Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The hard truths of self improvement

Self improvement, personnel growth or finding your place in the world whatever you call it there are some hard truths we must face when we strive to make conscious changes in our lives. These hard truths force us to question our goals and to push aside the things we want for ourselves. They make us stop and question if the effort is worth it and can cause us to never begin the processes of change in the first place. In our journey to who we want to be these are the fallen trees in out path. By being aware of the obstacles in our way we can make a plan for dealing with them.

Hard truth #1: Change takes time. This is a simple thing to say but easy to forget. We are so encultured to want things to happen now and receive instant gratification. Because of this when our efforts do not show immediate results it is easy to discard the work we have done. We say to ourselves that what we are doing is not working and start trying something else. After trying three or four different things without results we give up feeling that we can't change and that we will always be the way we are.

When you feel this way remember, instant gratification is for candy bars and one night stands. These small bursts of instant pleasure come with consequence that far outweigh the moment of passion. Personnel growth is hard work and hard work takes time. There is no way around it so we must acknowledge the fact and make the effort to change.

Hard truth #2: We fear failing. It is often the threat of failure that stops us from even beginning to change. We may want to, we may need to but if we fear failure more then we value success we will not start. When we fail it reinforces the negative aspects of our own self image. Failure will happen to us all at one point or another important thing is to let it be a stumble rather than a fatal fall. Over at studdy hackes Cal Newport has some thoughts about keeping an exercise routine going but his ideas can be put to any area of self improvement.

But when we mess up and miss some days — which is inevitable — things snowball. Our short-term self argues with our long-term self that because we’ve messed up a little bit, it’s game over, and we can now default to eating poorly and stop exercising altogether.

Hard truth #3: We doubt ourselves. We wonder if the goals we have set for ourselves are relay the life we want. We worry that we will not be able to handle the success we are trying to achieve. The only way to overcome this doubt is to be honest with our selves. Have we chosen a path that is true to our values, dreams, commitments and passions? If we have then we will be happy when we arrive at the end of our journey. If we do the hard work of personnel growth with open eyes and an honest look at our own faults and weakness we will be able to handle the success we are striving for.

These hard truths cannot be ignored if we want to succeed in our search for self improvement. When you are confronted with a difficult situation how do you react? What are the hard truths you face in your quest for personnel growth?


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