The “Achievement Model” for measuring personal development Pt.2

The “achievement model” is one method that many people use for measuring where people are up to in life, how much they have gained from life and what level of success their life has. According to this model, you can only say your life is “on track” and that you are “making progress” if life is conforming to how you desire it to go. Meaning, your level of development will be measured by the degree to which you can control life and get it to match your preferences. It is interesting that sometime’s you hear people talk about other people they believe are too selfish, and they claim these people are “only in it for personal gain”. Well, what is meant by “personal gain” is also what is meant when I use the word “development”. But when people talk about personal gain, they are almost always referring to the “achievement model” view of what needs to occur before a person can be said to have received things of value.

The word development really means that two things are happening:

  1. Things are changing. 
  2. Things are changing in the right direction.

For a person’s life to be said to developing really means that their life is undergoing the correct type change. They are taking steps forward, advancing, or improving in some way.

So now let’s have a look at some examples of the achievement model for measuring this growth in action.

A footballer may measure his development by his improvement in how well he can kick a goal. He may say he receives his development from his coach, team and time spent playing football.

A student may measure development by how much knowledge he/she can remember in an exam. He/she may say that development comes from the classroom and studying.

A teenager may measure development by how many friends he/she can make or how popular he/she is. They may say that development comes from having skills, looks, humour, confidence or anything that people approve of.

A business person may measure development by how many clients he/she can convert.

Many people measure development by the level of financial success experienced.

Many people also measure development by the type of work they can perform in their occupation.

A person may think their life is only developing if their are in a happy relationship.

So, when you think about it, people have very different ideas of what personal growth is measured by. But, the common theme is that everyone living under the achievement model is measuring the success and value of their life but what favourable outcomes they can force into existence.

Now, given the reality that hundreds of things everyday day will always fall short of conforming to exactly how we wish life to go, the achievement model is really a recipe for misery. It’s like saying “I can only like myself and enjoy life if I am at the centre of the universe and control everything that has, does or will exist”. Sounds ridiculous right? But this is what the vast majority of people believe (at least partially)!!!!!

In order to fully understand the incorrectness of this belief, we need to look at the correct method for measuring personal development. What do people really need for personal development to take place? We need to look at the “wisdom model” for measuring personal development. It is completely different from the achievement model.


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