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I’d love to tell you what to do, but I don’t really know either

What I’ve learned in my never ending quest for self improvement

Not Photoshop

Life doesn’t come with an instructional manual. In fact, it’s more like after we’re born, the factory presets get scrambled so that we have no clue how to operate. Somebody switched the language to Mandarin, put it on Australia time, and completely jacked the color balance. Welcome to earth.

1. Quick Start

As we grow up, most of us are quickly initiated into the inherent standards and biases of the society we live in. Expectations and rules of conduct are ritually repeated and ingrained into our behavior. From an evolutionary standpoint, inclusion is necessary to our survival. You either fit in with the pack or become a lone wolf, destined to struggle and eventually die.

However, more than 6,000 years of human society has changed the blueprint. Add to that the advances of the industrial revolution and our current technological boom, and you no longer need to conform to societal norms to successfully survive. On the contrary, free thinkers and innovators have been the driver of progress for centuries.

That doesn’t stop the average person from seeking acceptance and normalcy. Regardless of how much our society needs innovation and individuality, the very people who exhibit that behavior from a young age are discouraged and sometimes punished.

2. Basic Guide

The average member of society performs at an average level. A lot of this is rooted in complacency, but a great deal can also be attributed to a subconscious fear of not fitting in. Nerds get bullied, and the weird kids are outcasts who don’t get laid until they’re 40, right? At least that’s the story we’re given.

The real problem with that narrative is that it completely ignores the long term effect of holding back your potential. When you never allow yourself to reach peak performance, you exist in a type of stasis. Like a butterfly that never leaves the chrysalis. Think butterflies are girly? Let’s see you dissolve into goo and reform your body.

So what is one to do? First thing is to stop measuring your worth based on the opinions of others. It’s an early step to busting through that cocoon and existing as the person you are meant to be. As long as you are caught up in attributing your value based on your popularity, you will NEVER be true to your inner voice. Get those bullshit opinions out of your head right now.

3. Menu Operations

I can’t tell you the path you should be on. I can’t say whether you should mediate, or do yoga, or be a kick boxer, or the next iron chef. I just know that whatever is in your heart is worth pursuing. Be practical in your execution, and don’t act purely from emotion and passion, but follow what is in your heart and makes you happy.

There are near countless ways to pursue a life of meaning, but there is a common thread through all of them. In order to live a satisfying and meaningful life, you must be kind to others and give of yourself as much as you can. Give when people don’t ask. Give when you don’t want to. Give every single time you know it’s the right thing to do, because there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.

The way to become the person you want to be is to define that person and then make them your role model. It’s that simple, and that complex. Read. Study. Learn. Follow the people you admire. Practice. Be patient.

4. Troubleshooting

On your road to self improvement, there are going to be endless obstacles. There will be situations holding you back, and people, oh god the people. Sometimes it’s not their fault. There’s no malice in their actions, they just can’t see the wider picture that includes your personal greatness, or their own for that matter. It will be one roadblock after another. Overcoming them is necessary and often difficult, but eventually it becomes a game.

Anytime you are in a tough situation, ask yourself a couple questions. Is this moving you toward your goals? Is your action/inaction hurting anyone? You know what those answers should be. It won’t always be easy, and sometimes finding the answers to those questions is more like calculating logarithms than simple addition. You will make mistakes. There will be tears. In those trials come the hard lessons that give you wisdom and allow the growth necessary to move you along.

I’ve found that I like to have input and discussion around the concepts of motivation self improvement. If you are also that type of person, I have a facebook group dedicated to that very subject. You can find it by searching for “Unstoppable” in groups. Request to join. Come participate and find other people who have decided to take the journey of living to their potential.

Or don’t. No skin off my teeth. Just be sure that you are seeking that growth in whatever way works for you. You owe it to yourself, and to humanity.

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