What Is Analysis Driven Personal Development?

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Everyone has their favorite authors, experts and approach to making changes in their lives.  The tips, perspective and strategies that I discuss are based upon my personal experience, and the approach I have come up with – an approach I call analysis driven personal development.  A few people have asked me what analysis driven personal development is all about.  I define it like this:

Analysis driven personal development is personal development (improving oneself) based on and predicated on analysis of all the relevant information present.

There’s more to it than just a definition though – there are strategies, a frame of mind.  There are also certain things that are simply not related to analysis driven personal development.  This discussion aims to clarify what I mean by analysis driven personal development – and explain the broad approach I take to personal development.

Analysis Driven Personal Development Is:

  • Introspection Driven.  Analysis driven personal development is still personal.  At the heart of it is personal analysis about who you are and what you want.  Some examples of this are my discussion of how to approach personal change, the article analyzing my procrastination weaknesses and where I waste time online.
  • Research Driven.  Some of the previous articles include research into pleasure buttons and dopamine receptors, and the psychology research behind how to stop checking email so frequently and  psychological tricks to fool ourselves.  All these are examples of research driven personal development – being able to act and make changes in our lives based on scientific research and studies.
  • Evidence Driven.  Sometimes we don’t have any research to support particular decisions – but we have anecdotal evidence from experts, friends and colleagues. In these cases, it’s important to consider not just evidence that supports our case – but to consider all the evidence, even evidence that may be contradictory, or evidence that we would prefer not to consider. For example, I’ve always believed in written goals – but was dismayed to find that I could not locate any evidence the Harvard 3% written goals study occurred.  Fortunately, I have come across other studies and anecdotal evidence suggesting the benefits of written goals.
  • Personal Results Driven.  By considering our personal results, we are better able to make decisions about how to act in the future.  The results don’t have to be (and likely won’t be!) always positive – analysis of failures as well as success can be used as learning experiences and and a chance to improve.  The important thing to consider is to not just blindly follow what someone has written, or what has worked for other people – consider your own results and see what works for you, and whether other people’s advice holds true. Ali Hale did a great job showing this in her discussion of the problem with the Pareto Principle.
  • Trial and Error Driven.  I view many experiences in my life as experiments – things I am willing to try, even if I’m not sure how they will turn out or whether the end result will be positive.  What matters is taking advantage of opportunities, and seeing how they work out.  One example of an experiment is when I tested out and reviewed a virtual assistance service – and compared it to my dedicated assistant.

Engaging In Analysis Driven Personal Development Requires That You Be:

  • Open Minded.  When embarking on a new approach, I try not to pre-judge an experience or process.  I try to approach it with an open mind, try it out, and then rationally review the results.   For example, many personal development books may suggest things that conflict with my opinions – but I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, and give the new approach a fair shot.
  • Brutally Honest With Yourself.  You’ve got to know when you’re making excuses, taking things for granted or avoiding work with metawork.  Introspection and reviewing personal results isn’t easy – but the best way to make progress is to first be honest with yourself and have an accurate perspective of where you are.
  • Skeptical, perhaps even a little cynical.  Be open minded in your approach, but be skeptical of any results.  When I make changes in my life that appear to be positive or negative, I try to get to the root of what has led to the results. Sometimes it is obvious, while other times taking a closer look has led me to finding surprising things – such as how much time I was spending cooking each week.
  • Reason based rather than emotion based.  This is difficult for me, but I think it’s very important when reviewing anecdotes, research and evidence to not be swayed emotionally by stories or “one off” situations.  I know I often use my hiking stories to illustrate a point, but I encourage you to question even that – allow yourself to be emotionally involved and pulled into the story, but then before you accept it at face value, step back and ask yourself whether it rationally makes sense and applies to you, and where you are in your life.

Analysis Driven Personal Development Is Not Necessarily

  • Leader driven personal development.  You don’t have to subscribe to any particular expert’s views – Stephen Covey, David Allen, Leo Babauta – though these happen to be some of my favorites, they don’t have to be yours.  The process of analysis driven personal development applies to many areas, though my examples will tend to be drawn from writers, speakers and experts I admire.
  • Belief centric personal development.  Again, while my personal beliefs and dogma will creep into my writing, that should not be confused with the overall method with which I am approaching the issue.
  • Pleasant personal development.  You will not always feel good. It will not always be easy, and sometimes we may find it hard to stay motivated.  This is to be expected, as analysis driven personal development is not always a pleasant process.  Examining your goals and where you want to go will require some honest, difficult decisions.

Analysis Driven Personal Development is Less About Where You Are Going – And More About How You Get There.

Maze Direction White PathAnalysis driven personal development is all about you and your personal development. If you get down to the root of it, there are two big buckets in personal development: where you are going (goals and dreams) and how you get there (the process).  Analysis driven personal development will help you with where you are going, but those end results will differs from person to person.

Like metawork, which provides the groundwork and framework for getting actual goals accomplished, analysis driven personal development is merely a framework – an approach towards accomplishing goals . Though it is  is not tied to specific goals, my examples will of course analyze my perspective and areas important in my life, such as :

If these goals don’t resonate with you, I think you will still find the process of analysis driven personal development interesting and rewarding.

Your Thoughts?

What do you think? How do you approach your goals, personal development, and difficult decisions in your life? Do you disagree with this approach?

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