How do we develop our strengths

Personality development: it's all in you

Everyone has a personality. Only which ones and how does it change over time? Personality development is part of the maturation process of our character. It begins in childhood and continues throughout life. Sure, some personality traits are more static, innate and hardly changeable - but others we can shape and develop ourselves (if we want that) and still others need a correction over time because we have allowed ourselves to be bent too much by our environment. But how can personal development succeed? We'll show you ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what does personality development mean?

Personality development includes all changes in personality traits that a person goes through in their life. These adaptations are partly made consciously by the person himself, but can also be triggered by external circumstances and influences. Through personal development and the associated personal growth, numerous goals and advantages can be achieved:

Scientific theory of personality development

Science agrees that our personality is essentially shaped by our individuality and identification with ourselves. As far as personality development is concerned, however, the theories and opinions differ greatly.

Some pursue psychodynamic approaches (Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, C. G. Jung), others construct step models of psychosocial development and identity formation (Erik H. Erikson, James E. Marcia) and still others proclaim lifelong development (Paul Baltes). In short: To date, there is no clear theory of personality development that could summarize all the diverse influences - the interaction of innate or early acquired differences in personality as well as the numerous influences of the environment, upbringing or socialization.

We share the view that the personality is not fixed at some point, but can be developed for a lifetime - consciously and actively. That's why an introvert doesn't necessarily turn into a rampage pig. But we can to a large extent research and develop what is in us. And that's exactly what this article is about.

The three pillars of personality development

A study shows how important our personality and its development is and the result: Success depends more on your personality than on your intelligence.

It is accordingly important to work on this personality development and your character ...

A metaphor for personal development is the work of a sculptor: He too tries to carve out a figure from a boulder according to his ideas. This is inevitably associated with changes that are not always pleasant for the stone and exhausting for the sculptor.

To get this design process going at all, three essential building blocks are required. The three pillars of personality development:

  • Self-knowledge

    As is so often the case, it all starts with your own awareness of who you are: What distinguishes you? What is typical What makes you unique This includes talents as well as temperament, strengths or weaknesses. Practically the inventory that was placed in your cradle and that already shapes your character today (some personality tests can also help with this).

    It is important that this inventory is carried out without any evaluation. Just analyze soberly who and how you are. Self-reflection helps as well as feedback from good friends - i.e. the comparison of perception of others and self-perception.

  • Self acceptance

    This point sounds a bit contradicting, because the personality development does not accept the status quo, but wants to consciously change it. Right. And yet, before the actual development, it is extremely important to love yourself and to accept how you are (current). Personality development is not self-therapy.

    You don't want to become like someone else, but rather get the best out of yourself that has long been in you. And that's not just a lot - it's good too. Accept that. Those who do not accept themselves will otherwise fall back into self-protection mechanisms again and again during development work.

  • Self change

    This is where the real process begins - development. Of course, it is crucial that you have a specific goal in mind, how and where you want to develop. This can affect behavior patterns and habits as well as certain characteristics and abilities. However, personality development is not something that happens on the side, at least not if you want to direct the development yourself.

    The process requires a lot of willpower (technical term: volition), courage and discipline. Because it takes several weeks to months for such changes to manifest themselves noticeably and to be ground in - including any setbacks.

Of course, all three pillars are interdependent and mutually dependent. The ultimate goal of personal development is to become more capable of acting and more independent. Mature personalities are usually characterized by mental strength, high life satisfaction and pronounced problem solving and crisis management skills (technical term: resilience). Personal development benefits all areas of life - including your career.

Risks and Limits: Personality development cannot do everything

Helmut Schmidt once remarked cynically: If you have visions, please go to the doctor. Schmidt was a pragmatist and a realist, which explains his aversion to the term. Nonetheless, personality development needs such a vision - a kind of ideal image of ourselves, who and how we could be. Here, too, the comparison with the sculptor fits: he must have a picture of the finished statue in his head even before the first chisel, so that he can then work it out step by step and level by level from the stone block.

At the same time, this means that the image that we create of ourselves must be realistic. Without wanting to overuse the sculptor's metaphor: You can't knock a ball five meters in diameter out of a two cubic meter block of stone.

Personality development cannot work miracles, We don't become completely different people because of it. However, despite all authenticity, we go through a kind of metamorphosis - with veritable risks and side effects that we should be aware of:

  • You will get to know yourself better - including the darker sides.
  • You will have to leave your beloved comfort zones.
  • You will have to get to know and accept your personal limits.
  • You will have to take on more personal responsibility.
  • You will meet with rejection.
  • You will lose friends because they don't develop with you.
  • You will gain in self-worth - and have a harder time with people who do not recognize this value.

Physical and mental maturity however, they are not developing at the same pace. While the physical aging process advances incessantly, we have to work diligently on our mental development, otherwise we only look adult, but otherwise show the behavior of a person who is more mentally attached to preschool age. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon.

Tips: how to develop your personality

Your personality evolves with every experience. That doesn't mean you just have to wait for it. You can - and should - take the development of your personality into your own hands and shape it in a targeted manner.

Which way of personal development works best for you, you can only find out for yourself - we have listed numerous tips for inspiration, selection and help with which you can develop your personality further.

  • Define a direction

    Before personal development begins, you should ask yourself two basic questions: Who do I want to be? And where should my development lead? By giving a thoughtful answer to these questions, you provide direction. You identify goals and personal priorities. Start with the points that are important to you and where you have wanted to develop for a long time.

  • Take one step at a time

    There may be different areas that you want to address in personal development. You should still concentrate on individual points one after the other. Over time, this focus can change - due to new priorities or because you have completed the development.

  • Force change

    Humans are creatures of habits. You have to break through these for your personal development. Just don't do things the way you've always done them. Do not shy away from changes, but consciously drive them forward. It's difficult and sometimes frightening, but you can grow with every change.

  • Take responsibility

    For active personal development you have to take responsibility for yourself, your decisions and your actions. In this way, you can also influence how you change and shape your personality. On the other hand, those who only see themselves as victims of the circumstances and give up all responsibility remain in a passive role and develop more slowly or not at all.

  • Read lots of books

    Books are a great way to broaden your horizons. In addition to novels, non-fiction books are particularly recommended. These can search specifically selected for the area in which you want to develop. As you read, you gather knowledge, insights and new experiences that are part of the basic equipment of personality development.

  • Learn new skills

    With new skills develops on the personality. Take training courses, take courses or teach yourself new skills.An additional effect: With your skills, your self-confidence grows, which also affects your personality.

  • Face challenges

    When everything goes smoothly, it is easiest and easiest. However, this has little to do with personal development. Therefore, face challenges. With every problem you solve and every crisis you overcome, you learn a lot about yourself. You also use challenges to test your own limits and sometimes grow beyond them.

  • Have intense conversations

    Personality development does not have to be done completely alone. Conversations with family, friends, colleagues or even new contacts are a successful method. Here you will get to know new points of view and learn what others think - including you. In this way, intensive discussions can help supplement your own self-perception.

  • Question your points of view

    In conversations and discussions you will be confronted with different opinions and views. OK then! You don't have to agree to everything, but develop your personality by critically questioning your own points of view. If you stick to your point of view, emerge from the discussion with a firm awareness. If you agree with your interlocutor, develop a new way of thinking and learn from it.

  • Be patient

    The personality does not develop overnight. You need patience and perseverance. Don't get discouraged if you don't see great results in a short period of time. Personal development is a long process.

Exercises for personality development

  • Status quo analysis

    A first exercise in personal development can be the status quo analysis. The aim is to first define the current status quo. In other words: what is the starting position for the development of your personality? Take enough time to answer the question honestly and in depth: What makes me special? This includes your most important and formative character traits, as well as strengths, weaknesses, interests, passions and experiences. This exercise is closely linked to the self-awareness described above.

    Based on this analysis, you can derive further goals for your personality development. To do this, you define the desired target state based on the actual state. Think about what you are working on in particular and what you want to change.

  • Change of perspective

    You can change your perspective to give your personality development a boost. Make a conscious effort to see things differently, to find new views or to understand other opinions.

    With such new perspectives, your own personality can grow by learning new things and revising fixed patterns in thinking and acting.

  • self reflection

    This should become a permanent and ongoing personal development exercise. Reflect and question your behavior, your decisions and your emotions. This will help you to get a more accurate and better picture of yourself. These insights make for a more stable personality.

    Self-reflection should also include the causes, i.e. the why: Why did you behave, decide or feel this way?

Further practical examples for personal development

In addition to the tips above, we would like to provide you with some practical examples: Opportunities in which you can develop your personality according to your own visions and goals. On the one hand, you should keep your eyes open in everyday life. Again and again, situations arise in which personality development is possible. How you behave under pressure at work, for example, influences your personal development.

Other personal development opportunities you can use it in a targeted manner and actively bring it about. So get out of the comfort zone - and into the pool of possible challenges:

  • Project work

    Whether at work or privately: Targeted and ambitious projects are ideal opportunities for personal development. They bring you beyond your usual horizon and to new limits. At the same time you learn to deal with pressure, conflicts and frustrations. At the same time, however, you will also develop numerous tools to deal better with the adversities of life in the future. In short: you grow with the task.

  • Volunteering

    Voluntary work almost always helps us personally and humanely. Because apart from recognition, there is not much to get for those who do well and who do it with conviction. At the same time, there is also a risk of exploitation in volunteering - by ourselves or by others. Anyone who is involved here will inevitably have to learn to become more independent of others, to say no from time to time and to manage their own resources. In short: we gain wisdom and knowledge of human nature.

  • International experience

    A classic, admittedly. But that's no less correct. The conscious change to a different social environment, a different (foreign) culture demands a lot from us. Not just more tolerance and flexibility. At the same time, we are presented with an unadulterated mirror of how we affect others. Where friends have long since come to terms with our quirks, the quirks may now stand in the way if we want to build new relationships.

    This inevitably leads to a (overdue) correction and thus to personal development (or loneliness). Not to mention the positive effect of foreign experience on your résumé and later management tasks.

  • Sports & hobbies

    Exercise can also help develop your personality - if you do it seriously. Regular exercise first of all promotes health and fitness. However, training becomes a growth turbo with the appropriate structure and goals. It doesn't have to be competitive sport at the Olympic level. But even these goals will lead you to mental limits that you will learn to overcome. You will find out what and who gives you strength - and what doesn't.

    Here, too, you will learn how to solve problems and overcome crises. At the same time, you train new skills that you can usually not only use on sports equipment. In short: you train frustration tolerance, self-overcoming and self-motivation as well as self-management.

  • Coaching

    In contrast to mentoring or supervision, coaching often focuses on the client's personality development. A coach can serve as a sparring partner, reflect and ask the right questions. However, this is a very time-consuming process, so the costs for such coaching can be high.

    If that's too much money for you, you can at least make use of the basic principles of coaching in your own personal development:

    • Create commitment:
      Coaching also works because coachees adhere to the agreements made and perceive them to be binding. When you create a similar commitment to a friend, the effect can be similar.
    • Perform reflection:
      Professional coaches can usually analyze their clients quite objectively, give appropriate feedback and promote self-reflection in a structured and methodical manner. This can also be implemented with a good friend or other feedback provider - if they consciously withdraw and let you develop the solution yourself.
    • Analyze change:
      For targeted personal development, it is essential to systematically look at the changes that occur and to document any progress (or regression). You can do that too - for example with a diary and regular evaluations. Depending on the result, you can then readjust and make adjustments.

Signs of a strong personality

The goal of all of these rewarding personal development efforts is to have a solid, mature character with a strong personality (who is still developing). The question still remains: what distinguishes such a strong personality?

Five signsthat show you have developed a strong personality:

  • You see things realistically but confidently

    Having a strong personality does not mean that you are always in a good mood every day, go through the day with a smile from morning to night and become an incorrigible optimist. Rather, strength lies in the fact that you realistically assess people and situations with which you are dealing. Problems are not made bigger than they really are and negative thoughts are not overstated either. Realistic optimism is a sign of advanced personal development.

  • You watch your emotions

    Dealing with one's own emotions quickly shows how strong a personality actually is. Many fall for the fallacy that strong personalities cannot show their emotions, but rather hide them from themselves and others. In fact, the exact opposite is the case: Inner strength shows when you are aware of your feelings, recognize them and are able to classify them correctly. It's a form of emotional intelligence.

  • You take time for yourself

    Everyday life can quickly become the sole purpose of life and suddenly every day is like the other. They are stuck in the routine and just work. An important ritual for strong personalities is time for themselves. You don't have to plan several hours for this. Even short exercises in mindfulness or small breaks in which you take care of your own needs show that you know yourself well and take care of yourself.

  • They address problems

    Regardless of personality: everyone has to deal with a wide variety of problems in their life. Whether privately or professionally, something always turns out differently than hoped. Strong personalities deal with it particularly effectively: Instead of complaining or whining that the circumstances are too difficult, problems are tackled anew every day. No waiting and ignoring, just tackling and changing.

  • You don't ask too much of yourself

    You can never please everyone. This serious realization is a clear indication of strong personalities.They understand that mistakes can happen and don't judge themselves too harshly. Instead, you make the best of the situation, evolve, and come out stronger.

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March 18, 2021Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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