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Do you want to become the best version of yourself but just don’t know where to start?

Or maybe you’re a self development junkie like me and looking for new ways to continue working on yourself.

Whichever boat you’re on right now, I want to give you the 9 skills that made the biggest difference in my life over the 10 years.

We have to understand that self development is a lifelong process, but I hope this list inspires, or at the very least gives some new ideas for improving yourself even further!

TL;DR

  1. Meditation
  2. Speed Reading
  3. Speed Typing
  4. Sleeping
  5. Understanding Habits
  6. Professional Development Mindset
  7. Professional Communication
  8. Personal Development Mindset
  9. Personal Communication
self development skills that helped me become a better person

Best Personal Development Skills

1. Meditation

meditation, the number one on my list of personal development skills

If there’s one skill I recommend to anyone I speak with, it’s Meditation. It always has been and always be the biggest needle mover for me.

Meditation gets a bad rep for being too woo woo. But there’s actually been a lot of recent developments in quantum mechanics and science in general that explain the benefits of Meditation.

But what is Meditation?

Meditation for me is self awareness. It’s being in the present moment. It can mean a lot of things but simply put it’s your focus.

Wherever you rest your awareness, your energy will follow.

Instead of resting your awareness on social media and giving all your energy to feeding the drug of stress, guilt, shame, fear, and negativity…

Meditation can teach you how to repurpose your energy towards healthier alternatives.

With practice, Meditation can not only help you relax, but also help you overcome past traumas, addictions, and even genetic conditions.

If you’re looking to pick up a new skill for your personal growth, Meditation is a must-have in your personal development plan.

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2. Speed Reading

speed reading, number two on my list of personal development skills

Another new skill to add into your toolbox of personal development skills is Speed Reading.

You don’t have to be a student or a lawyer to benefit from this skill either. Everyone reads. You’re doing it right now!

Yes, I too love my audiobooks as much as the next guy or gal. I also listen to all my YouTube videos on 2.5x speed as well.

But text is still by far the most efficient way to learn anything new in depth, granted that you can read fast enough.

Let’s think about it. Authors spend months if not years writing dozens of drafts to make sure every word and chapter is perfect.

And if you’re reading fast enough, the science shows that the visual part of your brain is engaged which is huge for comprehension, as opposed to the auditory part of your brain triggered by audio.

I think being able to read 250-500 WPM (words per minute) has made all the difference in my personal growth.

It’s what allowed me to learn many of these personal development skills on this list!

I would highly encourage everyone to be able to read at least 250 WPM, a whole new world of learning will open up to you!

3. Speed Typing

typing, number three on my list of personal development skills

This one may not be as relevant to those who work outside or more with their hands than at a computer. But I wanted to include it on this list because it would feel irresponsible to leave it out.

If reading is how to absorb information, typing is the way you output it.

I’m a bit extreme in this regard. I’ve even gone as far as to learn different keyboard layouts than the standard QWERTY keyboard layout.

I only mention this because when I’m learning those new layouts, there’s always a learning period during which I’m not a fast typist at all.

The thing is, whenever I learn a new layout and my typing speed dips, I notice a HUGE difference in my ability to communicate and express myself. I even find myself feeling frustrated because I can’t move the idea to ‘paper’ fast enough!

In the modern 21st century, the average person spends 6+ hours in front of their computers every single day.

Whether it’s emails, blog posts, essays, or messenger apps, we type A LOT.

For anyone who wants to put their thought onto the screen with minimal delays, I find that 100 WPM is a good benchmark to shoot for.

Here’s ThePrimeTime talking about it in the context of computer programming but I think it applies to anyone interacting with a computer on a daily basis.

I’m currently averaging around 120 and on a mission to hit 250 WPM in the next year or two.

But whatever your goals may be, I hope this encourages you to look into Speed Typing as one of your personal development skills to fuel your personal growth.

4. Sleeping

sleeping, number four on my list of personal development skills

Sleeping, really Mike?

Ok, hear me out.

I admit. Sleeping isn’t a ‘skill’ as much as it is a discipline.

But I would absolutely stand by the statement that the informed person is likely to be a ‘better sleeper’ than the uninformed. Here’s what I mean.

There’s 24 hours in a day and most of us need around 8.

(And yes, I was that guy who told everyone I could function at 100% with 4 hours of sleep. I wasn’t)

The average person is very intentional about how they spend the waking 2/3 of their lives.

But how many people are as intentional about how they spend the other 1/3 of their lives? 33% of your ENTIRE LIFE. That’s not a small amount!

This is so important to me because getting good sleep is so closely tied with learning and personal growth in general.

Whether it’s retaining new information or learning new skills, sleep plays a vital role that could either accelerate your growth by 10x or hamper it by 10x.

If I told you there was a way you could become the best version of you 10x faster, wouldn’t you want to know the secret?

It’s sleep.

If you want to become your best self in record time but have been neglecting sleep, definitely look into it.

The key is to understand how many hours you need and having a ritual to make sure you get those hours every single night.

Look after your sleeping self and your entire outlook on life could change, literally overnight!

5. Understanding Habits

understanding habits, number five on my list of personal development skills

The tricky but powerful thing about habits is that the majority of them are subconscious and automatic. And I’m not just talking about the cookies.

They can be a lot more subtle, like checking your phone when it’s only been 10 seconds since the last time you checked. Or most sneaky of all, your thoughts.

Understanding habits can help you implement practice regiments for your meditation, reading, typing, and even sleeping, which is great.

But that’s just scratching the surface.

Let’s say via meditation you realized there was an unhealthy emotion that you wanted get rid of.

Aside from the meditation work, having a deeper understanding of habits can help you understand why your brain is habitually feeding that emotion to you.

Is it the environment you’re in? Is it the people you associate with? Is it a particular thing you do right before the onset of this emotion?

If you want to increase self awareness, hack your productivity and take control of the subconscious thoughts and actions that drive 95% of your day, look into Meditation and Habits.

If you’ve made it this far, I think you’re amazing and have been enjoying the read. We’re kindred spirits.

Now I want to talk about specific mindsets and skills that have allowed me to be on this journey for as long as I have.

6. Personal Development Mindset

It took me a while to put this system together but I hope it’s insightful and helps you on your own journey.

I will eventually be writing entire articles outlining this system and process but let me give you the sparknotes version.

6.1 sustainable motivation for personal development

the inner fire, first part of developing a personal development mindset, personal development skills

Often overlooked, but it all starts here. It’s your reasons, your why’s. Make this inner fire an all consuming fire that will burn away all excuses and negative talk.

I had to protect and grow my fire every single day for weeks if not months. But if you can do this, you will have true motivation that will stand the test of time.

6.2 Pick a Skill

picking a skill, second part of developing a personal development mindset, personal development skills

Pick a skill, any skill. I highly recommend starting with meditation for all the reasons I mentioned.

The only caveat is: just pick ONE!

You might be tempted to pick 5 different areas of your life. It’s not impossible but it’s very hard to sustain. Just pick one, there’s no rush!

6.3 Picture Excellence

picture excellence, third part of developing a personal development mindset, personal development skills

Now, picture yourself performing the skill at the highest level — or at least at the level you’re aiming for.

Really SEE it. Really FEEL it.

The more specific and clearer this picture, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

6.4 Sub Skills

sub skills, fourth part of developing a personal development mindset, personal development skills

Now that you know what mastery looks and feels like, break the whole skill down into sub-skills that you can tackle one at a time.

You might have to do some research on YouTube or invest in a course that will give you the road map. But the goal is to chunk down this one big skill into bite-sized pieces.

6.5 Create a Timeline

create a timeline, fifth part of developing a personal development mindset, personal development skills

Once you have sub-skills, assign timelines for which you will master each sub-skills.

Often you’ll find that you didn’t chunk down the sub-skills small enough, or that it’s going to take longer than you realized.

That’s ok. Readjust.

The goal is to set yourself up for success by creating a reasonable timeline you can follow and execute.

6.6 Put in the Time

putting in the time, sixth part of developing a personal development mindset, personal development skills

Once you have a clear picture of all the subskills you’re going to master within their own time frames, it’s time to put in the work.

Do the exercises. Make the things. Implement the strategies. There are no shortcuts here.

6.7 Be Patient with Yourself

be patient with yourself, sixth part of developing a personal development mindset, personal development skills

Remember, you are in the process of EVOLVING! Give yourself the grace you deserve for tackling something new.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or rushed, it usually means you didn’t chunk down the sub-skills small enough or that you were unrealistic with your timeline.

That’s ok. Readjust.

Overcome the challenges. It’s all part of the success you saw when you Pictured Excellence.

I can’t stress the importance of the inner fire and picturing excellence.

You have to protect your fire and vision for your future. If you find motivation waning, it’s often due to these stages not being as strong.

Take your time with these steps, months if you need to!

7. Personal Communication Skills

I wanted to write a little about some of the communication skills that have helped me in my personal relationships.

7.1 Know Yourself

knowing yourself, first part of developing personal communication skills,, personal development skills

Without getting too philosophical, the most helpful advice I ever received to increase the quality of my relationships was to know who I was. And it makes sense.

If you don’t know who you are, how confusing would it be for your friend, partner, or spouse?

Whether they’re values, morals, strengths, or weaknesses, take some time to develop a clear and healthy identity.

7.2 Express Yourself

express yourself, second part of developing personal communication skills,, personal development skills

Too often I found myself fighting battles that were never mine to fight. I made mountains out of molehills because I didn’t even know who I was.

Don’t be someone who others want you to be or who you think you should be. It’s way too exhausting.

Take a good hard look in the mirror. And if you don’t like what you don’t see, don’t worry, we can all improve.

7.3 Make Sure Your Cup Is Full

making sure your cup is full, third part of developing personal communication skills,, personal development skills

You need to make sure you’re in a good place before you’re any good for others. If you’re in a state of lack, you’ll always be taking from relationships rather than giving.

This is ok every now and then, but for healthy and sustainable relationships, I found there must always be a give and take in relationships.

7.4 Take a Deep Breath. Or two. or Three.

taking a deep breath, fourth part of developing personal communication skills,, personal development skills

They did it again. They said the thing and pushed those buttons and all you’re seeing is red. Before you do or say anything, take a very slow breath.

Imagine you’re breathing through your nose from the bottom of your stomach, through your chest, through your throat, through your eyes, to the top of your head.

Once you get to the top of your head, let your attention just linger at a point at the top of your head for a few seconds.

And just for good measure, do it 2 more times.

7.5 Reflect

reflecting, fifth part of developing personal communication skills,, personal development skills

We come across many and random situations and challenges in life. It’s normal. And in the chaos of it all, it’s hard to know exactly what to say or do.

At the end of the day, take some time to reflect on your day. It’s a great way to get a more objective take on the events of the day so you can live a more intentional life.

7.6 Apologize

apologizing, sixth part of developing personal communication skills,, personal development skills

During your reflections, you might come across situations where you should probably apologize.

If you should, just do it.

Pride and the need to be right are too costly to emotionally scar someone you love. Even if you forget about it, they may not.

7.7 Forgive

forgiving, seventh part of developing personal communication skills, personal development skills

Another situation that might come up is when you have the option of forgiving.

If you have the option, just do it.

Yes, you’re probably within your “right”.

But not forgiving means you’re not moving on. And if you’re not moving on, it means you’re choosing negativity to define you.

If you do that for long enough, it’s only a matter of time until it starts defining not only your present but your future.

8. Professional Development Mindset

There’s a bit of overlap between the personal and professional development mindset but these are principles I live and die by. If you develop the skills listed below, I guarantee your name will come up in every promotion conversation.

8.1 The Inner Fire

the inner fire, first part of developing a professional development mindset, personal development skills

Similar to the inner fire in the personal development mindset, you need to have a clear reason for why you want to achieve professional excellence.

Everyone has their own reasons but if you’re not clear on why it’s important for you, you’ll lose your way. Take time to nurture this fire into an all-consuming fire.

8.2 The GYST

get your shit together! the second part of developing a professional development mindset, personal development skills

GYST. Get Your Shit Together. This might sound extreme, but most people in the workplace are lazy with no real work ethic. They’re passive. Let’s be real, they’re half asleep. GYST means you’re on high alert.

It means you’re thinking ahead of all the ways something can go right and wrong so however a scenario plays out you’re the guy with the answers. This is a topic I can talk about for hours.

8.3 Thinking Ahead in Webs

thinking ahead, third part of developing a professional development mindset, personal development skills

I briefly mentioned it but in order to be that guy in your workplace, you can’t half ass it. You can’t be mentally lazy, and you have to be prepared for everything.

Every decision leads to entire potential realities that you could either be ready for or be surprised by.

The sheer number of realities shouldn’t stop you from being an action-taker. But this is how you make more correct decisions and bounce back from setbacks faster than your peers.

9. Professional Communication Skills

I say communication skills, but I found that the most effective form of communication in a professional setting is results. This is how you get them.

9.1 Assume Responsibility

taking responsibility, first part of developing professional communication skills, personal development skills

No one likes someone kicking the can down the road. And someone like that definitely doesn’t have leadership skills.

Problem solving and cleaning up after someone else’s mess is what leaders do. It also gives you more opportunities to practice your craft and expand your skill set.

Act like a leader and the promotions will follow.

9.2 Solutions Not Problems

solutions not problems, second part of developing professional communication skills, personal development skills

You may think you’re being helpful but really ask yourself, is what you’re about to say going to offer a solution? Or are you really just highlighting a problem?

Anyone can point out what’s wrong but it takes a leader to solve those problems.

9.3 Action Not Complaints

action not complaints, third part of developing professional communication skills, personal development skills

You know what’s better than talking about a solution? Acting on it and delivering the results. You might have the best idea in the world but guess what, it didn’t do anyone any good.

Act first, ask for forgiveness later. More often than not, when you take initiative, leadership will give you even more responsibilities rather than getting upset.

9.4 Empathy

empathy, fourth part of developing professional communication skills, personal development skills

The average work place is a dog-eat-dog world.

But not for you.

You’ve been meditating, reflecting, apologizing, forgiving, and instead of getting triggered, you see the world differently now.

You realize people are just stuck in a mindset of survival. You’re not patronizing. You begin to feel for people.

If you can get to this point, I guarantee you’ll be able to negotiate your salary and title every 6 months without having to change companies every 2 years.

Conclusion

Personal Development changed my life.

Whether it’s personal skills or developing relationships, taking the time to work on myself gave me insights not only for myself but insights that have helped my closest friends and wife.

I’m so passionate about all these skills and personal development in general because to me personal development is a symbol of hope. The light at the end of the tunnel.

I know I’m not perfect but I can work on that. How great is that?

Knowing that who or where you are in life doesn’t have to be forever? That things can always get better?

I hope you enjoyed the read and found some important skills to help fuel you on your journey.

If you’re interested in reading about more specific topics feel free to look around the blog and website.

If you want to catch my ideas hot off the typing press, join my newsletter or follow me on X.

Wherever you are on your journey I’m excited for you.

We are unlimited beings with limitless potential.

All things are possible and success is inevitable.

Let’s live like it!