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11 ways to be a better you

I assume you’re not here cause you like my beautiful blue eyes (they’re brown, by the way), so my guess is that you want to improve your life, be more passionate, and ultimately, be a better you (and if not, why are you here?). That’s a very noble cause, especially since by improving yourself, you improve the world.

But where to look? Maybe you’ve been at it for years and came to a stall, not knowing what to do next, or maybe you just made the decision (congrats!), and don’t know where to start.

In both cases, it is time to get back to the beginnings.

Are you a good you?

I’m not asking whether you’re good or evil, but whether you make a good representation for who you really are.

If you’re a salesman for GM, and when nobody’s looking, all you want is drive a Toyota, you’re not being congruent with yourself.

Getting to the foundations

It’s not so much about what you desire than it is about uncovering the diamond inside you, polishing it, and allowing it to shine.

Follow these steps and I guarantee you’ll be a better you (or you get your money back!)

1. Be open to change

The first thing to do if you want to be better, is accepting change. Change within yourself, but also change outside, in the environment, the people around you. If you don’t allow them to change, how are you going to allow yourself to change?

2. Reevaluate everything

What are you (too) used to? You’ve been doing lots of the same things for years, are you willing to reevaluate them?

That could be your relationship with your parents, your partner, your beliefs, religious, social, financial, anything that you take for granted, ask “why?” over and over again, until you get to the root of the belief. Once you are there, accept it for what it is: a construct, and decide whether it serves you enough to keep it.

3. Help someone you know

Help someone you don’t usually help, someone that you know could use a hand. Simply pick up the phone or walk up to them, and say “Hi, I know that you’re struggling a bit with _____ and I’d like to offer my help”. Don’t force the help, and don’t do it for a reward (even though it’ll come), you’ll remember how good it feels to help.

4. Help someone you don’t know

This one is easy and difficult at the same time, and there are different ways to go with it.

You could help an old lady carrying her groceries to her car, or offer a genuine compliment to a waiter, a salesman who helped you, or simply someone on the street or at work who looks like they could use something to cheer them up.

If that’s too difficult for you because you can’t see anyone you could help, look closer, if you’re too shy, go to your local charity and ask what you can do to help, they’ll give you a structure.

5. Tell people you care (about them)

When was the last time you told your friends and family you cared about them? It’s easy sometimes to take people for granted, especially the ones close to us. But every once in a while I tell my friends that I appreciate seeing them and having them around. If anything, it’ll remind you that you do care.

6. Try something new

Look at some activity that you’ve never tried before, and go on a ride. Open your eyes and look at every thing that the pro take for granted, but that is new for you, it will help you to recognize and reevaluate the patterns you follow, as well as simply discover something.

7. Try something old

Do something you used to do, as if it was the first time: discover everything again, how it works, how it feels, what you like and dislike about it. You’ll get a better understanding of who you are, how you function, and why you do what you do.

8. Ask people what they’d change about you

Now, it’s tricky, you should ask someone you trust, and when you have an honest answer, accept it for what it is: a perfectly valid view of what you are to people. Then ask yourself whether it resonates with you. If yes, come up with a way to change that trait about you. If no, put it in a corner of your mind for later reevaluation, maybe it’s not time.

9. Express what you want

Don’t expect people, and that includes your significant other as well as your friends and boss, to guess what you want. There’s no use in being hurt or mad at people who you think should know what you want. Just tell them, and don’t forget to mention why they should give you exactly that, or you might never get it.

10. Do what you want

If there is something you want but haven’t been doing for whatever reason, you can be truer to yourself and take the first step towards doing it. Even better if you can, simply go forward all the way and do it. That will make you more congruent with who you are, so you’ll be a better you.

11. Share

Put below in the comment what’s your favorite way to become a better you, others will be grateful for it.

You’re right, you’re gonna fail.

Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.
Henry Ford

Have you ever heard someone complaining about an activity, a new sport, a contest, or anything that they might fail, and say “What’s the point? I’m not good enough” or any variant of “I can’t do it”?

Yeah, me too.

When that happens, I feel like I’m gonna explode, jump and grab them, then shake their poor body until they stop saying such stupid things.

We are what we think

The brain (and the universe) will do whatever it can to bring you what you expect. If you expect to fail, it will bring you failure, because this is what you wished for. If you expect success, and do whatever is necessary to make it so, it will give its best to accomplish your desire.

If you want to succeed, think like a successful person. Of course, there is never, ever, a guarantee of results, but I assure you that the journey itself is completely different.

Do you honestly believe that the people who complain all the time and never miss an opportunity to tell everyone they’re going to fail actually want to succeed?

They want comfort, and to be allowed to fail

There are basically three reasons people set themselves up for failure:

  • They want encouragement, they want to be told that they’re wrong, that they will succeed. Basically they want others to make them feel better about themselves.
  • They want to be allowed to fail. When they say they’re gonna fail, they try to remove expectations from other people, because they don’t feel like they can handle them, they don’t want the risk of disappointing their family and friends. They want to make sure it’s alright to fail.
  • They want to be comfortable, and right. They want to be able to say “yeah, well, I told you I couldn’t do it”, so they’d rather fail as a rule than own and assume responsibility for their own outcomes.

Change your outlook

In any case, you don’t know for sure whether you’re going to fail or succeed. So saying “I’m gonna succeed” is no less true than “I’m gonna fail”, and it is much more encouraging.

Besides, if someone tells you they’re no good at anything, are going to fail, who are you to question them? When we meet someone and we perceive that “failure vibe”, we trust them to.. fail. After all, they know better than we do. And then starts a vicious circle, if you complain and set for failure, you won’t get the social support and friends that could help you succeed. Whereas if you are determined to succeed, the people around you will do their best to help you.

Yes, “blindly” aiming for success means you risk disappointment.

But not only is the path itself much more pleasant, it’s also much more satisfying in the long term to set for succes even if you fail than set for failure and meet your expectation.

Don’t you agree?

Why clarity is your best ally on the road to success

The Strong Clouds
Creative Commons License photo credit: dobrych

Is everything clear?

Have you ever felt like something wasn’t right, without being able to point out what it is or why it’s giving you this feeling?

It might be your career, your personal life or simply the number of items on that damn new restaurant menu.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything just made perfect sense? No wondering, no hesitation, just the feeling of knowing…

Would you like some clarity on the side?

Having clarity means knowing what your current situation is, what you’d like it be to, how they differ, but most importantly, how to close the gap and achieve what you want.

If you know where you want to go, and how to get there, congratulations! You can stop reading now. Otherwise, stay with me.

“I had the perfect plan!”

Awesome! Me too! It involved me being rich and famous (basically ruling the world) by 25. Hasn’t happened yet. Nor do I still want it to happen, mind you, but I digress.

If life always went according to plan, it’d be way easier, or at least, more comfortable. Unfortunality for our controling nature, life rarely goes according to (our) plan.

All the unexpected events and unforeseen consequences in your life slowly changed the picture. But worse, most of the time, they don’t actually brag about it, so you might not realize that the circumstances have changed until way later. That creates confusion, not only about the present situation, but also about the future: what’s ahead and what’s possible (or not). If you’re in your forties but still dream about competing in the Olympics, sorry to destroy your dreams: never gonna happen.

Maybe it’s time to move on and shop for some new goals.

Focus on why, not how

Imagine you go to the store to get a dishwasher. After a few minutes wandering around, you find yourself in front of a list of all the characteristics of the machine: speed, capacity, eco-friendliness, price, etc. And while these informations may give you some idea of how that particular piece of machinery will behave, it is easy to get caught up in all the details and forget why you wanted it in the first place: to help you reduce your burden, save time, and enjoy more of the rest.

Whether you’re looking for a dishwasher or a job doesn’t actually matter, if you have enough clarity to know what you want and why you want it, you’ll know how to choose the right match for your goals and the life you want. Besides, you’ll be less prone to influences from third parties, who have their own goals, which quite often conflict with yours.

Doing or buying one thing because that’s what your peers expect is not a good enough reason to act. Knowing why you’re doing something is the only way to be invested in it while going forward.

When you are confused, your mind is reluctant to go forward and take any action. The best first step to get unstuck on your path, is to get more clarity.

“Naah, it’s fine, I’ll just figure it out while going along”

Seriously? Is that your answer or the fear talking?

Do you know where you current path leads?

Do you know where you want to go?

If both destinations are the same, great, you can simply act as usual and continue on your current path. But if the answers are not clear, or are inconsistent, you need to ask why. What on your path is not aligned with who you are and where you want to go? How can you change it?

Having clarity means you:

  • know where you are, what are the paths available to you, and what they entail
  • understand why you’re doing what you’re doing
  • are motivated to act and go forward because you know exactly what you’ll get
  • can decide in an instant what to do because everything is clear in your mind
  • are less stressed by everything that goes in your way because you can process them easily and effectively
  • know what you need to go forward, and are less hesitant to ask for it

I see no reason not to want that (but if you do, please share in the comments!).

Gain more clarity

It is very difficult to get more clarity when overwhelmed with things and thoughts. Past a certain point, you need, at the very least, a wall to bounce things off. Here are a few things to get you started on the road to clarity:

  • put your thoughts on paper, see where they go
  • draw a mind map of your situation
  • ask a trusted friend and exchange with her your thoughts about your condition
  • try new things: a cooking class, a new sport
  • go for a walk in an unknown place.

Getting a new frame of reference will help you gain more perspective.

A life of uncertainty

If you’ve been tolerating something that’s not right for you for months or years, you’ll probably struggle to even acknowledge that you don’t need nor want that thing in your life. It’s easier to  make excuses than to challenge one’s whole life, it’s easier to tolerate and say “it’s not that bad”.

But it is.

Take any given situation in your life and ask yourself–“why?”  Is it giving you what you want?  If not, then why not? What can you change in your life to get what you want? Does your current environment support you in your goals? If not, why don’t you drop it?

Do you need help? Do you want help? Would you be willing to use it? Or would you rather listen carefully and then do nothing?

If you’re not ready to try anything different, acknowledge your fear, and deal with it before asking again. But if you’re curious enough and want to actually try, go for it!

Connections create clarity

Sometimes you can’t do it on your own. There’s no shame in that, on the contrary, knowing when to ask for help and actually doing it is a sign of wisdom and courage. The smartest guy in town is the one who populates his entourage with people more competent (or specialized) than he is.

Look for help, ask for help. Meet with a friend, a counselor, a priest, a coach, a mentor, read a book, watch a documentary, or a fiction. Whoever and whatever can help you get more acquainted with your situation and go forward.

Clarity is one of the most important tool when you want to be conscious about your choices and your life. It’s also one of the most overlooked. Too bad, because it’s very easy to know when you need it: in case of doubt, seek more clarity.

What do you need more clarity on today?