This topic is a nice segue from yesterday’s ‘Make your Bed’ theme. As I spoke about in that piece…it’s nice to make your bed, in order to 1, have a tidy bed, and 2, lead you into the rest of your day…which is shaped by the tidy bed. Well, why does it matter if your bed is made? Why does it matter if you’re building momentum throughout the day, and compounding your experiences in a positive matter? Why improve thyself?
Well, because it beats the alternatives. That is a simple and avoiding answer to the question. However, it’s actually very true and very practical to consider. So what is the alternative. You could say that the alternative is not to improve. This would be considered a static life, defined by inertia. What could be more probable though…and this would be the opposite of self improvement…would be self degradation or decay. Thinking about those options, self improvement really does beat the alternatives. Part of why I make some of the choices I make is simply because it’s better than sitting around doing nothing. If you consider exercise, not even taking into account all of the health benefits it provides, it’s simply better than sitting on the couch (not improving, static). Or, it’s better than sitting on the couch and drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana (degradation, decay).
Another way to think about this ‘beating the alternative’ idea is that…life is hard. It’s chaotic, it’s suffering. If you’re not dealing with something adverse, it’s probably right around the corner. By simply ‘keeping yourself busy’ with positive behaviors and an upward mobility, you concern yourself less with the difficulties that life delivers. You certainly don’t avoid all of the difficulties. But you mitigate them. You are stronger in the face of those challenges. And your just less aware of many of them, because you’re busy with keeping busy. This sounds uneducated and full of avoidance. That may be in a sense. It still beats the alternatives.
Beyond the idea of ‘just because’, the next step of comprehension on the topic of self improvement for me, is in a very deep and meaningful place. Let’s begin with the idea that you have a given amount of time here on the planet. Within that time, you have the potential to affect and influence a certain amount of people in a wide span of ways. You have the ability to affect this place…this environment in that given amount of time as well. And, you are allowed a beautiful and extraordinarily staggering ability to shape your very own physical body…as well as your soul. Those responsibilities are immense and far reaching. Do not take it for granted.
When you improve yourself, in a way that’s more novelty, or in a powerful and purposeful way…you truly improve the world around you. You really do make the world a better place. It spreads to your family and friends…your coworkers and boss…your social media connections, and their followers. Your potential influence is hard to comprehend especially considering our ability to reach globally, directly through the phone in our pocket. Your children model their behavior after you, your family becomes more comfortable and secure knowing that you’re moving in a positive direction, your community can look to you for help or guidance…and you can see how the interconnected webs can effectively spread throughout our planet. This is also true if you’re on a downward spiral. Your negative energy has swift and distant reaches too…except you’re adding chaos to the mix. You’re contributing to the world in a sinful, immoral, and nefarious manner. The ramifications of living this way span from bad to extremely tragic and horrifying. You don’t want to be there. You want to be making progress…improving.
This perspective, of subscribing to an upward trajectory in order to improve the world…is even your responsibility. The evolutionary path is being trodden by you and your sword. You are actually breaking the path, and setting the course for all others. You’re responsible for how others break the path…how they brandish their sword. It’s all on you.
With all of that pressure…with all of the adversity you face on top of that…you’re still able to stand tall, and continue on the path of self improvement. It’s an amazing feat. And you should be stoked as hell to be there.
I wish you the best.
Oh, and Merry Christmas!