What is Self-Development and it's Concepts, Components, Importance, and Areas?

Concept of Self-development

It is the desire of society for a newborn baby to grow so he can begin to take active participation and responsibilities in society. This growth would not happen in a day; this child would engage in many activities that would consequently sharpen and enhance him.

Self-development is therefore the engagement of a person with the purpose of growth. It is the process of consciously enhancing and improving oneself.

Self-development is oftentimes interchanged with personal development, as it is a personal task, each man to his process of developing himself.

Self-development is a personal activity and a journey one has to embark on. The destination is fulfilment.

A man who has developed himself has come into the complete understanding of who he is; he knows his strengths and weaknesses. This self-developed man is living his potential and getting the happiness that he truly deserves. He would ultimately find fulfilment.

A man in black pants running to develop his body and health.
A man in black pants running to develop his body and health. (John Seldon / Pexels)

Components of Self-development

The components of self-development are the features we must engage in for total development. There are three main components, and they are :

  • Skill enhancement
  • Mental conditioning
  • Habit creation

In skill enhancement, a person develops his skills and abilities, sharpening and fine-tuning his instruments. This component entails the soft skill (interpersonal) and the hard skill (workplace). 

Soft skill deals with how a person relates with others. It talks about how he communicates and relates with people around him while hard skills are necessary for relevance in the workplace.

Hard skills are basic skills that are needed to carry out personal tasks in a corporate organisation or setting. Skill enhancement prepares a person for opportunities and responsibilities. It also helps to maintain and keep relationships.

Mental conditioning is the process of tuning our mind towards a particular or fixed direction. When you condition your mind, it means you are building it for/towards something.

For self-development, a person must condition his mind towards positivity. When your mind is positively conditioned, the focus would be positive things.

Conditioning your mind towards positivity paint positive pictures in the mind. We also begin to carry a positive aura that people around us would be able to feel.

Mental conditioning would also build our self-esteem as we begin to carry ourselves confidently. We must periodically condition our mind to remind ourselves of our goals, and besides that, the techniques of conditioning one’s mind are soothing.

Habit creation: Man is a creature of habit. We are made up of what we do and take in. We can attribute some of our behaviours to the activities we engage in.

For self-development, we must engage in activities that will develop us. Numerous activities would develop us if we devotedly and consistently engage in them.

These habits include reading, journaling, exercising, resting, balanced dieting and many more.

Assorted sliced fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Assorted sliced fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals. (Jane D. / Pexels)

Concept of Self Awareness

There are various steps in developing oneself, but the first and vital step is SELF AWARENESS.

This is when a person becomes aware of himself. It means we come to an understanding of who he is, what he has.

A bird that is programmed to fly might not fly if it remains unaware of the usefulness of its wings.

Self-awareness is coming into the realization of your details and components. It is the foundation of self-development.

Through self-awareness, one begins to understand his abilities. As man is dynamic, self-awareness never ends; you have to continuously assess yourself. It is what you find out about yourself that will stir you to keep on developing yourself.

Self-awareness is probing yourself to know who you truly are. There are various exercises and activities one could engage in that would lead to awareness. 

Self-awareness brings discovery. When you find out who you are, you can then begin to develop yourself. It is necessary then that you come into a true realization of yourself if you’re going to develop yourself.

Through a self-awareness activity, you could discover that you love meeting new people; this could therefore be necessary for development because positive self-awareness leads to good self-esteem.

Importance of Self Development

The importance of self-development is endless to oneself and society at large. Some of the importance include:

  • Builds self-esteem
  • Improve mental health
  • Step out of comfort zone
Journaling is another great habit in our pursuit towards self-development.
Journaling is another great habit in our pursuit towards self-development. (Lisa / Pexels)

Builds self-esteem: The result of self-development is self-esteem. A person who is developed knows his worth. He has discovered what he can do and has also become better skilled in things he could do; he, therefore, has self-esteem and carries himself confidently.

There is undoubtedly a certain way a person who knows he is fully developed feels. He is assured and confident of himself.

Self-development plays a vital role in building a person’s esteem. As generally, someone would want to partner with a knowledgeable person, we must ensure that we develop ourselves in all areas.

Improves mental health: The importance of stable mental health cannot be overemphasized as a person’s mental health affects their relationship and interaction.

It is said that someone mentally unstable is not fit, but a mentally stable person has his wits and is competent in handling situations. It is indeed a controversial statement, but as we should do with everything else, we should try to understand the reasoning behind why such words were said.

A mentally strong person can relate with people, and he can be trusted. From self-development, a person is developed quantitatively and qualitatively.

Step out of comfort zone: The decision to develop one’s self is a decision to step out of comfort zone. It is a move towards being better.

Self-development points out your weakness and helps you overcome them. Following a consistent self-development plan would automatically place you on another level; where you were once low, you come high.

Self-development instils boldness to do things like never before. As someone who now understands who he is, you want to try new things you never tried before.

It is worthy to note that self-development is not just for people to discover themselves but also for people who want to improve on their current self and become better.

Areas of Self Development

Do you think the development of people’s mental processes would be the same from the social or emotional perspective?

What would you think if we say self-development is a process that is too complex to be evaluated from only one perspective?

It is about the whole self, the combination of many aspects in life. 

In this section, we will talk about the areas of personal development under four main categories.

How is it defined in which areas, and what can we do to improve it?

We will discuss what steps can be taken to support personal development in these areas and what potential benefits these steps have.

Four areas of self-development.
Four areas of self-development. (futurelearn.com)

1) Mental

In the rush of daily life, we may encounter many situations that are likely to lead us to experience stress or anxiety.

Situations like these are a part of natural life, but the critical point is how we perceive and deal with these stressful events.

It is our mind that gives us strength, regardless of the subject and circumstances, and makes us have strong willpower.

If our mind is strong, we can be potent against the challenges that we face in life, and we can adapt better to unexpected situations.

That’s why strengthening our minds would help us to achieve our goals in life.

How to manage Self Development from a Mental Perspective?

Push your boundaries! The mind improves as it works and becomes stronger as it improves. You have to push your boundaries beyond your comfort zone. Aim one step ahead of where you are, and you will see the difference!

> Meditate

Why do we close our eyes when meditating? To clear other distractions. Spending time in a quiet place in a comfortable position and listening only to your mind but nothing else… 

benefits: You would have a chance to be aware of the thoughts you couldn’t give enough time to think about, or maybe you choose to ignore. Don’t you think people with a clear and aware mind are people who are more at peace with themselves?

> Reading Books other than your Style

You can choose a book other than the genre you are used to. Reading different words from different styles would introduce you to different perspectives.

Additional to reading, you can try writing. Writing could help you to express your mind into the world. As you write, you can gain awareness of your mind, and you can improve your productivity.

benefits: By reading different books, you can learn to see the world from different angles and be more creative. As you write, you can gain awareness of your mind, and you can improve your productivity.

The mind is everything. What you think you become.


2) Social

We will approach the social perspective of self-development through communication skills. Why is communication important? Have you ever thought about what would happen if we couldn’t express what we think and feel to the world as we wish it to be? Would it matter to the other person what we think or how deeply we feel if we could not express them properly?

Improving our communication skills in social life is very important in personal development because we establish and strengthen our connection with the world through our communication skills.

A group of friends communicating with each other.
A group of friends communicating with each other. (equallevel.com)

How to Manage Self-Development from a Social Perspective?

There are various tools you can access to improve your social skills. You can read books on communication skills, take courses, watch videos and listen to podcasts.

First of all, it’s okay to take small steps! Don’t expect too much from yourself; the important thing is to want and take that step.

> Engage with others

Try getting together more with other people to improve your interpersonal skills. You can ask more open-ended questions to further the conversation.

To deepen the communication, you can invite people to activities such as eating or working out to spend time together.

benefits: You will have the opportunity to strengthen your communication skills by constantly practising with people. As you spend time together, you can feel more comfortable and express yourself better.

> Improve your Listening Skills

Since communication is a two-sided process, listening to the other person is as important as expressing yourself. You should make the other person feel comfortable in sharing with you.

Eye contact is very important in this situation as it shows that the person has your attention. You can nod your head where you understand, and if there is something you don’t understand, make sure you say it because you might misunderstand the rest of the meaning.

benefits: By improving your listening skills, you understand other people better, and that would be increasing the quality of your communication.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”

Anthony Robbins

3) Emotional

In the emotional perspective of self-development, what we will talk about is your emotions and how much you are aware of them.

You can be yourself only when you know who you are! It is important to understand and embrace your emotions in the process of self-development.

When you understand why and how your emotions occurred, you can be aware of your feelings from a broader perspective. It would help you to develop better ways to manage your emotions. 

How to manage Self-Development from an Emotional Perspective?

Look inside! What is important is you are aware of yourself. You should look inside, discover your feelings and reactions.

> Observe Yourself

Examine how you react to different situations. What do you feel in stressful situations? What reactions do these emotions trigger in you? Do you keep your feelings managed or lose control of your actions?  

benefits: When you recognize your feelings and actions, you would be more aware of yourself. You can manage your actions better through observing your feelings, and it would put you more in charge of your controls!

> Discover your Strengths and Weaknesses

Once you discover your strengths and weaknesses, you can determine which areas you need to focus on to improve yourself.

benefits: Recognizing the aspects that you need to work on will make you a more self-aware person.

“When awareness is brought to an emotion, power is brought to your life.”

Tara Meyer Robson

4) Physical

Stronger body, stronger mind!

Increasing physical abilities would help you to balance your mental and emotional processes better.

When your physical health is at its best, your body supports you to balance your emotions and manage your actions. You would be more resistant to stressful events.

Therefore, the importance of physical development is too important to be underestimated!

A healthy body and a healthy mind leads to a happy individual!
A healthy body and a healthy mind leads to a happy individual! (ssnmentalhealth.co.uk)

How to manage Self-Development from a Physical Perspective?

Eating healthy gives your body the essential nutrients that it needs and helps it support mental and physical functioning.

Regular sleep also plays an important role in keeping the body and mind rested.

Finally, it is important to go to the doctor regularly to take precautions against possible health problems.

Make sure you take good care of your body!   

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.



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