Self-Improvement through 3 principles
Let’s talk about the topic of self-improvement and how you can use three powerful concepts to grow and improve yourself. These concepts include controlling your mind, never stopping learning, and being selfless.
Self-improvement is a journey of personal growth and development, and it is an important aspect of living a fulfilling and successful life. By implementing these concepts, you can take control of your thoughts, emotions, and actions, and make positive changes in your life.
Controlling your mind:
The first concept we will discuss is controlling your mind. This involves managing your thoughts and emotions in a way that helps you achieve your goals and improve yourself. It is important to control your mind because our thoughts and emotions have a powerful influence on our behavior and decisions. When we have negative or unproductive thoughts, we are more likely to make poor decisions and sabotage our own success. On the other hand, when we have positive and constructive thoughts, we are more likely to take action and make positive changes in our lives.
To control your mind, there are several strategies you can try. One is mindfulness, which is the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgment. By practicing mindfulness, you can become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, and learn to manage them in a healthy way.
5 ways to practice mindfulness, utilizing an approach to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, and learn to manage them in a healthy way:
- Practice meditation: Meditation is a mindfulness practice that involves sitting quietly and focusing your attention on your breath, a mantra, or a calming image. By meditating regularly, you can become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, and learn to let them pass without getting attached to them.
- Take mindful walks: Mindful walking is a mindfulness practice that involves paying attention to your surroundings and your body as you walk. By focusing on the sensations of your feet touching the ground, the sights, sounds, and smells around you, and the rhythm of your breath, you can become more aware of the present moment and let go of distracting thoughts and emotions.
- Eat mindfully: Mindful eating is a mindfulness practice that involves paying attention to your food and the experience of eating. By slowing down and savoring each bite, noticing the colors, textures, and flavors of your food, and being aware of your hunger and fullness cues, you can become more aware of your body and its needs, and let go of any negative thoughts and emotions around food.
- Engage in mindful activities: Mindful activities are any activities that you can do mindfully, such as gardening, painting, or playing an instrument. By focusing your attention on the sensations, movements, and sensations of the activity, and letting go of any distractions or judgments, you can become more present and aware, and let go of any negative thoughts and emotions that may arise.
- Practice gratitude: Gratitude is a mindfulness practice that involves expressing thankfulness and appreciation for the things, people, and experiences in your life. By regularly expressing gratitude, either in writing or verbally, you can cultivate a positive outlook and let go of negative thoughts and emotions.
Another strategy is positive thinking, which involves replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Easier said than done though right? :) Here’s an easy example, if you catch yourself thinking, “I can’t do this,” try replacing that thought with, “I can do this, and I will try my best.”
5 strategies to have better positive thinking:
- Identify negative thoughts: The first step in replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is to become aware of the negative thoughts that you have. This can be difficult because negative thoughts often come automatically and unconsciously. To identify your negative thoughts, try keeping a thought journal where you write down your thoughts throughout the day. This can help you become more aware of the negative thoughts that you have, and how they affect your mood and behavior.
- Challenge negative thoughts: Once you have identified your negative thoughts, the next step is to challenge them. This involves examining the evidence for and against your negative thoughts, and questioning whether they are true or helpful. For example, if you have the thought, “I can’t do this,” ask yourself if that is really true. Is there evidence that you have done similar things in the past, or that others have done it successfully? Is it helpful to think that you can’t do it, or would it be more helpful to think that you can try your best and learn from any mistakes? By challenging your negative thoughts, you can begin to see them as false or unhelpful and replace them with more positive and constructive thoughts.
- Practice positive self-talk: Positive self-talk is a way of talking to yourself in a positive and supportive way. Instead of criticizing yourself or putting yourself down, positive self-talk involves talking to yourself as if you were your own best friend. For example, instead of saying, “I’m so stupid,” you can say, “I made a mistake, but that doesn’t mean I’m not smart. I can learn from it and do better next time.” By practicing positive self-talk, you can replace your negative thoughts with more positive and supportive ones.
- Surround yourself with positive people: The people we surround ourselves with can have a big impact on our thoughts and emotions. If we surround ourselves with negative or critical people, we are more likely to have negative thoughts ourselves. On the other hand, if we surround ourselves with positive and supportive people, we are more likely to have positive thoughts. So, make an effort to surround yourself with people who are positive, supportive, and encouraging, and limit your exposure to people who are negative or critical.
- Focus on the positive: Finally, one of the most effective ways to replace negative thoughts with positive ones is to focus on the positive. This means actively looking for and noticing the good things in your life, and dwelling on those things instead of the negative ones. For example, instead of focusing on the things that you don’t have or the things that went wrong, focus on the things that you do have and the things that went right. By focusing on the positive, you can train your mind to think more positively and replace your negative thoughts with more positive ones.
Reframe Negative Thoughts
Finally, you can try reframing your negative thoughts. For example, instead of thinking, “This is too hard,” try thinking, “This may be challenging, but I am capable and I will learn from it.”
5 ways to work on reframing your negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
- Identify the negative thought: The first step in reframing a negative thought is to identify it. This involves becoming aware of the negative thought that you are having and acknowledging them without judgment. For example, if you are having the thought, “I’m not good enough,” acknowledge that thought and allow it to be there without judging yourself for having it.
- Explore the thought: Once you have identified the negative thought, the next step is to explore it. This involves examining the thought in more detail and looking at it from different angles. For example, if you are having the thought, “I’m not good enough,” ask yourself what that thought means, and where it comes from. Is it based on evidence or a specific situation, or is it a general belief that you have? Is it helpful or unhelpful? By exploring the thought, you can gain a better understanding of it, and see it in a more balanced and objective way.
- Reframe the thought: After exploring the thought, the next step is to reframe it. This involves finding a new way of thinking about the situation that is more positive and constructive. For example, instead of thinking, “I’m not good enough,” you can reframe that thought as, “I may not be perfect, but I am good enough, and I am always learning and improving.” By reframing the thought, you can change your perspective and see the situation in a more positive and hopeful light.
- Practice the reframed thought: After reframing the negative thought, the next step is to practice the reframed thought. This involves repeating the reframed thought to yourself, and reminding yourself of it whenever the negative thought comes up. For example, if you have reframed the thought, “I’m not good enough,” as “I am good enough, and I am always learning and improving,” repeat that thought to yourself whenever the negative thought comes up. By practicing the reframed thought, you can begin to internalize it and make it more automatic and habitual.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the reframed thought: Finally, after practicing the reframed thought, the last step is to evaluate its effectiveness. This involves checking in with yourself to see how the reframed thought is working for you. Does it feel more true and helpful than negative thoughts? Does it help you feel better and more confident? If not, you can try reframing the thought again, or seeking support from others, such as a therapist or coach, to help you find a more effective reframed thought. By evaluating the effectiveness of the reframed thought, you can ensure that it is helping you and making a positive difference in your life.
Never stopping learning:
The second concept we will discuss is never stopping learning. This involves continuing to learn and develop new skills throughout your life, in order to grow and improve yourself. Lifelong learning is important because it helps us stay curious, engaged, and motivated. It also helps us adapt to new situations and challenges, and stay relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing world.
Never stop learning, there are many ways you can incorporate learning into your daily life. While it’s painfully obvious, it’s still important to list them: One is to take classes or workshops, either online or in person, in subjects that interest you. Another is to read books or articles on topics that you want to learn more about. You can also seek mentorship from others who have expertise in areas that you want to develop. Finally, you can try learning from experience, by trying new things and reflecting on what you learn from them.
On Mentors and Mentoring Others
Being a mentor and having a mentor are two different roles in the mentoring relationship. Being a mentor means that you are the one providing guidance, support, and advice to another person, who is called the mentee. As a mentor, you have more experience and knowledge in a particular area, and you use that experience and knowledge to help your mentee grow and develop in that area.
Share your knowledge and expertise: As a mentor, one of the most important ways you can help others is by sharing your knowledge and expertise. This can include sharing information, tips, and advice on specific topics or skills that you are knowledgeable about. For example, if you are a mentor for someone who is interested in starting a business, you can share information about how to start and run a business, as well as advice on common challenges and pitfalls.
Provide support and encouragement: As a mentor, you can also provide support and encouragement to your mentee. This can include listening to their concerns and challenges, offering positive feedback and reinforcement, and being a sounding board for their ideas and plans. By providing support and encouragement, you can help your mentee build confidence and motivation, and stay on track with their goals.
Help your mentee set goals and develop a plan: As a mentor, you can also help your mentee set goals and develop a plan to achieve those goals. This can include discussing their interests and aspirations and helping them identify specific, achievable goals that align with those interests and aspirations. You can also help your mentee develop a plan to achieve their goals, including breaking down the goals into smaller, manageable steps, and setting deadlines and benchmarks to track their progress.
Connect your mentee with resources and networks: As a mentor, you can also help your mentee connect with resources and networks that can support their growth and development. This can include introducing them to other mentors, experts, or organizations that can provide valuable information, advice, or opportunities. By connecting your mentee with these resources and networks, you can help them expand their horizons and
Having a mentor, on the other hand, means that you are the one receiving guidance, support, and advice from another person, who is called the mentor. As a mentee, you may have less experience and knowledge in a particular area, and you rely on your mentor to help you learn and improve in that area.
To be a good mentee, there are several steps you can follow:
- Be open and receptive to feedback and advice: As a mentee, it is important to be open and receptive to feedback and advice from your mentor. This means listening carefully to what your mentor has to say, without getting defensive or argumentative. It also means being willing to try new things and take risks, even if they are outside of your comfort zone. By being open and receptive to feedback and advice, you can learn and grow from your mentor’s experience and expertise.
- Be proactive and take initiative: As a mentee, it is also important to be proactive and take initiative in your relationship with your mentor. This means reaching out to your mentor on a regular basis, asking for feedback and advice, and sharing your progress and challenges with them. It also means taking action on the feedback and advice that you receive, and making the most of the opportunities and resources that your mentor provides. By being proactive and taking initiative, you can make the most of your mentoring relationship and achieve your goals.
- Communicate openly and honestly: As a mentee, it is also important to communicate openly and honestly with your mentor. This means being clear and direct about your goals, needs, and challenges, and asking for help and support when you need it. It also means being honest and transparent about your progress and setbacks, and sharing any feedback or concerns that you have with your mentor. By communicating openly and honestly, you can build a strong and trust-based relationship with your mentor.
- Show appreciation and gratitude: As a mentee, it is also important to show appreciation and gratitude to your mentor for their time, effort, and support. This can include thanking your mentor for their guidance and advice, and expressing how much you have learned and grown from your mentoring relationship. You can also show appreciation and gratitude by paying it forward, by offering to mentor others or by supporting your mentor in their own endeavors. By showing appreciation and gratitude, you can strengthen your relationship with your mentor and make it a mutually rewarding experience.
The third and final concept we will discuss is being selfless. This involves putting others’ needs before your own and focusing on helping and serving others instead of seeking personal gain. Being selfless is important for self-improvement because it helps us grow and develop as individuals. It can also lead to personal fulfillment and satisfaction, as well as stronger relationships and connections with others.
To be more selfless, there are many ways you can incorporate this concept into your daily life. One is to volunteer your time and resources to help others, such as by participating in community service projects or donating to charities. Another is to help others in your personal life, such as by offering support and advice to friends and family members who need it (in a respectful and TRULY helpful way...)
You can also practice gratitude, by expressing thankfulness and appreciation to those who have helped you and shown kindness to you.
Here are a couple of ways you can approach gratitude in your life:
Keep a gratitude journal: One way to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, where you write down a few things that you are grateful for each day. This can be anything that brings you joy, satisfaction, or a sense of accomplishment, such as the support of a loved one, the beauty of nature, or the success of a project. By regularly writing down the things that you are grateful for, you can cultivate a positive and grateful mindset, and focus on the good things in your life.
Express gratitude to others: Another way to practice gratitude is to express gratitude to others who have made a positive impact in your life. This can include thanking someone for their support, kindness, or advice, and letting them know how much you appreciate them. You can express gratitude in person, over the phone, or through a handwritten note or email. By expressing gratitude to others, you can strengthen your relationships and show them how much they mean to you.
Perform acts of kindness: Another way to practice gratitude is to perform acts of kindness for others. This can include doing something nice for someone, such as buying them a coffee, or volunteering your time and resources to help others. By performing acts of kindness, you can not only make others lives better but yours will be impacted by the simple act of helping.
Practice it daily: Mindfulness is a practice that involves paying attention to the present moment, without judgment or distraction. By practicing mindfulness, you can become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings, and appreciate the small things in life that you might otherwise take for granted. For example, you can practice mindfulness while eating a meal, by focusing on the flavors, textures, and smells of the food, and letting go of any distractions or judgments. By practicing mindfulness, you can cultivate gratitude and live in the present moment.
Master Yourself; Serve Others
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this powerful mantra that was taught to me years ago by retired Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine:
The phrase “master yourself; serve others” means to first focus on developing your own skills, knowledge, and character, and then use those qualities to help and serve others. The idea is that by mastering yourself, you can become more confident, capable, and effective in serving others, and that serving others is a natural and rewarding extension of mastering yourself.
Mastering yourself involves taking the time and effort to learn and improve in various areas of your life, such as your work, your hobbies, or your relationships. It involves setting goals and working towards them, learning from your mistakes and experiences, and developing the qualities and skills that are necessary for personal growth and success.
Serving others, on the other hand, involves using your skills, knowledge, and character to help and support others. This can include volunteering your time and resources to support a cause that you care about, or using your expertise to help others learn and grow. It can also include simply being kind and supportive to those around you, and making a positive difference in the lives of others.
In summary, “master yourself; serve others” means to focus on developing your own potential and abilities, and then use those abilities to help and serve others. It is a reminder that personal growth and development are important, and that serving others is a natural and rewarding extension of that growth and development.
This is a lot for sure, but you must keep in mind Rome wasn’t built in a day. They built it up slowly over time, and just like Rome you can begin to build yourself up daily but just doing a little each day by incorporating one small step when and where you can.