The Changing Face of Personal Development

03/18/2015 03:05 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2015
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It used to be that personal development was viewed as something, well, personal... to be done in private and the resulting experiences certainly not shared with others.

Like those corners in the bookstore that are filled with the books about how to lose weight, get happier, etc. where one would hide away in private hoping not to be seen riffling through pages in the fear that they would be viewed in a negative light.

Now, as our world moves at an increasingly fast pace, more and more people are starting to recognize that personal development is not a crisis state affair but something we all need to be engaging in throughout life.

This awareness is accompanied by a growing acceptance and social sharing of the process of personal development itself and is, in turn, inspiring more people to consider trying out some form of personal development growth.

Things are just moving too quickly, our lives are too multi-dimensional and exposed, to pretend anymore that we have it all figured out, and we're finally starting to finally feel like it is ok to admit that.

When you have to juggle making a living, keeping a home, raising a family, getting ahead, staying healthy, cultivating strong relationships and everything else all on a shoestring of time, whatever can be done to shortcut the learning curve to an optimized life makes a whole lot of sense.

We see indications of this accelerating trend through the rise in popularity of yoga, meditation, health eating and quantified self, not just on the coasts but throughout America. We also see it in the success best-selling authors like Gabrielle Bernstein who draw packed rooms around the country and through the popularity of apps like Headspace that gamify particular disciplines of development.

As this trend accelerates we will see more and more companies focused on unlocking access to various forms of personal development in a way that appeals to consumers, and the result will be better quality learning at a lower cost with a greater focus on results.

Gone are the days of DVD sets priced at hundreds or thousands of dollars and mailed by mega guru-celebrity figures like Tony Robbins. This emerging wave of personal development will be served by individual experts who have mastered particular niches of a broader discipline and appeal to a specific type of audience.

Tim Ferriss was one of the first to lead the way to greater mass appeal around the idea of life optimization with his breakthrough book The Four Hour Work Week. There are now thousands of personal development experts who have figured out how to earn a very successful living from their knowledge and talents at helping others including Marie Forleo who teaches business skills to aspiring entrepreneurs, Evan Marc Katz who helps women find lasting love and Nisha Moodley who inspires a renewed celebration of sisterhood.

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition is one of the leading educators for this new crop of solo-preneurs and has on its own certified tens of thousands of coaches including many of the "rising star" experts who are featured on popexpert.

In the coming years as the millennial ethos of "experiences over possessions" starts to take greater hold in our society at large and as technology unlocks new ways of connecting and learning, we will see a continued acceleration of this trend in a way that should benefit our society at large.

If you don't yet understand how this might apply in your own life, simply think about whether you would like to feel less stressed, more fit and healthy, and happier in your relationships, and you'll start to get the picture for why this all makes so much sense.

To get started on your own path of learning and development, simply choose one thing you want to get better at and take the first step. It can be as simple as introducing a 60-second break to just breathe and be mindful in the middle of the workday. Once you start, you'll likely be hooked on learning more.