In the previous blogpost, I shared with you some of my feelings. These feeling arose upon seeing the passing away of couple of people in my age-group and living in the same city. After I wrote that piece, I concluded that the whole purpose of being alive is self improvement.
Co-incidently, some on Quora asked me the following question – How do I improve myself? Here I share with you a few ways to improve ourselves continuously.
From my adolescent phase, I experienced a certain restlessness. Over-time I realised that it was the itch to self improvement and I have worked on it everyday ever since. I may not have become the best but I am better today than yesterday.
That’s why I am happy to come across this question. You have crossed the first step, that is to look for ways to improve yourself. Following 5 things should help you continue in this quest:
Introspect. After having realised that one needs to improve, it is important to introspect for some time everyday. This helps in finding out what to improve.
You could do this in your mind or sit with a notebook. List down all areas where you wish to improve. The improvements could be behavioural like anger/mood management or physical like a better and healthy body and so on. Introspection (in addition to practical experience) also lets you understand what motivates you as a person.
Most successful people introspect actively. One CEO of a large company, whom I know personally, keeps aside first working hour of the day only for introspection. While I do not have such luxury, I do this regularly in my personal time. I use plain silence or writing in a notebook as a tool for introspection.
Meditate. While introspection is more about inward thinking, meditation is the process of moving towards no thinking. As I explain in my book, Happiness is All We Want!, meditation or no thinking for a short period (20 to 30 minutes) everyday, is a great way to de-clutter your mind.
It helps you bounce back with energy and clarity, and be more efficient in whatever you do. Keeping time aside for introspection and meditation, though time consuming, apparently for nothing, gives you so much more time and energy to whatever you wish to do. It’s a part of your daily personal oiling and maintenance.
Set Goals. Too much time and effort is spent on running after goals that we may not really want to achieve. So sit down with a nice notebook, call it your dream book, write down whatever your dreams are. Then, write down what you need to do to achieve these dreams over next year, next 2–3 years and till 5 years.
Most importantly, what you need to do today, tomorrow, this week and this month to meet your yearly targets. This gives you a reason to go on improving yourself day after day. When you lose motivation, sit down again with your dream book.
You need to read your dream book regularly to be on track.
Celebrate. Knowing that you are improving yourself everyday, is reason enough to celebrate. Doesn’t mean that you have to binge drink to celebrate. Spending time with a friend or special someone over a salad or coffee is also great celebration. Share your journey with your well-wishers.
If you don’t have the benefit of the company of good friends or a partner, write down your achievements in a journal. Enjoying every step of this journey called life is biggest self-improvement most of us can achieve. Continuous celebration keeps you on the path to self-improvement and it doesn’t seem like all work.
Moreover, keeping celebrations for the end is the biggest flaw. Life may end any moment. When I was writing my book, I celebrated completing every page and completing every chapter without worrying about how would I find the publisher and how good the book sales would be.
Evolve. Understand that you, your surroundings, your city, your country, your world, your universe and beyond is changing every day. Nothing in this world is fixed. Hence, be flexible and open to change.
What you wrote in your diary a year back is not cast in stone. Keep revisiting your dreams and goals and keep changing them based on your experience. Agreed that some consistency is required if you wish to achieve bigger results over time but there is no need to be overly rigid.
Flexible trees whether the storm whereas the stiff ones are uprooted quickly. After completing the book, I started feeling a vacuum as far as my writing was concerned, so I transitioned to being a blogger. Having written about 75 blogs so far, in last one year or so, gives me a great kick and motivates me for writing more and better. Who knows where this road leads to?
A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.