You’re lying on your back…dying at the bottom of a mountain.
The last visions of your life are that of a tall mountain peak, far up in the heavens.
You need sustenance and the only food and water is “all the way up”.
You’re weak…but you decide to start climbing. The first part of the climb? Very easy. However, it starts to get progressively harder.
Thoughts of giving up cross your mind many times but you realize that if you do, you will surely die. You can’t give up, not now. You’ve come too far.
With eventual climbing and struggling, you manage to ascend to the peak of the mountain. The view is euphoric. And of course, the food and water is to die for.
Beyond being a cute metaphor, this is pretty much what life is.
I could give you reasons why you should engage in self development and call it a day…but this transcends all of that. The overarching reason for life, for advancement is to “stand guard at the door of the Inner Citadel”. If you don’t, you life will become ruined by the outside opinions and limiting viewpoints of other people.
Life is an aggressive struggle to maintain and strengthen highly cherished ideals. Some people give up on these ideals and become “lackadaisical” for a lack of a better word. You can see it in their eyes.That flame, that spark… It’s gone. I see it every day. And it’s sad.
Here’s an even scarier fact:
Nothing stays still.
This is an irrefutable law of physics and life. You are either moving towards a higher or lower plane. This is good. In theory. However, the fact is…all things tend to degrade when neglected.
If you don’t use it, you lose it. If you don’t go to the gym, you start to lose strength. If you don’t clean the garden, the weeds take over.
The object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.
If you don’t improve yourself, you won’t stay at the same level – you’ll slowly start to downgrade.
A VERY slight edge concept…and VERY essential.
“Without vision, the people perish.”
You can’t give up on your dreams. You have to be a dreamer. You have to have a vivid imagination. You have to see the coming summer in the devastating depths of winter. If you don’t, you will find absolutely no reason to improve yourself.
“If you think trying’s hard, wait until they hand you the bill for not trying!” – Jim Rohn
Let’s say you make $40,000 a year at 25. You do not improve yourself. You don’t upgrade your skills, you don’t find a new job (or start one of your own), you’re not reading… Ten years later, you find yourself making 40,000. Except now you have kids. And a house. And a whole bunch of other bullshit to worry about.
The cycle continues – 10 years later, you’re still making $40,000 a year and you’ve got even MORE responsibilities. Plus, you’ve got inflation grinding against your hard earned dollars.
What is comfortable now will overtime become uncomfortable. What is uncomfortable now will over time become comfortable.
If you don’t try now, you will certainly have to try later. And what makes you think you’ll be better later? You’re older. You’re more beaten by life. You’ve lost more time.
Then another day will go by. And another. And another. Soon thereafter, you’ve fallen into a rhythm.
Then you find yourself at the end of your life with little to show for it. The sad part is this happens every single day. But it doesn’t have to.
Momentum is on your side!…or not.
The most powerful force in the universe is momentum. Call it “habit”, call it “slight edge”, whatever you call it, just don’t call it – inconsequential.
A giant river doesn’t appear there overnight. It starts from the smallest of trickles.
There’s people who came from foreign lands to first world countries and managed to make something great of themselves. In fact, foreign born people have a very high chance of being “successful. This is because they understand and respect the ability to improve yourself.
But you have to try.
How do we do that?
You improve yourself with the smallest, daily discipline you can think of.
Something soooo small, so seemingly insignificant that it yields no tangible results the first times you try it. But in a year, it will make all the difference.
The good news? All of your disciplines affect each other.
When you’re self controlled in one area, it will be easy to be self controlled in another.
Here’s 4 easy ways to get started to improve yourself:
1. Think long term NOW
What do you want your life to look like in a year? 5 years? 10 years? If you like the course it’s going, continue on… If you don’t like it – change it.
Think of how fast the last 5 years passed. If you don’t improve yourself now, you’ll find yourself in the same spot then as you do now. You don’t want that.
Break it down into hours. Then break it down into days. Then weeks. Then months. Then years. What you’re doing right now will have a vast ripple effect into your life for the years to come.
2. Push into your edge NOW
As Jim Rohn said, “if you think trying’s hard, wait until they hand you the bill for not trying”. You have to make consistent effort to improve yourself. Yes, you’ll tire. Yes it’s hard… but today’s the youngest you’ll ever be. You’ll never get this time and energy back.
Go the extra mile, do all you can to get whatever you need to do done. If you do, you’ll be richly compensated.
3. Get rid of bad habits NOW
Why are some people more disciplined than others? Simple. They make discipline a habit. A habit is something that’s so easy to do because it has been stored in the subconscious portion of the brain. Chances are, you have a bunch of bad habits. I have one piece of advice…
Get rid of them.
Unbundle them so they become like disconnected threads of yarn that don’t attach to anything. Create constructive habits in their place, you must replace old habits with new ones or else you’ll start to create even more bad and unconscious habits.
It takes anywhere between 30 to 66 (!) days to solidify a new habit. If you don’t keep it up every day, you’ll have to start allllll over again. Keep trying. Persistence is the key.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Want some habits/mindsets to implement? These are ten you can start with TODAY.
4. Set constructive goals NOW
Goal-setting is a hallmark of achievement. We are naturally goal striving organisms. Maxwell Maltz made this clear in Psycho-Cybernetics. You have a mechanism within you that wants to accomplish things. But you need a target.
Think of one goal that you’d like to achieve within the next couple of months and make that your “major definite purpose” and write it on a card. Carry this card with you at all times. Look at it several times a day. Soon, you will align everything you can around this goal in order to achieve it. This is one easy way to improve yourself and never forget what you’re striving for.
These are four easy ways to improve yourself. There’s a ton more that you can do but you can start with those. Your life is so short. Why not spend it seeing what you’re capable of? Why not spend it in an attempt to discover your true capabilities? It’s a ride worth going on, I’ll assure you of that.
To wrap up this entire article, I’ll leave you with this quote by the great Teddy Roosevelt.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Thanks for reading.