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23 Examples of Personal Development

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Personal development is the process of improving as a person, professional and student. This has several common elements:


Cultivating an understanding of your nature with a process of introspection. For example, spending time thinking quietly without obsessing about problems and opportunities.


Attempting to see an unbiased view of what you are like. This may include elements such as your thoughts, emotions, motivations and behavior.

Knowledge of Results

Reviewing your real world results. For example, a jogger who begins to time their runs to see how they are progressing over time.

Knowledge of Performance

Reviewing your real world performance independently of results. For example, a salesperson who asks their peers to critique their pitch to a client.


Acquiring knowledge including facts, theories and cultural types of knowledge such as the knowledge gained by reading a work of literature.

Emotional Intelligence

Developing your ability to read your emotions and the emotions of others. For example, developing the habit of looking for the emotion behind people's behavior to better respond to a wide range of social situations.

Spirituality & Religion

Observance of religion and pursuit of spiritual goals such as learning to be more humble.


Practicing to develop tacit knowledge. For example, practicing guitar in lessons, alone and in sessions with other musicians.


Intensive study and practice whereby you don't progress to more advanced materials until you have mastered fundamentals. For example, piano lessons where a student is expected to play basic songs very well before progressing to more complex pieces.


The process of perfecting and evolving a strong talent. For example, a world class athlete who is working to identify and address tiny faults in their performance to reach the top of their sport.


An individual who is talented enough in a particular domain to break the rules to lead a new way forward. For example, a computer scientist who introduces a programming language based on a new paradigm.


Personal development isn't always about moving from success to success. In many cases, steps forward are gained by learning from a series of failures without losing enthusiasm.

Values & Integrity

Identifying your values and developing the discipline to live up to those values. For example, an individual who tries to treat people as they would like to be treated. This may be difficult to realize and requires constant attention to one's behavior.


Improving yourself by changing the world. For example, a student who organizes outings to clean shorelines of plastic and other marine debris.


Developing your abilities to get people moving in the same direction towards a common purpose. For example, organizing neighbors to ask your city to introduce traffic calming on your street.

Identity & Self-esteem

Learning to identify with other people and developing your self-esteem. For example, an individual who builds self-confidence by sailing. With this comes a sense of fellowship with other sailors.

Social Status

Earning respect from others in the society in which you live. For example, an individual with a goal to graduate from a reasonably well regarded university.

Friends & Family

Developing stronger social bonds with friends and family. For example, a parent who spends more time with their children.


Gaining more connections and experiences with the community in which you live such as a retiree who volunteers to care for a community garden working alongside other residents of their neighborhood.


Immersing yourself in culture to gain an appreciation of it. For example, a student who begins to read large quantities of French literature.

Health & Fitness

Steps to improve your health and fitness such as exercise and healthy food.

Quality of Life

Making lifestyle changes to improve your overall happiness. For example, moving to an area with a quiet natural setting. Alternatively, a noisy urban setting may improve quality of life depending on your goals.


Realizing your greatest potentials or at least trying in order to feel that you have made something of life.
Overview: Personal Development
The process of improving as a person, professional and student.
Related Concepts

Personal Development

This is the complete list of articles we have written about personal development.
Character Building
Character Strengths
Comfort Zone
Digital Minimalism
False Hope
Financial Literacy
Future Goals
Good Habits
Individual Capital
Life Change
Life Decision
Life Design
Life Goals
Life Ideas
Life Satisfaction
Life Skills
Needs & Wants
Negative Emotions
Perfect Imperfection
Personal Brand
Personal Decisions
Personal Growth
Personal Interests
Personal Networking
Personal Organization
Personal Philosophy
Personal Plan
Personal Planning
Personal Qualities
Personal Standards
Personal Strengths
Personal Swot
Personality Traits
Positive Expectations
Positive Thinking
Process Goals
Self Criticism
Toxic Positivity
More ...
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