Change Your Life … But Why?
A question that often came to my mind before digging up more about Self Improvement was: “Why should I be constantly looking to improve my life?”. You know, Internet is full of Self Improvement blogs; and Personal Growth books are among the top selling ones. There are so many so-called Self Help gurus that it seems that wherever you look; someone is telling you to change your life.
It can get overwhelming at some point, right? And the worst part is, most people will tell you how to make your life better, but will never explain to you why you should do it.
You Have Nothing Broken; Why Would You Improve Your Life?
There’s a common belief that Self Improvement is only made for unhappy people, for those who need some kind of external help to improve their life after a breakup or having been laid off from their job. It seems that we should only improve ourselves if something is wrong with us.
But here is the wrong part: you don’t need to have something “broken” nor be in a critical situation or state of mind to take the Personal Development road. This road is for everyone. There is something to learn for everybody here, even if you think you are already good enough.
It’s Not a Sign of Weakness
“I’m strong enough to face my own problems, I don’t need someone else’s help” is something I often heard related to Self Improvement. Before starting this blog; I read a lot of books about Happiness and Personal Growth (and still do, by the way). When I would tell people such a thing; some of them would roll their eyes, breathe heavily and ask me “But, why do you need to do this?”. For many people, trying to improve your life is a sign of weakness. It’s a way of admitting that there is a problem.
In our society, we are taught since childhood to show the image of a strong and powerful person. Vulnerability and/or failure are not allowed and we should never let our feelings show. In such an environment; accepting and making clear that you are trying to improve yourself is seen as a negative thing.
But let me tell you. It’s nothing negative. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. You are showing your energy and your confidence in your own ability to change. Remember: you are your worst enemy, and as such, changing yourself and improving some aspects of your life are some of the hardest things ever. You are actually having a fight against yourself. No excuses allowed, all the responsibilities are on you. The easier part would be to sit back and relax in your own comfort zone; while the brave part is to actually take action, change and go beyond your limits (and create new ones).
Some people spend their entire life in their comfort zone. Although it might sound exaggerated, I would say they more or less die the same person they were born. Do you want to be that person? Don’t you want to change, be a better YOU, and when it’s time to look back, say “boy, that was awesome, I’m so proud of what I did”? Well, I do, and that is why I have been almost all my life striving to improve myself.
Happiness and Self Improvement can go together
So, now you are thinking “Nicolas is probably an unhappy person; only unhappy and sad people have interest in Self Improvement; right?”. Well I’m sorry to admit it … but I am a happy person.
Most people consider that if you are happy, you are not supposed to try to change things. As said above, that would be like admitting that you are not as happy as you pretend. Well it makes sense, right? If you are already a happy person, why would you change a thing? Why would you put yourself in danger? (because improving your life really comes down to facing your fears, uncertainties and bad habits and challenging yourself to change those).
Except you should not see this as a danger; but as an opportunity. An opportunity to be better. A better dad, a better colleague, a better YOU… You can be the happiest person on earth, but who said that you couldn’t be even happier? Usain Bolt is the fastest person on earth, he is pretty happy about it (he declared himself as a living legend); and yet he goes and trains every day to run even faster.
Whether you are happy or not should definitely not prevent you from having a look at the Personal Development world. As I said above, we all have something to learn.
People interested in Self Improvement usually have something in common : they know themselves way better than the average person. For average people, the norm is the lack of self-knowledge, either because they don’t want to know more, or because their subconscious is hiding their imperfections under some effective self talk. I truly think that some people actually believe they’re perfect. Sorry guys, you couldn’t be more wrong. We all have some flaws. Fear of the future, nostalgia of the past, compulsive jealousy, lack of confidence … Just name it. Nobody’s perfect. Steve Jobs was eccentric and overconfident. Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein suffered Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
But who am I to tell you this? Well, about ten years ago, in a Secret Santa I got offered a book by Julia Cameron, named The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. It was my first Self Help book ever. Before that, I barely knew it existed. And yet it made me realise how imperfect I was – not that I thought I was perfect, quite the opposite actually, but I was not aware of all those things I could improve, and I didn’t know that they could be changed. Ten years later, I got to read The Power Of Now, and I found out that my own self talk was pretty destructive and that I needed to act upon it.
For most of us, entering the world of Personal Development will help us uncover many problems in our behaviour and our mental state that we consciously or unconsciously always ignored until now. Many people will never admit their own flaws based on the misconceived idea that they can’t change anything about it … but when they get to read Self Help related content, they realize that nothing is impossible, and that they can change themselves if they really want to.
Now it’s Your Turn – Ask Yourself The Right Questions
The bottom line here is that anybody can benefit from some Personal Growth teaching. You don’t need to be more spiritual than the average, nor more aware of your own shortcomings. Nor do you need to be unhappy. Yes, even YOU, behind YOUR screen, you could learn something.
So, soften up your own beliefs, lower the volume of the little voice in your head and ask yourself the following questions (no lies allowed, you are talking to yourself here, so this is very important):
- Am I completely happy with my life? Even on a Tuesday at 9am when I go to work?
- Do I get often angry? Jealous? Stressed?
- If I could change something in my life just snapping my fingers, what would that be?
- If I could change a character trait of mine just snapping my fingers; what would that be?
- Am I the person I’ve always wanted to be?
- Do I consider myself a fairly positive person?
The bad news is that you are now aware of the flaws in your life, the good news is that there are many resources available to start the necessary changes in your life. My blog is one of them, but as I said, there are many others.
Let me know in the comment section what made YOU decide you wanted to improve your life and which aspect YOU decided to improve. If you disagree with my ideas, please say so, and I’ll be happy to exchange my views with you on this subject.
PS : whether this is completely new to you or you have already been into Personal Growth for quite some time, you should definitely check The Lifestyle Facts blog. The author there does a great job of giving you tips on how to improve concrete aspects of your life, be it health, mindfulness or positive thinking. A must-read. Plus a very surprising and attractive design.