This paper assumes that human nature is universal and postulates the existence of a common, true utility function defined on attributes or “substantive goods." However, individuals have different household production functions so that the capacity to realize the substantive goods varies from person to person. Moreover, the limited life experience of an individual contrains his perception of his constraints and opportunities. As a result, individual maximization behaviour is based on a perceived utility function and a perceived household production function. Personal development is a process of learning about the true utility function and the true household production function. If a virtuous cycle of personal development is activated, imaginary constraints are overcome and real constraints are accepted. On the other hand, a vicious cycle of mesmerising development may occur if frustrations are misinterpreted.
Ho, L. S. (1997).A model of human nature and personal development (CPPS Working Paper Series No.57). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: http://commons.ln.edu.hk/cppswp/32/