There’s a difference. A big one. Self-fulfillment is all about “what’s in it for me so that I can be happy.” Self-development is all about “what’s in it for me so I can help others.”
The ‘intent” is what differentiates one from the other.
I can be self-fulfilled and go merrily about my life. But I can also focus on self-development so that I can be useful to others. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which among the two intents makes a better leader. And by a leader, you should know, I don’t mean a leadership title or a position but an intent to lead.
Some might argue, “Hey, Sunil isn’t self-development as selfish as self-fulfillment?” And you’d probably be right except that to be able to give others one must grow and develop. The right intent prevents a true leader from being complacent and focuses on self-development for a cause that’s bigger than themselves.
The success that follows is basically a byproduct of their service. It’s a means to an end and not an end in itself. And that’s precisely why I don’t like to talk about success. Not that anything’s wrong with that. Just that our culture prioritizes success over service and that’s deluding the masses (in my opinion).
Jim Rohn said it the best:
“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job; your income is directly related to your philosophy, not the economy; and for things to change, you must change.”
Are you willing to work harder on yourself?