Ceaselessly Improve

自強不息
To ceaselessly improve oneself
羅文莊
– [calligraphy by] Luo Wenzhuang

There are so many websites that offer to help us help ourselves. Lots are designed simply to absorb money from the users, while others offer helpful advice. So much advice. Maybe too much advice some days.

Before we begin, I think it helps to establish that internet self-help and websites are actually effective in some cases. That isn’t to say that all are, or that all people are targeted by a site. It’s probably worth mentioning, if a site promises to be a “one-stop shop” for fixing everything for everyone, that’s probably a really good indicator that they’re not actually targeted to help anyone at all.

So let’s say that we actually manage to alter ourselves and make some big improvements to things that really matter. Soon, though, we find that we simply don’t have time for the big improvements.

There’s too much to do. Too little time. Too many distractions. Too many competing priorities. Life seems to get in the way. These reasons sound well and good, but (truth bomb coming) they’re all lies. The real reason you don’t plan, eat right, exercise, set goals, grow your business, and live a balanced life isn’t because you have too much to do. It’s not because you get distracted.

“It’s because you aren’t conditioned to.”Michael Mehlberg

Over time, I have found that what works for me is to become totally immersed in my own path. That makes me whatever the opposite of a “self-help guru” would be. I can offer advice, “Wake up 2 hours early and use that time for meditation, qi-gong, and a strenuous workout before breakfast every day. This way, the rest of the day will almost assuredly be easier.” This is not helpful.

The line of thought from yesterday continues: it isn’t about big changes. What will make a difference is to ride the wave of habituation to discomfort. Continual and ceaseless improvement, in small increments, will allow time to adapt to any significant change. Much like periodization in weightlifters, serious change is to be conditioned over long periods of time, with adequate time to recover and grow from the prior stressors.

Give yourself time, and be patient. With any significant change, you can in fact adapt. If you slip, be forgiving to yourself, but get back to your newfound path as soon as possible. It is consistency that will pay off. If we put it off, then “putting it off” may become the new habit.

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