What is personal development?

An illustration depicting feeling down Personal development is a term that refers to activities that are involved in the improvement of self-knowledge and identity. It also enables people to develop talents and potential, build human capital and employability and enhance quality of life. Additionally, partaking in personal development can boost your chances of realising dreams and aspirations. (Cambridge Dictionary, no date)

It is a lifelong process - early life development and early formative experiences at school, within the family, etc. can help to shape us as adults, but personal development should not stop there; it should carry on throughout one's life.


An illustration depicting feeling down Image source: Verywell Mind (2021) There are many ideas surrounding personal development, one of which is Abraham Maslow's process of self-actualisation.

Maslow suggests that all individuals have an in-built need for personal development which occurs through a process called self-actualisation (SkillsYouNeed, no date).

When one level of need in the hierarchy is satisfied, it becomes possible for the next one up to be developed.

The hierarchy is as follows (from bottom to top):

(SkillsYouNeed, no date).


SkillsYouNeed, no date. What is Personal Development? [online] skillsyouneed.com. Available at: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/personal-development.html.