Do you want to unlock your full potential? No matter where you are on the path of personal upward mobility, there is always room for improvement.
Despite some of the latest silly beliefs that have crept up about the power of attraction—an absolutely silly idea that if you just believe something strong enough the universe will align everything your way—personal achievement is really about preparation, practice, perseverance, and perspiration.
In other words, work, hard work.
If you want to ensure that you’re not erecting your own roadblocks, there are several key components for personal growth that you need to work on with intentionality and focus. I’m sure you’ll find you need to work on some more than others, but if you commit yourself to these areas of life you’ll find consistent and unstoppable personal growth.
14 Key Components of Personal Development
- Always be accountable. Anyone who begins to believe that the rules no longer apply to them is on unsteady ground. Surround yourself with people who can and will call you out when your life begins drifting off course.
- Have a healthy balance of contentment and discontent. Be content with what you have so that you’re not tempted to take foolish or unethical shortcuts. Likewise don’t ever settle with how much you’ve grown, but rather have an unquenchable desire to be better tomorrow than you are today.
- Remain teachable. If you stop learning, you stop growing. Dr. Howard Hendricks said, “I would rather my students drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool.” If you want to be constantly and consistently inspired, and have the ability to inspire others, you must be taking in far more than you give out.
- Leaders are readers. Zig Ziglar once said, “All leaders are readers.” Akin to remaining teachable, if you want to experience growth you need to be constantly and consistently challenged mentally, and one of the best ways to do that is through reading. The more you read, the more information you give your mind to process, which leads to new ideas of your own.
- Learn to balance risk and caution. You become increasingly wise and know when you should and shouldn’t take risks. Necessary risks are when you are willing push forward with without fear of failure. That’s different from risky behavior with places yourself, your business, or those who depend on you in danger in some way.
- Challenge yourself. Don’t let yourself take the easy path. Look at every difficulty and obstacle as an opportunity for growth.
- Build discipline. A Bible verse that’s become my personal reminder in recent years is Hebrew2 12:11. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” The pain of discipline now prevents the sting of regret later on.
- Be curious. Never stop wondering how the world around you works, or how people innovate and create. When you lose your sense of wonder, you lose your own potential to think creatively and push the boundaries of what’s possible.
- Always be open to change. Growth requires change, so if you truly desire personal growth you will experience change. Change will push you out of your comfort zone and will force you to change your habits.
- Insist upon the truth, especially from yourself. Decide now to always be honest with everyone around you. Having complete transparency about how and why you do what you do builds trust in the people you lead. You should also learn to be honest with yourself, otherwise you’ll make yourself a fool.
- Give yourself permission to fail. Remember how many attempts it took Thomas Edison to perfect the design for the lightbulb—over 1,000. Understand that failure is really nothing more than a stepping stone on the path to success.
- Let go of perfectionism and concentrate on progress. Excellence is not equivalent to perfection. Be more concerned about doing your best each day and making forward motion toward your goals and dreams.
- Refuse to give up. Perseverance is necessary for personal growth. Failure isn’t fatal unless you give up.
- Stay humble. Don’t start believing you’ve got everything figured out or that you’re incapable of failure. The moment you let those thoughts creep in you’ve stunted any possibility for further personal growth.
Always remember that personal development is a life-long process, so don’t get down on yourself if you don’t excel in all these area every day. Focus more on progressive and incremental growth by knowing who you want to become and making plans to get there.
What do you think? What key components of personal development are most important? Is there anything you think I’ve left out? Please let us know in the comments.
I’m Jeff M. Miller, and I help ordinary people who are stuck in a rut change their behaviors so they can be extraordinary. I’m an entrepreneur who retired from my full-time job in my early 40s to work from home. I’m a financial counselor, life coach, graphic designer, and passionate believer in helping others improve their lives a little more each day.