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Self Development Theory

Self development Theory 

Most, if not all, personal development programs in the forms of books, seminars and retreats are based on theories. These abstract theories provide the strong foundation upon which the concrete action plans stand on.

Religion as Basis

Major religions like Christianity, Islam and Buddhism are rich sources of personal development theories. The holy books used in these religions are the most-quoted sources when authors, gurus and mentors encourage individuals to become the best persons they can be in both their personal and professional lives.

We can mention the likes of Rick Warren and Jimmie Burroughs for Christians; Abdur Rahid Siddiqui for Muslims; and the Buddha himself for Buddhists. These authors expound on the self-development verses found in the Bible, the Koran and the Tipitaka, among other sources. Their aim is to aid the layman to better understand the theory and, consequently, to better apply the required concrete actions in their everyday life.

These religions also provide the basis for the various activities experienced in self-development programs. These activities include but are not limited to prayers and chants, songs and dances, martial arts and yoga, as well as meditation.

Philosophy as Basis

Many ancient philosophers have also contributed, in a manner of speaking, to the personal development industry. The most notable are Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and polymath, and Confucius, a Chinese philosopher. While Aristotle’s ideas have greatly influenced Western traditions, Confucius’ philosophy continues to influence education, management and family values in East Asia particularly China.

On the subject of personal development, Aristotle said that, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” He also defined personal development as the practice of virtues that leads to happiness, success and living well.

Confucius said that, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” This should be a mantra for individuals who want to attain self-awareness and yet cannot do so with their present action plan.

Psychology as Basis

Of a more modern origin, the field of psychology continues to make contributions into personal development theory. Carl Jung, Alfred Adler and Daniel Levinson are all notable psychologists whose views on personality development continue to influence the direction of personal development programs.

When all of these sources for self-development theory are taken together, the results are impressive. After all, a good balance between the age-old wisdom contained in ancient religions and philosophies and the modern findings of psychology professionals is achieved.


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