Why Personal Development is (Even More) Important

As you may have known, this blog is about optimizing life to the max. Now in this post, I’d like to set back for a while and reflect on why personal development is important and why it is even more important these days.

First of all, is it true that personal development is important ? Well, of course it is. In fact, throughout the history people already realize that they need to develop theirselves individually. That’s one reason why the education system was put in place thousands of years ago. That’s also one reason behind the reward system we have taken for granted like grading (in school) or wage (in work). This is especially true in meritocracy-based societies in which people are rewarded purely based on their contribution to the society.

However, while personal development has been important for thousands of years, I believe that today it is even more important than it was in any other previous time in history.

Why is it so ?

It’s because of what Thomas Friedman calls Globalization 3.0 in his book The World is Flat. According to him, we are now living in Globalization 3.0 era. And one characteristic that differentiates Globalization 3.0 from Globalization 1.0 and 2.0 is how individuals can now compete globally. Globalization 1.0 was marked with countries competing globally and globalization 2.0 was marked with companies competing globally, but globalization 3.0 is marked with individuals competing globally ! Technologies like the Internet have made this dream comes true.

For me, it has a serious consequence. If I live in Globalization 1.0, I can blame my country if anything goes wrong with me. If I live in Globalization 2.0, I can blame my company. But since I live in Globalization 3.0 … whom can I blame ?

There is no one to blame but myself. In this era, every individual – more than ever before – is responsible for his or her own life. In this era, where someone can compete head-to-head with people thousands of miles away, his or her personal competence and attitude will determine whether or not he or she will make it.

This is an era where the winners can win big and the losers can lose big. If you are well prepared, you – as individual – will have the entire globe as your potential customers, which means that you can win big. On the other side, if you are not prepared, you will have the entire globe as your potential competitors, which means that you can easily lose big.

That’s why I believe that personal development is more important this time than in any other previous time in history. That’s also why I’m very interested in this topic of life optimization. More than ever before, each of us – as individuals – will have to determine whether we are the big winners or the big losers.

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  1. Great Post Donald!

    As an Exercise Scientist and Trainer I have spent much of the last twenty-five years helping people change their body. Smaller, bigger, lighter, leaner, more muscle, more flexibility, speed, power… Athletes, non-athletes, kids, mums, dads…..whatever they were after; that’s what I did my best to deliver.

    “I believe peoples lives are a disaster largely because of the decisions they have and haven’t made, and the things they have and haven’t done.”

    It’s about choices.

    “If you decide to do different, think different, react different, eat different, live different and communicate different…. you’ll be different.”


    “But creating your best life has nothing to do with destiny… and everythig to do with decisions.”

    People sprinkle conversations with terms like destiny, fate, chance and luck, so they don’t actually have to take responsiblity for their reality.

    Historically, now or in the future.

    If destiny is some pre-ordained series of events, circumstances, situations and experiences which are to ‘happen to us’ over the course of our lifetime, then we don’t actually have to do anything…. because whatever will be, will be.

    Keep up the great writing Donald!

    Craig Harper

  2. […] Previously I’ve written why personal development is important and even more important nowadays. I believe that one area of it is personal knowledge management (PKM). There are two reasons for this: […]

  3. Thanks for the comment, Craig. I agree with you, it’s all about our decisions day by day. The problem is how we can make the correct decisions at every point.

  4. You could take that even further and convince yourself that it’s your destiny to make those decision. The decisions of being “Better. Leaner. Lighter. Healthier. Excited. Happy. Fulfilled. Content.”

    I believe fate and free will aren’t each other’s opposites – that you can choose the best fate for your life that you can imagine. Sounds delusional? Optimization also strikes a very harmonious chord in me and I really liked the description of being a global competitor in personal development in the information age.

  5. Interesting thoughts, Johan. Personally, I believe God has a plan A for each of us, but we have the free will whether or not to follow it. In that sense, yes, our decision will determine whether we live the best fate for our life or not.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Very interesting perspective Donald.

    Brian Tracy talks about our EVE Ratio (Entertainment Versus Education) & its totally skewed towards absorbing other people enjoying what we would like to be able to do (& should) rather than getting out & doing it ourselves!

    Arn’t TV & TV Dinners just about the greatest curse in our 21st century culture?

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