Gaining new knowledge and new experiences, developing new qualities and competencies – all this is instilled in us from childhood by parents, educators and teachers. But no one, of course, will be responsible for us all our lives, and one day we are responsible for ourselves, our development and successes.
Behind us are kindergarten, school, university – places where we gained the basic skills and knowledge. This is where the road to a new life begins. Someone continues to study, someone gets a job or opens his own business, but, one way or another, people feel the need to develop further. But how exactly to develop and where to start is a question that worries many people.
That’s why we decided to make a material specifically on the topic of self-development. It is created to help those who do not know where to go, and will be useful for beginners and for those who are already familiar with self-improvement, but for some reason has fallen into stupor.
In this article we will look at the following questions:
- The psychology of self-development and self-improvement (what are the underlying needs, why are they important, what are the objectives)
- What self-development consists of (what it is, what methods and directions exist)
- Stages of self-development (how to begin self-development, 5 steps to self-development).
- What Impedes Self-development
- And it would be most logical to begin with why a person has a need for self-development and what are the psychological characteristics of this process.
The psychology of self-development and self-improvement
Needs are the most important factors for self-development. Together with motives, they form the basis of a person’s purposeful activity, activity and behavior, regardless of what result is aimed at.
One of the most popular and widespread concepts today to explain the need and motivation for self-development is the concept of self-actualization. By self-actualization should be understood as the constant realization of a person’s potential as the realization of a vocation, the fullest possible knowledge and acceptance of his own nature, as a relentless pursuit of the unity of his personality.
The author of this concept is Abraham Maslow. He investigated the phenomenon of self-actualization, studying in detail the lives, values, and characteristics of outstanding and creative people who have achieved an effective and optimal level of functioning compared to the rest.
As a result, the scientist concluded that humans have a need for self-actualization. However, it manifests itself only when lower-level needs are met (be sure to read Maslow’s pyramid of needs) – physiological needs, the need for security, respect, and some others. That is when the person begins to feel dissatisfaction and a desire to be what he/she wants and can (should) be. Self-actualization is a manifestation of a person’s desire to live in harmony with himself/herself, to realize his/her potential.
Let it be noted also that, according to Maslow, the need for self-actualization is inherent in all people. And that it serves as a source of self-development, most experts agree today. Although there are scientists who point to other needs on which self-development and self-improvement are based.
For example, Doctor of Psychology Vladimir Georgievich Maralov believes that, firstly, self-development can have different forms (self-actualization, self-improvement, self-affirmation), and secondly, each of them is based on its own needs. And a candidate of sociological sciences Julia Viktorovna Makerova says that the need for self-development is expressed in the readiness of man to transform his life through the search (and in the search) for the maximum possible future state. It arises when he is aware of his current state of development and sets the zone of possible expansion of his potential, needs and benefits.
But let us not go deep into the maze of research, but try to summarize. Reasoning from the considered positions, different needs form the basis of self-development:
- The need for self-actualization and self-actualization
- The need for social recognition
- The need for self-organization and organization of one’s own life path
If we turn to the ideas of candidate of pedagogical sciences German Konstantinovich Selevko, this list can be supplemented:
- The need for self-determination
- The need for self-affirmation
- Cognitive need
- The need for communication and belonging to a group
- Safety needs
- Aesthetic needs
- Need of self-expression
Despite such a variety of needs underlying self-development, a person wishes to engage in it in order to improve himself or herself, to continue to evolve and to create.
From this we can conclude also about the tasks that self-development solves:
- Maintaining the constant evolutionary growth of man throughout his life path
- Ensuring competitiveness in society
- Maintaining a sufficient level of self-esteem
- Maintenance of the level of self-importance
- Providing the necessary tools for self-actualization.
- The highest level needs (according to Maslow’s pyramid) are what distinguishes man from all other living beings. And the need for self-development together with aesthetic, cultural and spiritual needs is an integral part of everyone’s life. And if a person does not have these needs, then he is either not a human being, or he has serious problems with development in general.
As for self-development specifically, there is a difference between a person who follows the path of progress and one who drifts with the current. By engaging in it, we fulfill the mission of our lives – to evolve, to prove to ourselves once again that we are not just biomass, but human beings. It allows us to go with the times, to be ready for innovations and changes in the world around us.
And indifference to one’s development, standing still, stopping trying to become better than you were, puts one in a very unenviable position. “Movement is life” – this saying is familiar to all of us. So development is movement, and if we don’t develop, we just stop living. No, we will stay, but we will simply exist, and is that really the point?
We don’t make loud statements, but whichever way we look at it, self-development must always remain a priority. We hope you agree with us. It is possible and necessary to develop in different directions. Good thing – there are many ways to self-improvement. But before you proceed to further reading, watch this short video:
What self-development consists of
As we have found out, self-development is an activity that aims to meet the needs of the person. But to better understand what it is, we need to understand what types, directions and methods of self-improvement exist. It can be divided into several directions:
- Physical development – development of the body, strength, musculature, endurance
- Physiological development – improvement of health, which is expressed in a beneficial effect on different systems of the body (cardiovascular, digestive, nervous, reproductive, etc.)
- mental development – development of abilities, competences, skills, skills through new experiences and sensations, working with perception, thinking, memory, feelings and imagination
- Social development – development of abilities and skills, skills and qualities to climb the career ladder, to make the transition between social strata, to improve interpersonal relationships, to raise social status, authority
- Spiritual development – knowledge and self-awareness, the search for the meaning of life and his mission, taking responsibility for everything that happens, to yourself and others, trying to understand the nature of the universe and discover their hidden potential, a constant desire for moral and moral self-improvement
- Intellectual development – thinking development through acquisition of new information, development of new skills and qualities, improvement of literacy, study of new directions and fields of knowledge
- Professional development – improvement and development of professional skills, qualities and abilities, studying of new technologies and directions of work, obtaining of additional education
- The need for self-development can be attributed to the spiritual (or ideal), but it can appear at absolutely any level. It depends on the direction a person chooses. No less interesting is the fact that to a certain extent each of us is engaged in self-development, often without even thinking about it and without going into details of what exactly he does.
On a subconscious level, a person chooses the direction that resonates in his inner world. And in some cases the direction dictates the need to acquire some skills to meet certain needs. But it is the conscious choice of the path that is most effective (and also time-consuming). And the movement along it will always (unless, of course, you want to act chaotically and randomly) occur in certain stages and obey a plan of action.