Personal development, podcasts and being a whole person

23 April 2021

Personal development can support us to develop our capabilities and potential, and can be a powerful tool for all of us. Mitesh Vagadia from Student Support and Wellbeing has got some tips on about how he uses podcasts to learn more about himself and his outlook on life.

A hand holding a piece of paper with text 'what can you do today that you couldn't do a year ago?'

Why personal development?

From a young age, I had been curious about the world around me and interested in us as humans, which only developed further as I grew up. I’m interested in how we operate as humans and the development of the human mind, how we become better, serve others, and support our own mental health and wellbeing.

As I’ve become older, I’ve focused on my own growth as it’s important to me that I look after myself in the best way possible. This is closely linked with my job in Student Support and Wellbeing – it’s essential that we think deeply about how we can support students and each other in the best way, and personal development is a great lens through which to look through. Personal development thinking allows me to explore new ways of doing and thinking about things, embed this learning into my professional and personal life, and share this with others.


The way I’ve learned is primarily through podcasts, which I’ve built into my daily routine through walking, running or cycling when listening. The podcast I always go back to is Lewis Howes’s School of Greatness podcast. I started listening as I noticed that Howes brought in guests who I really admired, and I got hooked after my first episode.

That first episode that really got me interested was with James Lawrence, also known as the Iron Cowboy, who completed 50 Ironman triathlons in 50 days. I just couldn’t get my head around how someone could do that, but his discussion around mindset and motivation was so interesting. He speaks about the idea of the alter ego and being unstoppable – and I’ve been intrigued to learn more and apply some of these ideas to my own life ever since.

Listening to podcasts that feature people with different life experiences and identities to you is essential. I also really enjoyed Jay Shetty's episode, where he talks about his experiences as a monk and its relevance to his career and outlook on life.

My tip would be to try out a range of podcasts and find out which ones grab your attention. Try to listen out for people who are different to you, be curious and listen with an open mind. The best suggestion I can give is for you to write down what you learn or find interesting as you are listening, so you start to compile nuggets of information and pieces of wisdom that make you think ‘yeah, I want to try that’.

Working towards being a whole person

I’ve noticed changes in myself after thinking and applying some of these learnings. I have realised how important it is to work towards becoming a whole, rounded individual, accepting and loving who you are, and loving your place in this world. One idea that has really stood out to me is the idea of living with one foot in the present and another in the future, from Bob Proctor’s Law of Attraction episode, which also touches on being on a positive frequency.

Thinking about my personal development and student wellbeing, I’ve started to see the world through a lens of amaze and awe. It means I see the world in a different way and is particularly important in thinking how we move through the world with empathy and compassion for others.  

My journey has opened me up to mantras and positive quotes, writing down goals but also what I’m grateful for. So, it would only be right I finish with a mantra and quote:

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room on this earth" - Muhammad Ali

"Put good into the world and good will come back to you" – Mantra

If you’re interested in learning more about personal development and growth, join our wellbeing events, which this term includes sessions with Mitesh using School of Greatness podcasts

Mitesh Vagadia, Head of Student Support and Wellbeing (Development, Communications and Projects).