The 4 Pillars of Personal Development

A new meta framework on a chaotic field


Personal Development = getting better at building the life you want to live.

That’s my definition of it and I’ve spent 15+ years pursuing different tools, ideas, and routines.

And, trust me, there’s a lot of bullshit in this field.

And yet, it’s kinda obvious that personal development, especially by my definition, is a good thing.

But it can be incredibly frustrating navigating this chaotic field. That’s why I’ve developed a meta-framework of what personal development really is about.

A perspective on it that just doesn’t suck.

Here are the 4 core pillars of personal development that carry all of your growth:

1️⃣  C A L I B R A T I O N

Calibrate outside influences on your thoughts, emotions, and decisions to be pushed around less by your environment.

This requires:

→ Intellectual Understanding: understanding systems, incentives, culture, and psychology

→ Visceral Awareness: becoming more emotionally aware of how your environment acts upon you

→ Mental Resilience: becoming better at not blindly reacting to triggers around you

2️⃣  S E L F — A W A R E N E S S

Understand more about your place in the world and what you truly want out of life.

This requires:

→ Self Perception: understanding your character traits, your limits of knowledge, your strengths & weaknesses

→ Intrinsic Motivators: understanding what drives you (needs & desires)

→ Extrinsic Motivators: understanding what pulls you (formulates goals, assumed happiness proxies)

3️⃣  N A V I G A T I O N

Develop new ideas, set goals, make plans, and act on them effectively while cultivating an appreciation for where you’re at.

This requires:

→ Cognitive Capacity: understanding logic, systems thinking, higher order consequences

→ Belief Calibration: understanding, testing, and iterating your beliefs about what’s right, wrong, and possible

→ Mental Models: reductions of the world’s complexity down to useful heuristics

4️⃣  C U L T I V A T I O N

Nourishing the process of learning, developing your abilities, and creating opportunities.

This requires:

→ Habits: useful regular actions re. health, productivity, creativity, and learning

→ Social Interaction: people skills and relationship building

→ Mind Wellness: cultivating a healthy inner mental and emotional landscape

I’ll leave you with those. Let me know what you think.

(I reply to all emails myself, without exception.)



P.S.: I started a new project where I help ambitious people become the A-players at work others envy — or, much more interesting thinkers. Or both.

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Here are 3 other concepts you might benefit from:

The Streetlight Effect

Via Negativa

Causal Reductionism