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Personal Development Hobbies

On the personal development movement, its critics, and hobbies as an alternative for mindful self-improvement.

Personal development: the process of improving your skills and increasing the amount of experience that you have in your job.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT definition | Cambridge English Dictionary

While the Cambridge English Dictionary relates personal development to work, the term is often used in a more general context. Personal development essentially means doing anything that develops your skills or knowledge and, thus, hopefully, improves your well-being.

Personal development usually involves self-help books, life coaches, courses, or programs. For some, these might feel daunting and unnatural.

The global personal development market size was valued at USD 41.81 billion in 2021 and is anticipated to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5% from 2022 to 2030.

Personal Development Market Size Report, 2022-2030 | Grand View Research

When so much money is involved, it is hard to stay mindful. For this, the self-improvement movement has gained critics:

Based on the author’s extensive reporting–and the inside look at the industry he got while working at a leading “lifestyle” publisher–SHAM shows how thinly credentialed “experts” now dispense advice on everything from mental health to relationships to diet to personal finance to business strategy.

Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless

However, research shows that much of the advice extolled may be misleading or even wrong. Several myths about performance persist, despite research and practices that show they are half-truths at best.

4 Self-Improvement Myths That May Be Holding You Back | Harvard Business Review

Moreover, self-improvement is obsessed with… the self:

What’s more, all the focus on self-optimization can come at the expense of time with friends and loved ones.

Why self-help books can be harmful | fast company

Hobbies can lead to a more natural path for self-development. Instead of superficially pursuing artificial self-help goals, you might want to pursue your interests and passions. While enjoying an engaging and satisfying leisure activity, you can mindfully improve your skills and experience.

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