There is a far more accurate way of measuring personal development than the achievement model. This method can be called the “wisdom model”.
In this model, it is explained what is really going on in life. Everyone is going about trying to do everything they possibly can to accomplish their goals and make life conform to their desires. With every action performed, people are putting effort into trying to control life, and this is absolutely necessary and wonderful. But what is the purpose of such efforts? What is the purpose of goals? If you are trying to live by the achievement model, the purpose of goals will seen to be, of course, to achieve them (and hence prove your value). But the wisdom model provides the understanding that goals serve a completely different role. They serve the role of providing you with a journey of real life experiences. And, as the they say, we grow from our life experiences. From our life experiences we grow in wisdom, and this growth represents our true personal development.
Every person who is alive is out there having a real journey of life events, even those people trying to live by the achievement model. And it is these events which are enabling our development to take place, regardless of the degree to which the events match our preferences and original intentions. But if development is measured by the gaining of wisdom, the question needs to be asked, what is wisdom?
Wisdom has nothing to do with knowing how to control life, knowing which events to pick or what course of action to take in life. Wisdom is actually a specific set of understandings which will neutralise psychological stress when life is not going the way you want. It is a small subset within the vast network of belief systems known as “knowledge”. This subset is concerned with trying to answer the question “what is taking place in life?”. Wisdom can be defined as an accurate account of reality. An accurate assessment of that which is taking place. And your growth in wisdom is your growth in understanding what is really going on in life, your growth in understanding reality. It is this growth in wisdom which is responsible for fixing people’s psychological stress, not any claim to have taken back control of life and mind.
When you look at life, when you see things happening and people going about their business, your mind is going to be forming opinions about what it all means. It is going to be forming opinions about the activity you see, and about what you think is really going on in the big picture. Everything you see is part of a system after all, and everyone is up to difference levels of understanding how that system works.
The reason so many people are stressed, anxious, depressed, suicidal, angry or hateful is that their level of wisdom is not high enough to allow them to understand what they see in reality. When they give their opinions as to what is going on, what they think is going on is not at all what is actually going on. For example people are out their believing that “I am not valuable”. Or that “I could have chosen to have acted different back then”. Or “That person is ruining the system”. Their account of reality is not correct.
Reality is simply a development process. A process of cause and effect. And there are lessons in wisdom which define this process. For something to be a lesson in wisdom, it must describe an aspect of the development process. One way of gaining more understanding of these lessons is through studying physiology. You can compare healthy human physiology with diseased physiology. What is the difference?