I don’t think there is someone out there who doesn’t want to improve in some way. Even if you are very competent in a specific field, you can always get better.
This procedure of improving yourself never stops, even if you are the best. Will Steph Curry ever stop training his shots? I don’t think so!
So you want to get better in some aspects of your life. Maybe it’s your work or social skills, your relationship, your fitness or whatever.
Improvement is a mindset, is a way of living and behaving. If you have the right mindset, you can improve anything.
But first things first.
Realizing the need for improvement
The human species is a very competitive one. We want to get better and also be better than the others. There are the mechanisms of evolution that have instilled in us this tendency for improvement. Evolution is all about getting better after all.
But being better than the others is a “dark” motive. It doesn’t lead to a constant growth. I am sure you know many people who reach the top and then stopped improving themselves because they thought there was no need anymore. But here is the catch. If you don’t get better, you get worse. There is no middle state.
My point is that the motives for improving yourself should be all about you. If you only compare with yourself and this need for improvement coming from deep within you, then you are on a good track.
But how this will for improvement wakes up? According to my experience and every person I have asked this question, the answer was simple and unanimous.
When you fail, you instantly realize that you are not good enough. You don’t have what it takes to reach your goals.
So what are you going to do? You can cry like a little baby, you can quit, you can blame it on others or bad luck. But you can also see failure as a valuable lesson that will teach you how to improve further in order to succeed next time.
Yeah, failure feels bad but there is no better way to realize the need to improve yourself and what exactly needs improvement.
The Improvement Mindset
The Improvement Mindset is a set of rules you have to keep in your mind at all times in order to apply them in your daily life.
1. Take responsibility for everything that happens in your life, good or bad.
When things go bad in your life, take the responsibility. Maybe someone else made a huge mistake or was unfair to you, but you probably made a mistake too or you could have avoided it with better decisions. In any case, it doesn’t help if you credit your failures to someone else’s mistakes. Use failure as an opportunity to learn yourself better, find your weaknesses, figure out how to make better decisions and which persons deserve your trust.
2. Be always open to learning new things.
Knowledge is never-ending. It’s not possible to know everything in a certain field, so keep in mind that you can always learn something new to expand your knowledge or understanding.
3. Accept criticism as valuable feedback.
Sure, sometimes criticism is unfair and “haters gonna hate”, but try to examine carefully and as objectively as possible if there is some truth in what your critics say. Our enemies in their effort to hurt us, discover our weak spots and reveal them to us. That’s pure gold! And oddly enough, that’s something friends, in their effort not to make us sad, never do. If you don’t know you suck in something, you can’t improve it!
4. Be humble, you can learn anything from anyone.
You can literally learn from anyone and anything. The biggest lessons come from unexpected sources. You can realize invaluable life lessons from a little child, like simplicity. You can use martial arts teachings and mentality to your 9 to 5 job. You can learn cooperation from bees and humility from elephants. Everything in this world is able to teach you something by its positive or negative example.
5. Don’t punish yourself for mistakes.
You have every right to make mistakes, but then you have the obligation to improve. Observe your actions as if it was someone else’s. Don’t judge too hard, don’t get emotional. Just watch. Find out why you made that mistake and how to avoid it in the future and move on.
6. If it’s not hard, it’s not worth it.
Let’s not fool ourselves. Change is painful. Running uphill is exhausting. You have to push yourself hard so that your new and better self be born. But the only way is up. All the things that are worthy are (and should be) hard to get.
Practical ways to implement in your everyday routine
OK, you got the previous rules in mind but there is something else missing. Something of great importance. If you have read my previous articles, then you already know that the essence of every theory is to apply it. So what’s missing?
Some practical ways to implement the Improvement Mindset in your daily routine, so you can actually start getting better.
I have some suggestions that worked for me, but if you do have the Improvement Mindset, then you can surely find extra ways that suit you better.
1. Keep learning through reading books, attending seminars/webinars, watching the latest news in your field etc
2. Use a journal to review your actions and decisions on a daily basis. Self-reflection precedes self-improvement.
3. Focus on improving no more than 2-3 things at the same time. Improvement requires a lot of effort from you and you just can’t do it if you are all over the place.
4. Schedule time for improvement in your day. If there is no time scheduled, then it will not happen.
The Philoso-pill to Take
I will say it again. There is no such thing as staying the same. We either get better or we get worse.
Constantly improving ourselves should be a priority because being better and making wiser decisions will improve our lives as a whole.
Always keep in mind the Improvement Mindset and don’t forget to find practical ways to make self-improvement happen on a daily basis.
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