HOW TO CREATE A PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Updated: Nov 2, 2019
In my last article I introduced you to several personal development authors whose teachings and ideas have changed the lives of millions of people. We also discovered that the field of personal development is a billion dollar industry which establishes the fact that there is a lot of material that one could use to create a custom development plan for themselves.
With that brief introduction I would like to bring these two ideas together to suggest some resources to assist you in customizing your own plan from the material of these authors and others who address any need or area of this vast field.
My first introduction to personal development was through Earl Nightingale. For many years I would listen to the broadcast of Earl Nightingale as he gave his motivational articles on our local radio station. I later found out that I could get printed copies of his presentations by visiting a local utility company. Wikipedia tells us that his presentations covered mostly subjects of human character development, motivation and meaningful existence.
We also learn from Wikipedia that Earl was born in Los Angeles, California on March 12, 1921. His father abandoned the family in 1933. After his father left, his mother relocated the family to a tent in a nearby Tent City.
At the age of 17 he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He was an instructor at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and later was on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was one of fifteen surviving Marines that day. He was twenty years old.
After the war, Earl began his work in the radio industry, which eventually led to becoming a motivational speaker. A great book by Napoleon Hill, THINK AND GROW RICH changed his life.
From that book, the New Testament and also from the works of Emerson, his phrase, “We become what we think about” along with “As we sow, so shall we reap” became his personal mantra.
During his lifetime he wrote and recorded more than 250 audio programs, 7,000 radio programs as well as television programs and videos.
So, as we begin to build our Personal Development plan, our foundation is based on some significant quotes:
“We become what we think about” as well as: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal or goal.”
Let me also suggest some more:
“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination,”
“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.”
These are all from Earl Nightingale.
Here are some more to consider from other notable people:
The great soccer player, Pele said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
And finally, from the great British statesman Winston Churchill:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston Churchill is also known for saying: “Never, Never, Never, Give Up!”
In other words, do whatever it requires to make success happen in your life.
There are numerous ideas related to personal development that we could explore, but I would like to suggest a starting place by referring to one of Dr Stephen R. Covey’s lesser known books entitled PRIMARY GREATNESS with a copyright date of 2015. I usually don’t read a book with that old of a copyright date but I was intrigued by the title and discovered a gem of a book.
In this book he discussed 12 Levers of Success which are:
The Lever of Integrity
The Lever of Contribution
The Lever of Purity
The Lever of Sacrifice
The Lever of Responsibility
The Lever of Loyalty
The Lever of Reciprocity
The Lever of Diversity
The Lever of Learning
The Lever of Renewal
The Lever of Teaching
I especially liked Chapter 16, The Lever of Renewal.
I quote from the first paragraph of the chapter:
“You can’t achieve Primary Greatness by neglecting yourself -- Your health, your mind, your emotional and spiritual life. Each of these vital areas of your life needs constant even daily renewal. Pushing the lever a little every day can offset a slow or even a catastrophic downward decline in your personal energy and even save your life.” The reason I like this chapter is because it gives us four areas of focus for a foundation of a very effective and dynamic personal development program.
As Dr. Covey indicates, these four areas of focus are the four parts of human nature which also makes them credible. These four areas are: Physical, Mental, Social, and Spiritual.
Dr. Covey makes the following assumptions:
Physical: Imagine you have already had one heart attack, (personal) or one business failure, (Professional). Work on the assumption that you should live carefully, wisely, with a good exercise and nutritional program, so you can have more fulfilling years of life. When people have heart attacks most of them make radical lifestyle changes.
In my own situation, I never had a heart attack, but I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It all started with a severe back ache which turned into a kidney, bladder, prostate infection. After the required surgery, I began a lifetime regimen of changes of diet and exercise. For many years I was an exercise walker, walking many miles around the city where I live. However, over the years I experienced a foot problem where my arch fell and my foot actually collapsed and started to turn inward. After two fusion surgeries to solve my problem, the doctor suggested I change to an exercise bike instead of walking or running. My exercise program for a few years now has been a half hour on the bike going six miles and burning 200 calories. I also lift hand weights, do crunches on an exercise ball and do some walking around the track to keep limber.
Needless to say, I have become addicted to my exercise program and can’t wait to get to the gym each morning. The benefits: weight loss, clear thinking because I also meditate and do my daily affirmations while on the bike, plus I made some new friends and acquaintances at the gym. I would recommend it to anyone!
Our next area is mental development. In a previous article I addressed the subject of being a life-long learner, Keeping our mind and intellect sharp and active is as important as physical exercise, and with so many books and audiobooks available on of many subjects, there is no excuse for not working on professional or personal development in the mental area of focus.
Dr. Covey suggests we have a personal reading program, review classic literature as well as business material related to your areas of interest or profession. He also suggests developing a personal university of talks, videos, and other information related to personal and professional development.
Our next area of focus is social development where we become aware of how we treat others and how we get along with others. Dr. Covey cautions about criticism and uses the following quotation: “He who lives by the sword of criticism dies by the sword of criticism.” Irresponsible criticism and backbiting weakens the character in the person and the culture. My Mother used to say: “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” We need to be loyal, thoughtful, and empathetic to develop our social relationships.
Our final area suggested by Dr. Covey is spiritual. I find it very interesting that a book written in the 1950’s and 1960’s entitled: I DARE YOU, written by William H. Danforth also suggests these four principles.
As I think of spiritual development I think of finding a quiet time of the day and a quiet place to meditate and express gratitude. No matter what our spiritual background might be and who we worship, it is always so important to ask for guidance and express our gratitude to a higher power whether we think of him as our Heavenly Father or whoever we worship.
Another area of spiritual worship is in holy writ, ie: the writings of Paul the Apostle as well as the story of Jesus from his birth through his death and what his experience in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary meant to the world.
I would recommend the book PRIMARY GREATNESS for further information on these and other very powerful ideas.
As you may realize, Stephen R. Covey was a very active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and began his teaching career at the church owned Brigham Young University. His first few books were related to his beliefs as a member of the church. Later in his career his works addressed the needs of the world and its people and taught powerful principles that helped people enjoy success.
As you craft and create your personal development program, these four areas: Physical, Mental, Social, and Spiritual development would create a powerful foundation on which to build.
I would personally like to wish you much success as you create your plan. My next article will be on habits and we will review the most popular work of Dr. Covey, THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE, from there we will study other dynamic areas from our other authors to help you in specific areas discussed by these authors.
Thank you for reading! We hope you have found this information helpful!
We invite your comments.
Encouraging Literacy, Learning and Personal Development!