My blog included, there probably are tens or hundreds of thousands of blogs out there, millions even, talking about personal development.
Deep inside, there is a yearning for us to become better versions of ourselves. There is a hunger for us to become our higher selves.
Maybe that hunger to be better was because of a desire to succeed. After all, success is not just actively achieved. It is also attracted. More often than not, success is attracted to people who have become better versions of themselves. For a long time, success was the reason why I pursued personal development.
But, everyone has his own reasons. Today, my reason is to simply live fully, to be the best that I can be in every moment and in every circumstance. (It's a tough task as I slip and stumble once in while.) What's your reason?
But, how can you actually measure personal development? How can you really say that you're improving—that you have actually become better?
Is personal development measured by financial success? If it is, then why are there people who are rich, but are miserable?
Is personal development measured by happiness? Then, the struggles we face that make us stronger would make no sense.
Is personal development measured in terms of strength, discipline, productivity, or the acquisition of virtues? That would be next to impossible as there will be times when we will fail to make the right choices. (Making a mistake is inevitable. Not repeating is optional.)
Is personal development measured in terms of personality? I would beg to disagree because each personality type is unique and his its own strengths and weaknesses. You should embrace your personality, not change it.
If not the ones mentioned above, then what is the best way to measure personal development?
Level of Consciousness
After reading so many books on the subject of personal development, the best way I found was to measure an individual's personal development based on his level of consciousness—his level of understanding of the world and how he can contribute to it.
Wait, what? What does this mean?
You have probably heard of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
In a nutshell, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs says that an individual will only strongly desire a higher level of needs when the lower levels of needs are met.
While the hierarchy of needs is not the absolute way to measure personal development, it helps explain how an individual can better understand the world and his contributions.
At the lower levels, physiological and safety needs, an individual cares only for himself and his physical needs.
At the mid-levels, love/belonging and esteem needs, an individual raises his level of consciousness and begins recognizes his deeper, emotional needs.
At the higher levels, self-actualization and self-transcendence (which is not in the pyramid), an individual raises his level of consciousness further and recognizes his need to love and to serve others.
As an individual go higher in the pyramid, the way he sees the world widens from a selfish to a selfless point-of-view. What’s not obvious here is that at the lower levels, we simply are reactive when it comes to creating and contributing to the world. Our contributions would seem to simply come by accident as we meet our physiological needs. At the higher levels, we become more proactive in creating and contributing to the world. We are intentional in what we create and contribute.
Also, the hierarchy of needs is symbolic of our maturity. As become more mature, we begin to think less of ourselves and more of others. We also become more proactive with our lives, our choices, our decisions, and our actions.
Again, if you want to measure how far you have progressed in your personal development, you simply have to evaluate (honestly) how different you see the world now and how you contribute to it.
Apparently, as you begin to have a better and wider perspective of the world and how you can contribute to it, you also develop habits, character, and virtues that will lead you to external success. But, it all starts in your perspective.