There was a time, not so long ago, when self-development was something you did at the beginning of your life and career. For example, someone would study accountancy, become an accountant and develop their craft within the first few years and then settle down to a regular job for the next 30 years until retirement, experiencing little in the way of new learning. Make no mistake; those days have gone.
The first point about self-development is that it is not an option but an essential survival skill. Just imagine now, if you couldn’t use a computer; you’d be at a distinct disadvantage. If somebody said, ‘I’ll email you’ and you replied that you didn’t have a computer because you never learnt how to use one, it would seem very strange. So, if you are not at leasnot at least keeping up with mainstream trends, it is very difficult to participate in society or business. Therefore, for self-development, the minimum standard is just to keep up. As people get older, this becomes harder and maybe the desire, weaker; all the more reason to fight this lazy inclination.
But what about the ‘power’ of self-development?
Self-development opens up a world of possibilities. An important point is that if it is self driven, you can feel encouraged by your own motivation and gain a sense of pride when you have achieved something – ‘I did that!’ This in turn makes you more confident and more willing to take on new challenges
Next, self-development provides the key to doors that were previously locked. Say you learnt French; you could go to France and converse with the natives! It would be a different experience to being a tourist limited to a ‘Oui’ or ‘Merci.’ Beyond that, not only would it open up one door but provide a path to other areas. Perhaps you could read a classic French writer in French and gain a new perspective on a work. In so doing, you would pick up yet more words that would enrich your vocabulary and understanding of the language.
But the exponential curve doesn’t stop there!
Having learnt French, you are likely to find it easier to learn another language, particularly of the same family such as Spanish or Italian. You will have acquired language learning skills, an understanding of grammar structures and a knowledge of related words, so your learning will be faster and easier.
Nor does it stop there!
The exponential self-development rocket continues on its journey because it has now become unstoppable. Above all, you will have developed the learning habit and you will naturally assume that there will be new things to learn each day – not just languages. When confronted with an ‘I don’t know situation,’ your default will have switched from, ‘therefore there’s nothing I can do,’ to ‘but I’ll find out.’ It will not give you the supreme power to solve every problem, play a piano concerto or repaint the Sistine chapel but it will carry you into surprising new valleys that a few years previously, were unimaginable.
To return to a practical work environment, you won’t be the training course bore who’s seen it all before and is determined to come away empty handed but someone who is able to gain something and make a contribution to the day because the true power of self-development is that once you have developed this mindset within yourself, you can pass on your knowledge, processes, enthusiasm and this gift to others. That’s pretty powerful!