The Heart Of Self Improvement
Before discussing what I personally feel to be The Heart of Self Improvement, let me get something out of the way which is ultimately related to this matter, even though it might not be immediately obvious why.
Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where just ONE sentence or ONE scene made the entire effort of reading that book or watching that movie completely worth it, regardless of whether or not anything else did?
It's magical when this happens.
In my experience though, what's most magical about these brief occurrences is that you never know when to expect them and occasionally you don't even realize at the time that that 'something given to you' is so incredible until you later find you can't shake the thought of the memory of that 'whatever it was'... whether it was a profound line of dialogue or a totally new way of looking at an old cliché or something else entirely. That one little 'thing' becomes huge in your mind and, as a result, you may never forget it and sometimes it even influences the very core of your thinking process.
Here's where I'm going with this, however...
A few years back I watched a TED videoclip where a journalist (AJ Jacobs) spoke about how he immerses himself in his work, seeing his life as a 'series of experiments'. One such experiment involved his having to be continuously grateful for everything in his life. In doing this, he realized his behaviour changed his thoughts, even though it is commonly believed to be the other way around.
I love this idea!
AJ Jacobs speaks of how his having to be consciously grateful to ALL that ran smoothly in his life (no matter how big or small these events might have been) made him cognizant of 'the hundreds of little things that go right every day' as opposed to the three or four things that don't.
To me, this makes so much sense because - in regards specifically to my own life - I've always smiled a great deal, so much so that people often ask me why I'm always happy.
Firstly, I'm not always happy. I am generally more happy though, for more of the time, than most people I know. This, however, is not only because 'I'm happy and therefore I smile' but also because 'I smile and therefore I'm happy.'
In short: 'How we think influences our behaviour' (obviously) but also 'how we behave influences our thinking'.
Our body listens to our mind, but our mind also listens to our body.
This is important to know!
Questioning and analysing your motives and actions is vital for self improvement, I believe, BUT there are many who simply live their lives without ever digging deeply into their psyche, and they happen to be incredibly well-adjusted nonetheless merely because 'that's JUST how they've always been'.
So whether you become a mentally well-adjusted person through a conscious effort or through a totally unconscious effort, if the end result is the same, then perhaps both paths are valid enough roads in attaining a strong sense of mental health.
In my own life, I now personally choose to travel both roads where and when I can: I act in such a way that my body listens to my mind, but I also act in such a way that my mind listens to my body.
For instance, if I'm in a situation that makes me nervous, I'll calm myself down with thoughts of my own unique strengths and abilities (and the body listens to the mind as a result, so becomes physically calmer) but I also consciously relax my breathing as though I'm absolutely fine and dandy (and the mind listens to the body as a result, so becomes mentally calmer).
And now... the MAIN point of this article:
After Googling 'the heart of self improvement', almost every site I came across had the same copied and pasted information stating that MOTIVATION is The Heart of Self Improvement.
I disagree with this.
I disagree with this because I regard the 'heart' of something to be 'the most important thing' and sometimes (usually) it's the first important step in the process.
Keeping yourself motivated is thoroughly important, yes, but how do you do that exactly?
You keep yourself motivated by staying positive, therefore 'staying positive' is more important than motivation, I think.
But how do you stay positive exactly?
If you can't find any reasons to be optimistic about yourself and your life (if you can't find reasons for your mind to tell your body how to behave, in other words), then simply act as though you are already an immensely positive individual (make your mind listen to your body instead) and soon you WILL be more positive. I can't guarantee it, but I can guarantee I'll be incredibly surprised if I'm wrong.
By simply walking with a confident attitude in your step, by simply smiling as though nothing can bring you down, by simply speaking with words that drip optimism, your mind WILL eventually follow in turn, and it most likely won't take that long before it does. And on the very off chance it doesn't, you will at least lose nothing in the process.
But ACTING and THINKING positively isn't enough.
Here's what I would say 'the heart of self improvement' is, if it truly is any one thing at all.
I'll say it again for emphasis, or just in case you missed it the first time around.
And I'll say it once more, just so you know how truly important I regard this word as being.
If you don't know where to start in improving your life, then simply make the habit of introducing a positive mindset and positive 'bodyset' into your day-to-day existence. The rest will follow from there. As examples of what you could do...
* Put a note on your ceiling, that you'll see when you wake up every morning, stating something along the lines of 'Stay Positive, You Amazingly Amazing Thing You!!!'
* Write a diary, where at the end of every day you fill in 10 reasons why the day was good, if not exceptionally good
* Carry a mirror in your pocket, and every hour look at yourself and just smile. Maybe even follow that with a wink. You should consider only doing this when nobody is looking your way though
Do WHATEVER might get you into the HABIT of being or staying POSITIVE, then stick to it until it's merely a natural way of 'being' for you. And at that point, staying motivated shouldn't be an issue.
Simple as that!
However, if your brain does require at least one logical reason for why you should 'just be positive', then here's something that will definitely work not only for you, but for everyone else too...
Being and staying positive is to your benefit because it's better than being and staying negative.
Hopefully you weren't expecting anything more profound or complicated than that because not only ARE the best things in life free, but the best ways of living your life, where you can achieve a maximum sense of internal happiness, are usually 'simply applied techniques' that you simply have to apply.
Good HABITS... The heart of self improvement!
OTHER RECOMMENDED ARTICLES
* Self Improvement Made Easy
* Self Improvement Tips
* Self Improvement Gyming
* Self Hypnosis
* Character Defects
To return to the main Mental Health Articles page, CLICK HERE.
To return to the Homepage, CLICK HERE.