If you’re not becoming a better version of yourself, you’re not growing. If you’re not growing, you’re not becoming smarter, or a better human.
Winston Churchill once said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
How much have you changed in the past 12 months? What new challenges have you embraced in the last 6 months? What books have you read that have completely upgraded your mental models? What actions are you taking today to become smarter than you were this time last year?
No matter how much you develop the necessary skills to improve any given aspect of your life, you can always improve and get better.
There is no single book, method, person or tool that can bring you to perfection in any area of your life. But you can explore, experience and do more of what brings out the best in you.
“Those who keep learning will keep rising in life,” says Charlie Munger
Getting better and improving yourself is a life-long process. These ideas can have a significant impact on your life and career now and in the future.
1. Take a keen interest in thought-provoking posts
The likes of Brain Pickings (insightful long-form posts on life, art, science, design, history, philosophy, and more) can expand your scope on different subjects.
If you can’t commit to long-form posts, find useful audiobooks instead. Relevant audiobooks or podcasts are some of the greatest self-improvement and personal transformational technology tools in the world.
2. Embrace self and life learning
This is one of the most underrated virtues and a prerequisite for mental health. And it doesn’t have to be a new language, or a musical instrument if you don’t have the time.
New words, games. ideas, philosophies etc. can have a huge impact. These intellectually stimulating sites can challenge your current mindsets and world-views.
3. Question your existing mindset
When was the last time you questioned the existing convention, conceptualized problems differently, approached problems in a new or innovative way? It’s about time you figured out what could be improved, challenged, done different, done with less effort to achieve more.
Start questioning everything. Consider everything. Go through every possibility until you know for a fact it can or cannot be done.
4. Get to know yourself better
How well do you know yourself? Knowing yourself means understanding your strengths and weaknesses, your passions and fears, your desires and dreams. It’s an important step to achieving happiness.
Learning more about your feelings, emotions, desires and actions gain deeper self-awareness to relate better with others.
5. Take a course on a subject you are curious about
It will force you to expand your world view on different topics that could be of importance in the future. Take courses that strengthen what you already know or increase your efficiency. The right course can have a huge impact on your knowledge, skills and confidence.
6. By all means, feed your curiosity
Curiosity allows us to question conventional wisdom, whether it is sane or not, right or not, good or bad, moral or unethical, useful or garbage. Without curiosity, you avoid challenges, growth and new experiences.
7. Sort out your thoughts for mental clarity
Take time to think through ideas, projects or your interests and enjoy the peace that comes with just doing nothing for a short period of time.
Try thought experiments — a classic tool used by many great thinkers. They allow for complex situations to be explored and questioned.
8. Feed your focus and starve your distractions
Learn how to turn off the distractions of social media and focus on what matters most to you. You’ll instantly be ahead of a majority of your generation.
9. Take an interest in psychology
Psychology helps us analyze our thoughts and actions, and helps us understand our own motivations. If you want to improve, you must first be capable of looking at yourself from an objective point of view, from outside yourself.
10. Work on your habits constantly
Our ability to improve is largely determined by our habits. Our habits influence the way we respond to any given situation, and ultimately they define how efficient we can become.
11. Travel. Explore. Experiment.
The more things you will explore more experience you will have. And these experiences will cherish you, in future. So earn them, before it is too late. Do not be afraid to take risks.
12. Pick up a movement habit
Find something you can do through the years (brisk walking, yoga, mild stretches, cycling, jogging etc.) or your sedentary academic lifestyle will do horrible things to your posture, back, gut and brain. Your brain health depends on it.
13. Be prepared for the unexpected
Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans. It may not necessarily be unpleasant or bad but even if it is, try to handle it in the best possible manner.
14. Keep improving in the field you are best at
Focus on what fascinates you most. The more you know about the topics that are close to your heart, the more you will be able to benefit from it in the future. Choose yourself and develop that passion today.
15. Balance in life is essential
Don’t overdo. Don’t neglect. Like when playing a stringed instrument, the string must not be too loose or you don’t get any music from it. If it’s too tight, it can break. When just right, it can be the source of magnificent music.
Balance is the key: rest and activity; diving deep within and plunging into activity. Swing between silence and dynamism, rest and activity. All should be there, all in proper balance.
16. Challenge yourself, and you will grow
Learning a new topic will not only teach you a new set of facts and figures, it will teach you a new way of looking at and making sense of aspects of your everyday life or of the society or your business.You should be willing to take new perspectives to day-to-day work.
17. Learn to change your mind when it matters
If you can learn to change your mind with new evidence, you’ll become open-minded and find new ways to create value, live better, and make smart decisions.
Instead of believing there is only a single path to life or career success, explore other ideas that can get you to the same place faster, easier and quicker. Keep measuring what works and what doesn’t. Don’t get trapped in a single mindset.
18. Start reading outside your scope
Read a business magazine, journal or blog in an industry other than your own, or grab a few ebooks from other close niches that teaches how tasks or business processes are accomplished in that sector. You could apply some of those ideas in your recent strategy.
Try reading something you’d never have touched otherwise — if you read literary fiction, try a mystery or science fiction novel; if you read a lot of hard-boiled detective novels, try a mystery novel. Business readers could try reading outside business books and blogs.