Thoughts on Self Improvement

As I was doing the ironing the other day, my mind began to wander. (It often does that when I’m busy doing other things). This time, rather than hoping that I would remember the train of thought later, I grabbed my dictaphone and recorded my thoughts so that I could write about them when I got the time.
So where were my thoughts off to this time?
For once, they weren’t concerned with work or study, they were actually pondering life.
I was thinking about self improvement actually.
As my thoughts were tumbling through my mind and I was mentally composing the order of the words in my head, I had an epiphany.
I (like many others) work at improving my life. I want to be better… more accomplished…. you know – just better than I am now.
What I’ve realised though, is that in determining where I want to change, I often look at the past and the things that I’ve done wrong.
We all have those moments in the past that we wish we could erase. There are always the things that make us cringe when we think “Did I really say that”? or “I guess I could have handled that a little better”.
What it comes down to, is that these thoughts are really, quite negative.

It got me thinking then.

How many times, when we look back on our lives do we actually look at things we have done or conversations that we have had and thought “Nailed it!”?

I bet you’re just like me and you dwell more on the mistakes than the wins.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just as important to recognise what we have done right as it is to recall where we have failed.
It’s all part of growth.
When we recognise a strength, we can build on it.
When we realise that we have done something right, we can work out what we did that made it so good and use those skills to replicate more ‘nailed it’ moments in the future.

Self improvement is an important aspect of life for sure.
But it’s not just about improving upon what you consider is wrong with your life. It’s equally important to recognise your wins and then build upon your strengths to improve the areas of your life that you wish to grow.

So tell me, when have you ‘nailed it’ in the past? And how can you use what you learned to improve your tomorrows?

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17 thoughts on “Thoughts on Self Improvement

      1. Ha! I wasn’t blowing you off Suz – honestly. The truth is that I subscribe to your stated paradigm so much so that I don’t even call it self-improvement. To me part of the nature of life is continual learning. I believe in this personally and professionally. This goes beyond “improvement” and actually becomes more “purpose”. To me it is not an addition or task but rather a perspective. I try hard to stay interested, curious, open, etc. I find that this not only keeps me mentally sharp but improves my attitude and my physical well being as well.

        There are so many analogies of this in the world around us Suz, that it is clear to me that this perspective resonates with all that is around us. A few examples: Christ says in the Bible: You are either with me or against me. To me that also means move forward towards life or move backwards towards death. Anyone who thinks they can stay in the same place or sit on the fence is kidding themselves. Another example is currency. Money has to be used to maintain value and increase in value. Because of inflation, if you take your money and put it in your mattress, it is worth less every day. I can remember when a Coke was 25 cents at the store. If you had hidden that 25 cents and brought it out now in 2015, it would buy less than 1/4 of a bottle of Coke. Use the money to make money or lose it. Use your brain to learn or die.

        I have a tendency to philosophize Suz and can get long winded. I’ve been chastised for this in the past, so when I see a post like yours that I strongly agree with, I will sometimes get very short in my answer because as you can see, the alternative is to wax philosophical.

        Thanks for the thought-provoking post Suz. πŸ˜€

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  1. One thing I realised a couple of years ago is that I will spend a very long time working hard to accomplish something/finish a project or whatever but when it is done I don’t allow myself time to celebrate. I barely spend any time saying, “I did it. Good work.” I am straight away onto the next challenge and doing the hard unpleasant stuff. I never even really like to celebrate my birthday. Is it a feeling of being undeserving of praise, a feeling of never being good enough? That thought that I need to do more? Possibly. I still find it difficult to pause and reflect on those “well done” moments. I do think many of us have a tendency to focus on our mistakes and what we should have done better. Celebrations are important I think. Taking the time to say, “Wow that was a tough time but I am still here now. I got through it,” is great. It helps us face current and future challenges. And by the way, I think your dictaphone is a great idea. I’ve been meaning to do that for ages. So often while walking, driving or out and about I think of ideas that I forget about when I get around to sitting down to write. Great post, Sue. Love hearing your thoughts. πŸ™‚

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    1. I do believe you’ve hit the nail on the head with your observation about not feeling good enough. I think we also tend to compare our efforts to those of others too often as we’ll, when really we are pretty amazing on our own.
      Thanks for sharing Jane. I really appreciate that.

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  2. Another well written post Suzanne. It is a really good thing to go back and reflect. Sometimes life gets so busy, we don’t even take the time to do that.

    Yes, there has been times when I have messed up and blown it, but you make it right and move on. The one thing that I would say “nailed it” would be my wife. Dated several fine young ladies before her, but she seemed to be the one! πŸ™‚

    ~Carl~

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  3. I agree Suz. It seems to be human nature to dwell on the mistakes and what didn’t work. My mentor coach advised me to keep an accomplishment journal. I wrote down everything that I felt good about, at the time. It definitely shifted my perspective. When I was feeling down or insecure, I would look at it and it gave me a boost to carry on!

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  4. I don’t know where I learned it or who I learned it from, but I’ve always thought of my mistakes in the past as stepping stones to the ‘nailed it’. I’ve made more than my share of mistakes too. If I dwelled on them, I’d probably be suicidal. Life is short enough as it is, so I prefer to ponder on things that make me feel good and worthwhile.

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  5. I agree well said we don’t recommend our strengths and accomplishments enough. We are too busy rushing to the next thing. I am trying to acknowledge/celebrate every step in the journey and also trying to reframe self-talk. Turn mistakes into learning opportunities. What I put out I get back so put out positive energy. Thanks for sharing and honesty as always.

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