In another post I wrote a little about the problems with self-improvement media. Here I want to share a couple of things I’ve stumbled upon from my own experience.
Looking back it’s easier to see what’s worked and what hasn’t. Hindsight is like that: a sometimes perceived unfair, but necessary teacher. There’s no getting around it. Humans are animals of life experiences, not solely of analysis alone.
Two things stick out when I look back. They compliment each other nicely and seamlessly – think synergy (sorry for the blatant corporate speak, but it fits well here).
Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Thinking, researching, and analyzing only go so far. Too much and we become restless, frustrated, and eventually we can fall into depression with a healthy dose of anxiety. An article about idleness I recently read sums up these negative habits quite nicely.
Yes, plans are necessary and research is necessary, but the best made plans without action only leads to well, nothing. You become a great planner and start building on a healthy dose of idleness. Hardly the path to self-improvement.
I, like so many others, am prone to this. It’s just human nature to seek comfort. I’ve had periods of my life where I was in extremely high tempo situations and then I felt like I needed a break. This roller coaster cycle is easy to tolerate since long term idleness isn’t a threat. It’s when I have longer-than-anticipated periods of “just not much going on” that I get anxious. Unemployment, pandemics, or any other crazy, unexpected episodes make us all at risk.
How do you start action? One way to do this is to go for the low hanging fruit. Get up and do something — anything. Make a short chores list, de-clutter something, exercise for 15 minutes, or choose one thing you’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Find a way to put your plans down and act.
Focus on others
Focusing your attention on helping others and action can be combined to make a very powerful force for real self-improvement. Ironically helping others is one of the most effective ways to improve your life. Think of the last time you truly helped someone significantly. How did you feel after?
On my other blog I absolutely love getting messages from others about how some of my fitness programs have helped them with real change. I also love getting questions about training, nutrition, and motivation. I don’t charge a fee or anything, I just like helping. I’ll feel so good about it that it centers me a bit and lets me know that all my work is worth something real.
Try helping others now. Open yourself to others’ questions about things your good at. Offer a hand to someone out of the blue like helping move furniture, painting, or cleaning out a room, closet, or storage unit. No matter what it is, say yes and just be there to help.
This will take your attention off of you and put it on someone who needs a hand. You’ll go from self-centered, self-focused, and self-help to selflessness, outwardly focused, and build life-changing character. You can’t beat that.
After all the books, videos, and courses is simply selfless action real self-improvement?
What about you? Do you have any special methods to muster action and help others?