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What is the Importance of Personal Development?

What is the Importance of Personal Development?

What is the importance of personal development? Why would we quit bettering ourselves once we are retired? I never understood this reluctance to “be bothered” by some of my fellow retirees. In my view, we all have a responsibility to leave this world a better place than it was before.

Sustainability, zero-waste, caring for the earth are good ways to improve the world on the one hand. On the other hand, improving ourselves is just as important.

We can do this by reading books, watching YouTube videos, or attending seminars. When Tom and I still lived in the Netherlands, I did the latter a lot.

Does our upbringing still have an impact?

Daydreaming with a plan

“I never have luck, so this won’t work either”. That was the reason my parents rarely participated in a lottery or any other event that was considered to be just for the lucky few.

They engrained this belief into me, by expressing the remark time and again. And for years I firmly believed that I never had luck either.

My parents’ solution was working very hard. As a result, they were truly satisfied with what they had accomplished. But it also made them very indignant, even angry, when life didn’t take the direction they wanted.

That’s a common response if we think things are out of our hands and life owes us.

Our beliefs are not carved in stone

I was lucky enough that a friend sent me to a personal development seminar years ago. What was said that day appealed to me so much that I completely changed my mindset. I skipped saying “I am never lucky” following the example of my parents to “I am responsible for my own well-being”.

The tips I learned that day and in the following years had a huge impact on my life. So much so that I wanted to share it. It is the main reason why Tom and I started our websites.

Related: 11 Simple Steps to Change your Life no Matter what Age you are

The positive effects of daydreaming

Actively participating in a seminar

The conference room was packed with 800 people! I was not sure if I would be comfortable enough in a room so full of people. Would I feel safe enough to dig into myself?

At the end of the day, the answer turned out to be ‘yes’. The process, the support team, the other people (who by the way were just as insecure as I had been), all contributed to a great experience.

I went home with a plan, even though a big part of the day had been daydreaming about another life. 🙂

Out of my comfort zone

As an entrepreneur, I was used to setting goals. Usually at the start of a new year. But I am raised the Dutch way: ‘Be modest, do not brag, do not imagine that you are better than anybody else’.

To go out of my way by imagining possibilities I never dared take into consideration before was a huge step. It made me scared and it made me uncomfortable at first. 

And eventually made me grow and did wonders for my self-confidence.

Fast forward to a couple of years later

Quote Gloria Steinem

When our house was sold and we were minimizing our belongings I cleared away the physical stuff. The digital stuff had to wait for later. That didn’t take up much space in the storage anyway.

Last year I finally found the time to tidy my computer’s hard disk. And this is what I found! A file I made after the seminar.

My dreams

  1. I build a house in Spain so that I live closer to my son.
  2. That house is completely self-sufficient, with solar or wind energy, and all kinds of smart systems for water and waste processing in it. 
  3. I give shape to my passion for sustainability. 
  4. There is a good internet connection to maintain contact with the Netherlands, with our friends. 
  5. In addition to a studio space in the garden, there is also a guest house so that people can come and visit us and stay with us.

Getting emotional shows passion

Tears were in my eyes when I found that file. Not that I had forgotten those dreams – for the past 7 years I had worked hard to make them come true. But I did forget some of the details. And I certainly forgot I wrote it down in a file.

A part is nowadays reality

Our dreamhouse in Spain

Not everything is exactly the way I dreamed it. We bought a 15-year old house, which is not self-sufficient yet. That’s a work in progress. It is in Spain however and it does have a good internet connection.

Friends come and visit us. We don’t have guest space and they can’t stay, but for most of them, that’s not a problem.

We work on being sustainable and self-supporting. There are solar panels on the roof and our kitchen garden is taking shape and delivers some produce.

Related: What is Sustainability in Food and How Can we Achieve it?

What is the importance of personal development?

We can all contribute in a different way. Depending on our interests, expertise, and qualities all of us can find meaning in this. There can be a risk in change though.

What I learned that day in the seminar and in the following years had a huge impact on my life. And in the slipstream on Tom’s life. That is a risk when you are changing your mindset while being in a relationship. 

This can head in two directions: either your partner is interested in your change and thus follows along. Or you grow apart and will follow your ways in separate directions.

Tom and I think all the changes were worth it. And we still change at times. For us, it keeps life interesting. 🙂

Will you share your biggest change with us? Tell it in the comment box below.

4 thoughts on “What is the Importance of Personal Development?”

  1. If everyone had the same attitude as you of ‘leaving the world a better place,’ then the world would be a better place!
    As it is, we have many issues to correct before considering that our contribution, as a species, has been a ‘good’ one. Humanity needs to understand that we are all in this together and that we only have one planet, and her health is sustained by natural laws. When we willingly and knowingly break these laws, we all suffer the consequences.

    As our environment becomes sicker because of the man-made ‘exploitation for profit’ we and all other species also become sicker. However, the news is not all bad, as there is a way out.

    As you suggest, personal growth and development is what is required to bring each of us into a state of becoming aware of our intimate connection to all of life. When we can feel this connection, we will naturally become more considerate of ourselves, our fellow humans, all other life forms, and the planet herself.

    Personal development doesn’t hurt…. it turns us into better people and just makes our lives better. So why wouldn’t everyone want that?

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Thank you, Andrew. And you have hit the nail on the head (I hope that is an English expression as well, but if it’s just translated Dutch, you’ll know what I mean anyway 🙂 ).

      Although I get discouraged at times – especially over here in Spain, as awareness is almost zero – I do believe that people will learn at some point. We just have to keep on trying to live what we preach and hoping our example gets followed. Personal development is indeed one of the directions we follow. By bettering ourselves our connections get better. And like you said, our being considerate of others as well.

      Thank you for your great addition here 🙂

  2. Hey Hannie, thanks for the amazing article. I’m gonna subscribe to that 5-day program.

    I think that the biggest problem is the fear of failure. I was raised in a middle-class family, and my parents always taught me like this: “Don’t take risks, find a safe job and live an ordinary life”.

    Now I’m 26, and I realize how many opportunities are out there and how many of them I already missed in the past few years. Even though I have a “safe” job, I’m trying to achieve more in life and be more successful through blogging and affiliate marketing. I hope that in 2-3 years I’ll be able to live my dream life.

    Personal development is essential, and I think it should be implemented in high-school education, no matter which direction you choose (if it’s even possible).

    • That is great, thanks, Petar. 🙂

      Yes, my parents were the same. They love(d) us and didn’t mean it bad, but probably were afraid themselves to take any risk. And don’t want us to do that either. In my case, my parent didn’t want me to go to Art’s Academy. So I was a good girl and went to the teacher’s education, as they wanted. And went to night-art-school as soon as I had a job.

      Thinking you have missed opportunities is the other side of the same medal fear of failure is on. It’s not a feeling that will help you. You are trying to achieve more in life and that is truly marvelous. And an attitude that will do you much good. So focus on that and not on the thought of what might have been. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

      Good luck! You will get there, I am sure.


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