There was a time where I thought that personal development was something linear, where you would go from level 1 to the next, until you reach enlightenment. Later on my life I read on one of Osho’s books about a spiritual path where one would sort of climb on a mountain and started climbing it by going on consecutive smaller circles around the mountain and closer to it’s summit. On that path you encountered 7 steps, each with it’s own challenges. But Osho was clear on one thing: this is not linear, you will many times find yourself back in previous steps if you’re not careful.
In Kung Fu Lotus we talk about a spiral of personal development where sometimes it seems like you are at the same level but in fact you are seeing the same but from a different angle in the spiral.
Luckily I’m not the alone in thinking about these things. There’s a ton of work already out there covering all kinds of ways to assess where you are in several areas/aspects of your personality. One such example is the Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale.
It’s funny to think of a personal development scale. What would you put there? The closest I got was a scale for self-compassion.
For me a good way of measuring personal development is to see where a person has traveled. If a person is well traveled he/she is likely to have been exposed to many different aspects of life, cultures, human beings and is probably able to see things in a different light. Like a good friend of mine used to say: “I do not evolve, I travel”.