or she has always been interested in. Whether it is a course at a further education institute, a seminar or a group meeting with fellow peers or the weekly indulgence in cultural events – all of these activities fall into the category of personal development.

The different aspects  of personal development and education:

Personal development comes naturally by definition, but if the development of one’s skills and character are being helped along by intellectual stimulation of one’s own choosing or by simply existing day to day is another subject matter altogether.

Secondary education (which means education after the mandatory school education) is booming like never before.

There are a few differences in between subject areas that should be looked at:

  • Secondary education in academic studies
  • Secondary education for business and the work life
  • Further studies for personal development
  • Further education out of interest

Why differentiate in these matters? The field of personal development, when talking about secondary education, is a very broad one. Everyone has different interests, strengths and weaknesses, so the picture of what secondary education looks like is individual for each human being.

The first category is dedicated to academic studies. Personal development can be the course of an academic career. Enlisting at a university or further education centre for an academic degree is a path sought after either to get a specific job or out of interest. The academic pursuit often resembles school though, is expensive and often confused with mandatory education. But it’s not.

For example, kids who know they want to be doctors some day, know that they will eventually have to go to medical school. Once their schooldays are over though it is up to them which medical school they choose, where they go, what major subject they want to study. The factor of choice in an academic approach is what makes academic studies a part of secondary education and therefore part of personal development.

Secondary education for business and in the work life is what most people would describe seminars and meetings for the job. And education to be pursued while already having a job. This can either be for the purpose of acquiring an additional skill for the job already in place, or because you want to acquire knowledge just for the sake of it.

Further studies for personal development have nothing to do with an education tied to the work life or a job. They are for learning skills that one thinks are needed. They often blend together with the fourth category, education out of interest.

Investing time and money in yourself is your greatest asset

Seminars, readings, classes and courses in further education centres take many shapes and forms. From learning a new language, to cooking lessons, creative writing, acting – anything is possible. The point is that they will not benefit or interfere with work life, but are for your personally, to enjoy and enrich your life with skills and knowledge.

Once you dive into the world of secondary education, where the knowledge you acquire is gained by wanting it and doing it voluntarily, the value of the knowledge is higher than anything that can be learned in a mandatory environment.

For example, if you learn French in school because it is a subject you have to learn or deciding on your own that you want to take up a class in French because you are interested in the language – those are two very different approaches to the same subject matter.

But the voluntary decision makes everything different, the value of the knowledge to yourself increases. Investing time and money in yourself is one of the best decisions one can make. Every penny you spend on yourself and your personal development is not only a plus for your skill set, but also for your well being and your self esteem. It will pay back one or the other way.

If you use the personal development to increase your intrinsic value, you can achieve pay raises or a new job.  If you try to go the entrepreneurial way, you are able to teach you the specific necessary skills and competences needed for your business. The return of investment can be very high.