Once you stop growing, that is when you start dying. Each day, you either become an improved version of yourself, or you take steps backwards and regress to a prior state. We don’t really see these changes throughout each day we live. Instead, we notice subtleties within weeks, change within months and results within years. These are either for the better or the worse.
So how do we become better versions of ourselves?
The answer is simple. Yet with all things that are simple in life, it is also simple not to do. It’s kind of like brushing your teeth and flossing every day. Some people do it and have pearly white teeth, while others may have dental complications.
First, we need to take care of our basic needs. This includes our philosophy and our health. I recommend these 11 steps:
1. Get 8 hours of sleep a day.
2. Eat (at least) two meals a day.
3. Stop living in the past or the future.
4. Live in the moment. Take time to appreciate what is around you.
5. Have an attitude of abundance.
6. Think of all the things you are grateful for every morning.
7. Let the people of whom you are grateful to have know that you are grateful to have them in your life.
8. Forgive everyone of whom wronged you. You don’t have to let them know you forgive them. Just forgive them internally.
9. Volunteer to help others. Expand that abundant mind set.
10. Exercise. Walk like 15 minutes a day.
11. Eliminate any and all expectations. Without expectations, there is no disappointment.
By doing this alone, you will inevitably become a better version of yourself. However, what it seems like we are looking for here is how to improve skill set.
So here, we need to figure out what we want to improve, then create a game plan behind through these 9 steps.
1. Take a look at yourself. Examine your weaknesses and strengths.
2. Write down your flaws. Write down your strengths.
3. Sort through the data. Figure out which skills you wish to improve upon, which you want to maintain and which skills that come naturally.
4. Create a plan of action. Whether it be studying code, reading about the subject on how to improve or repeating something to yourself until you get it down, create your plan.
5. Practice daily. Practice to improve upon your insecurities. Practice until you feel that you are decent at what you are doing.
6. Take risks. Attempt to move out of the act of practicing and start acting upon your skill set. If you want to be a better writer, start posting on a blog or on Quora. If you want to be a better sales person, go out and approach a few cold leads. If you want to be a better programmer, tackle code and see what you can fix or improve upon.
7. Keep studying, practicing and taking risks. Once you get the hang of things, your mind and body will adapt to the habits that you have created, while inertia and momentum will keep you in a set of continual improvement. However, as noted prior, if we stop, then we deteriorate. So continue improving.
8. Reward yourself for improvement. Whether it be buying ice cream or a soda, create a reward system for yourself when you achieve small milestones to keep yourself motivated.
9. Don’t worry about competing with others. Instead continue to improve each day. When you are in competition with yourself, you will become the best version of yourself. However, when you compete with others, you most likely will tend to experience disappointment, or even worse, a ceiling on your growth.
This is the basic outline on how to become a better version of yourself. Luckily, all it requires is two things: You + A desire to improve.
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Leonard Kim consults startups and write books. He also blogs atLeonardKim.com.