“Gold cannot be pure, and people cannot be perfect.” ~ Chinese Proverb
Nobody is perfect.
But we can always improve ourselves.
Here are 50 ways to help us do so. Chances are, we won’t be able to do all 50 at once, and that’s totally fine. But we can pick at least one of these that resonates with us as a good place to start.
To start, here are some quotes on change, improving ourselves, and perfectionism—a mini crash-course, if you will, to get us warmed up:
>> “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” ~ Confucius
>> “Once you accept the fact that you’re not perfect, then you develop some confidence.” ~ Rosalynn Carter
>> “Unless I accept my faults, I will most certainly doubt my virtues.” ~ Hugh Prather
>> “We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” ~ Anthony Robbins
>> “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” ~ Aldous Huxley
So, first up, let’s start by building a good foundation.
1. Define your life purpose: This is the ultimate guide for your life.
2. Find your values: They will guide you to make decisions in life.
3. Be who you are: Don’t be “a second-rate version of someone else,” as Judy Garland said.
4. Smile: Everyone likes to see a genuine smile. Think about it: how do you feel when a complete stranger looks into your eyes and smiles?
5. Respect: Your elders. Those younger than you. Everyone. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you’d give your grandfather.
6. Be patient: Treat everyone with the same level of patience you might offer a child.
7. Be polite: Say “please” and “thank you.”
Now, let’s stretch that out to learning.
8. Read a book every day: Books are wisdom. Read more to expand your wisdom. The personal development book I will recommend is The Magic of Thinking Big.
9. Apply others’ tips to your life: Blog posts are nothing if you just read. Don’t be a self-help junkie. Read posts, take down notes, create action steps, then do those action steps! Implement the tips they give. Follow their technique for a while. Does it work for you?
10. Start a life tracker: A life tracker is a book which contains the essentials of your life. It’ll help you live life to the fullest. It’s your life’s blueprint or manual.
11. Write a letter to your future self: How does this relate to learning? Well, you will be able to learn from your present self in the future. Write your experiences, your thoughts, your feelings, your goals, your action steps, and then seal it up (or use an online service) to open on a specific date.
12. Listen: Don’t talk. It’s hard, but learning this skill will do you wonders.
And we’ll need tools to implement what we learned—skills.
13. Level up your skills: You don’t have to learn new skills to improve. You can also level up your current skills. Are you a blogger or writer? Level up your writing skills! Are you a speaker? Level up your public engagement and public speaking skills!
14. Learn a new language: You’ll be able to acquaint yourself with a new language and a new culture, and it’s a whole new mind-opening experience. Try different languages than the ones you already know and speak.
15. Pick up a new recreational hobby: What are your favourite hobbies? Now look beyond them. Is there anything new you can pick up? Sewing? Cooking? Pottery? Dancing?
16. Pick up a new sport: It doesn’t matter if you think you’re athletic. Why not try a new sport? Fencing? Golf? Rock climbing? Ice skating? Football? Bonus skill: team building!
17. Overcome your fears: What are your fears? Fear is sometimes good for us. If you have a fear, it usually represents something you’ve yet to address, and addressing it will help you grow.
18. Get out of your comfort zone: Being too comfortable won’t help you grow. What is your comfort zone (what are you comfortable doing)? Shake your routine up. Do something different.
19. See things through a different perspective: When you have to make a decision, don’t stick to your original view. There are other perspectives to consider as well.
20. Say “no”: Many of us say “yes” too often. And that’s a problem. Make saying no your new art form. Experiment with all the different ways you can decline while helping yourself.
Practicing skills help us form habits.
21. Wake up early (or late): Are you a morning person, or a night owl? Whatever you are, adjust your sleeping times. It will help you improve your productivity and the quality of your life.
22. Keep a journal and write in it (at least once a day): You can use an online journal or an offline one, a fanciful one, or just a minimalist one. It’s yours, so choose what you like. You can also journal in it once a day, or multiple times a day. The main thing here is to gain better self-awareness; you’ll be able to clarify your thought processes.
23. Reflect daily and weekly: I use my journal for my daily reflections and my life tracker for my weekly reflections. Reflecting is a good way to remember what you’ve done with your day and week.
24. Watch less TV: I haven’t watched a single second of TV for about a month, and it’s been a great experience! However, some TV programs are actually beneficial and have their own advantages. The best thing to do is limit your time.
25. Meditate daily: You might already be doing this without noticing. Closing your eyes and letting your mind rest for a while is meditating. Lying on your back not thinking about anything is meditating. You can do long guided meditations, shorter ones, or just the ones I’ve mentioned above. They all help to clear the clutter in your mind.
26. Start a 30-day challenge, monthly: Set a goal and give yourself 30 days to achieve this. Your goal can be to stick with a new habit or do something you’ve always wanted to do. Why 30 days? It’s just enough time to strategise, plan, get into action, review, and nail the goal.
27. Challenge others: Adding on to the previous point, competition is also one of the best ways to get motivated. Find a friend to do the same challenge as you and see who achieves the target first. And don’t be too competitive. Share with your friend (and vice versa) your own tips.
28. Tell the truth: Don’t lie. Even when it’s a small one and it seems like it might be more convenient.
29. Cultivate a good habit: There are too many to list. Make your own, and choose a point of focus. Develop that new habit.
30. Kick a bad habit: There are likely also too many of these for each of us to list. Pick one and take steps every day to minimize how often you indulge in this bad habit.
Habits come to be a good basis for achieving our goals.
31. Set big goals: It’s not enough to set tiny goals. Set big goals that stretch you beyond your normal capacity. Set big goals that you’ll feel absolutely at the top of the world once you achieve them. Set them, make a strategy, plan action steps, then start working on them.
32. Stay focused: With so many distractions on the Internet, you’ve gotta stay focused. Close Facebook. Close Twitter. Close your email. Close IM. Close all distractions, then start working.
33. Use to-do lists: What tasks do you want to complete today? Write them down, then start working on them. Use a medium where you feel most comfortable and most convenient. Use the computer all day? Get something on the computer. Use your phone instead? Get a phone app.
34. Identify your blind spots: Blind spots, in personal development terms, are things about ourselves we are unaware of. One method of doing this is to identify everything that triggers your emotions (annoyance, weirdness, or affectedness) in a day. These are your blind spots. Then work on steps to address them.
35. Ask for feedback: As much as you try to figure out all your blind spots, we won’t be able to find out all. Asking for feedback will give you an additional perspective.
36. Acknowledge your flaws: Everyone has flaws. Understand your flaws, acknowledge them, then address them. What are your flaws? What are the flaws you want to work on now? How are you going to address them?
37. Identify your strengths: What are your strengths? This isn’t meant to make you feel boastful. It’s meant to make you aware of your strengths so that you can “take advantage” of them while doing a project.
38. Take a break: If you’ve been working hard and long, then take a break. If you’re feeling tired, you won’t be able to produce quality work. You can take a weekly break: schedule a block of time (I recommend an hour) every week and during that time, relax, rejuvenate, and charge yourself up for what’s ahead.
39. Start a blog: By starting your own blog, you’ll be able to document your journey, and get some tips and encouragement from other people as well. You will also learn more skills, such as discipline, leadership, time management, and more.
40. Do your best every time: Excel at what you can do.
Make sure to tap into your friendships.
41. Do a random stranger a favour: You can buy the person behind you in Starbucks a free coffee. You can help the person who dropped his keys pick them up. You can help an old lady carry her bags. You’ll find that you will grow as a person when you do that.
42. Reach out to the people who hate you: Or maybe hate is a too strong word. Anyway, if you ever stand for something, you’ll have haters. Do you hate the people who hate you? It’s way more challenging to love them back, but, being able to forgive, let go, and show love to these people will do you good. Reach out to those who hate you, show them love, and seek a resolution. If they refuse to reciprocate, don’t worry. Love them all the same.
43. Say thanks: Did anyone help you in one way or another? Say thanks.
44. Learn from your friends: Everyone, including you and your friends, have amazing qualities in them. With all the friends surrounding you, there are many things you can learn from them. Think of one friend at a time, then ask yourself: what is one quality they have that I want to adopt?
45. Avoid negative people: Negative people will pull you down. Don’t spend too much time around them.
46. Learn to deal with difficult people: You just can’t avoid every single negative and difficult person, for example, at your workplace. What do you do? Learn how to deal with them.
47. Reach out to people you admire: Whether it’s a celebrity, an A-list blogger, or a smaller blogger, reach out to them. For some, you might not get a reply, but you’ve tried your best. Then follow them on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever you have, and engage in their material.
48. Over-deliver on all your promises: Slightly under-sell your capabilities at first so that you’ll be able to over-deliver later on. It’ll seem to others that you’re going habitually above and beyond the call of duty.
49. Compliment people who deserve it: Go out of your way to compliment the people who have gone out of their way to shine (see above point).
50. Share knowledge and information with others: Share your authentic self openly with others. And they will probably share those they know with you.
Now, take some time to take that all in.
A last word for today: you have to commit yourself to personal growth. Even with the 51 items on this list, if you’ve no intention to take action, it doesn’t matter what I write. Nothing is going to get through.
You’re the one who’s responsible for your own growth—not anyone else.
Now, kick off your self-improvement journey by picking one of the 50 ways above and start doing them.
What other ways can you think of? Share with me in the comments!