Personal development can include any skill that you build to improve yourself—your emotions, thoughts, or behaviors. It doesn’t really matter which skills you want to improve; the key to personal development is taking the right steps—steps that help ensure that you reach whatever goal you are pursuing.
What are the most important personal development skills? It really depends on what you’re trying to achieve. But here are some you might want to try.
1. Explore your strengths and weaknesses
The first step in any personal development strategy is to figure out how to best use your time. It makes little sense to learn how to code if you don’t plan to be a coder. It makes little sense to bench press 400 pounds if you don’t plan to be a weightlifter. These can be hobbies, but personal development is more about building skills to reach your goals. So it’s good to take some time to self-reflect.
2. Develop entrepreneurial thinking
Everyone can benefit from learning how to think like an entrepreneur, regardless of whether or not you are one. Why? Because entrepreneurs are innovative, good at planning for all possible outcomes, and skilled at getting others to buy into their vision or dream. And perhaps more importantly for personal development, they tend to be adaptable to all sorts of situations.
By developing entrepreneurial thinking, you better adapt to whatever your circumstances are so you can more easily achieve your goals, whether those goals are to start a business that makes a positive impact in the world, to set yourself up for an early retirement, or climb Mount Everest.
3. Develop a growth mindset
Fear of making mistakes can lead us to avoid challenges and new experiences—experiences which would help us grow, improve ourselves in important ways, and create the life we desire.
If we have a “growth mindset” we seek out challenges because we value learning and growth more than we value feeling smart or knowing what we’re doing. That’s why those with a growth mindset often build new skills more easily: They believe they can and so they really work at it.
4. Learn to calm yourself
High levels of stress are not only bad for our health and well-being, they can prevent us from effectively pursuing and achieving our self-development goals. By learning effective, long-lasting stress-reducing strategies, your body and mind will be more equipped to handle the inevitable challenges that arise when you’re trying to develop yourself.
5. Develop resilience
Resilience is that super-important skill that helps you bounce back quickly after being knocked down. This is one of the most important skills for success because none of us will achieve anything if we don’t keep trying when we fail. We can build resilience by improving skills like emotion-regulation, mindfulness, and positivity.
6. Create a personal development plan
A good personal development plan takes all these factors into consideration—the WHAT, the HOW, the WHY, and the WHEN. So ask yourself:
- What skills will you build?
- How will you build them?
- Why will you build them?
- And when will you build them?
And record your progress to make sure you’re on the right track.