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Why Improvement is the Best

January 14, 2020

When I was a kid I wasn’t the best at anything.

I wasn’t the best athlete.

I wasn’t the best student.

I wasn’t the best acting kid – I was often told my brother was better.

Hell, I don’t think I was even anyone’s best friend. In fact, in the yearbook, I got “easiest to get along with”.

But what is best anyway? Like…does that mean NOBODY is better than you? Seems like a hard thing to accomplish doesn’t it? It seems a bit difficult to strive for being the best.

Me? I’ll pass on the best. It’s not my thing. Being the best just means one thing to me, no room for improvement – which is basically my nemesis because I’m obsessed with improving.

I don’t care what or who it is. I want to improve it (or her or him).

It’s not like I just think in my head gee, she could be better if she just did this. No. I take it further. I show or tell her how to. I can’t help myself. It’s like a weird tick that can’t stop twitching.

Or I’ll go to a restaurant- an industry I know NOTHING about – unless you want to count that ONE time I ran one. I was literally mid-twenties and had no business running a restaurant.

But anyway, if I go out…I see the host not greet guests properly I think – this place would be so much better if they greeted people with “welcome to Charlie’s, how may I help you” versus “hello, do you have a reservation”? Nothing irritates me more than a terrible greeting at restaurants. Say hello first please (eye roll).

And ya know it’s not like I’m a hypocrite- at least not always and at least not on purpose. Every day of my damn life I do something, read something, think something that’s an improvement from yesterday.

I like to learn. I love to improve myself.

It’s a little maddening though – I’m not going to lie, because sometimes it’d be nice to take a damn break from myself. It’s like having my very own “please ride my ass daily” built-in service.

It’s not always pleasant but I try to make the best of it.

I don’t know where this all comes from – but I do believe we all have a level of “born with it”, and I think improvement is my “born with it”.

And the times I’ve shut this part of me down I’m not happy. My soul starts having a fit, we all get sad and eventually return to the obsessive improvement me in no time at all.

It’s been hard to embrace this about myself. It’s not always fun being the, “ya know how ya could make that better, right?” person. Talk about a way to get some dart throwing looks your way.

Plus, I have books everywhere, strung out around the house like a damn crazy person (replace the crazy cats with books, and you got the right picture).

It’s also taken me a while to learn where all this improvement can go. Because clearly a person can’t just keep reading and learning and reading and learning and feel sane. That much input in must eventually come out.

Which is why I love helping people. It’s why I love to write even though I’m pretty sure I suck at it (yes I’ve tried to improve it). 

With all this trying to improve..I got to thinking. Do you know what has to happen in order to improve? 

Something needs to change. 

You can NOT improve without change.

And change is a bitch.

No other way to put it.

Hear it all the time right? “I hate change, change is hard, nobody likes change”.

Isn’t this why so many people want improvement in one way or another and yet, what happens? 

NOTHING

Or maybe a temporary shift only to backslide into the same mess.

It’s definitely the unpopular truth – to improve you must change.

And why don’t people like change? 

That’s an easy question to answer, it’s because it’s uncomfortable. Some say change won’t happen until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of changing.

“People change when the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of changing.” J. Michael Zenn

Why’s it uncomfortable!? Welllll….it’s because that little thing called the brain, the mind, some call it the ego.

See, the mind does NOT enjoy the unknown. It’s really keen on knowing what’s next so it can be fully prepared and ready to take on the world, ready, with nothing unknown.

The issue here? Well, we all know by now, we ain’t controlling or predicting shit in life. We have no idea what will happen from one day to the next (we LOVE to think we do, but we don’t).

Can we do our best to influence an outcome? Sure, absolutely.

But to know EXACTLY how something’s going to go down is impossible.

So then what do we do? Just suck it up? Stay in that bad relationship? Ride out that crap job? Keep eating like crap and feeling out of control? 

No, we don’t have to do that. 

What we can do is know we have a choice. Tony Robbins often talks about suffering coming from the feeling of not having a choice. When you feel like what’s happening to you is not your choice, you’ll feel true suffering. And it’s true to some degree, we don’t choose bad things to happen to us.

But what can we choose then? We can choose how we respond. We can choose to think about how we can improve ourselves, or the situation, or how we are responding to the situation. 

We can also reframe or choose to reframe change. If we’re always thinking, “I don’t like change’, where will there be any room for improvement? Because again, improvement equals change and without inviting change, we’ll ever improve.

Also, trying to make changes becomes overwhelming because when we want to change we fall into the trap of wanting to all of a sudden be the best. Again, our brain trying to avoid ridicule and the pain of trying and failing.

But stay clear of being the best, because being the best will just frustrate you. Search instead for improvement. Incremental improvements are better than nothing and if we could just help ourselves recognize when we’ve improved (maybe even celebrate it), we’ll know each and every day we’ve become a better version of ourselves. Sometimes this is all we can do, just improve. Let improvement be your best.

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