Quantitative Personal Development

Nash Popovic profile image

Written by Nash Popovic

Quantitative development refers to an increase or improvement of our capacities and competences. This is an equivalent of the diversity increase in biological evolution. As species diversify and improve (adapt) through evolution, we diversify and improve our competences through this kind of development.

Here are some examples of competences we have in mind (this list may not be exhaustive and not all of them are always present):

  • Dynamism (e.g. curiosity, interest, exposure to experiences)
  • Complexity (of skills, knowledge or experience)
  • Differentiation and integration (analytic and synthetic abilities)
  • Pattern recognition
  • Creativity, a capacity to generate something new (e.g. a new sentence)
  • Sensitivity (to nuances, details or subtle points)
  • Focus regulation (an ability to narrow or widen the focus)
  • Diversity and versatility (of skills, knowledge and experiences)
  • Internal locus of control
  • Efficiency (in utilising one’s potentials and energy)
  • Persistence and flexibility
  • Perspective (e.g. taking into account long term consequences)
  • The scope of the moral sense (its inclusiveness)

The development of particular skills always involves some of the above. For example, the better we are at playing the violin, the more complex and diverse pieces of music we are able to play. But this is not all. These capacities can also be relevant for the non-material aspect of the person. They can all potentially contribute to the three dimensions of the soul growth and meaning that were discussed in The Materials of the Mind:

  • Information dimension that involves the increase of knowledge and understanding.
  • Experience dimension that involves an increase in either the variety of experiences or in the quality of experience.
  • Agency dimension that involves the increase of self-regulation – intentional behaviour and activities.

In practice, though, these three are not separate. To use the above example, the development of violin playing involves all of them: self-regulation is necessary to learn to play in tune, knowledge and understanding are necessary to be able to read scores, and experience of the produced sound provides a feedback that is vital for further improvement. The same applies to many other instances of quantitative development. However, these three dimensions can also develop in another way, to which we will turn now.