Constant self-improvement is the only thing that can allow you to stay afloat in this competitive world. Learn these 9 most effective self-improvement tips to stay ahead of the game.
The following questions must have crossed your mind at one point or the other:
“Why is it that some people live better than others?”
“How to improve your results?”
“How to become more successful?”
Well. You are not alone. History shows that for 1000s of years, people have been trying to answer these pressing questions. In fact, several ancient Greek philosophers, Chinese philosophers, and even Gautam Buddha have made their contributions to the same.
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This article has condensed years of research 9 most effective self-improvement tips:
1. Take BIG actions!
Most successful people are not necessarily the smartest or the nicest. However, what sets them apart is – they take action! This is not surprising because the results one can achieve is directly proportionate to the number of actions that one takes.
For instance, Steve Jobs was probably not the smartest computer engineer of all times. In fact, I bet you’d be able to find more knowledgeable computer engineers in many technology universities in the US.
So how did he manage to accomplish such remarkable achievements?
Well, it is because he was a ‘Go-getter!’
There are so many theories which claim that by simply thinking about or visualizing something, the universe magically makes it into reality – the “Law of Attraction.” However, in reality, if you study the biography of any successful person, you will realize that they were able to achieve what they have, only because they took actions.
They were not just thinking and dreaming about things. Instead, they were executing what they wanted to achieve.
After all, no success principles work unless you do!
2. Don’t Fear Failure
“If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”
— Thomas Watson, the second president of IBM
In his 60s, he attempted to make a supercomputer. This failed. He lost $20 million. However, he didn't stop trying. Eventually, IBM went on to become one of the world's biggest companies.
Successful people are NOT ‘Afraid of Failure!’
You must have noticed that a football player who scores the maximum number of goals is also the one who misses the major number of shots. Ever wondered why is that so?
Nobody is successful 100% of the times. All we can do is make attempts. Some of these attempts will work out while some will not. That’s life.
In the long run, the secret to success is to take massive actions, understanding that some will fail and some will succeed.
3. Know that your results are determined by YOUR Self-image.
What is self-image?
Self-image is the sum of all the thoughts and beliefs that you have about yourself.
We have a “self-image” for every important area in our lives. For example, a certain perception about ‘how good we are as a parent or as a kid’ or ‘how efficient we are at work’ or ‘how good we look’ or ‘how much money we deserve to make.’ This list goes on.
A great psychological discovery asserts that your results depend on your self-image. If accidentally, your results are not consistent with your self-image, you will strive to reverse the situation such that it is consistent with your self-image.
An interesting statistic says 67% percent of lottery winners become bankrupt within a few years after the bonanza.
Why is that so?
Well, it is because many people believe that getting more money will solve all their problems and lead to a happy life; however, in reality, even with the sudden increase in wealth, their thinking or self-image doesn’t change. Thus, unintentionally, they strive to revert to a financial situation where they feel (and felt) comfortable.
Here's another thought-provoking example –
Several types of research post World War II showed that more than 50% of the soldiers deliberately shot beside the target mark. This was because they implicitly believed that they were not killers.
This goes to show that even in the most adverse circumstances, your self-image can really dictate your actions.
4. Change your thinking. Change your life.
As we have already discussed, your way of thinking significantly determines the outcomes. Yet, the majority of the people believe that they can't succeed in life, “due to lack of external resources like money, education or connections.”
However, the reality is - All lies within!
In fact, 70-80% of the millionaires are self-made. That is, they started from a position that is not very different from yours. They too lacked resources. However, their way of thinking propelled them towards success.
“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”
- Steve Jobs
You too can adopt this belief. If you do so, you will be able to encash on several new opportunities and achieve feats that you thought was never possible. After all, ‘if they can do it, so can you!’
We all have numerous beliefs about ourselves and our abilities. It's useful to know what they are so that you can replace the same with empowering beliefs. This will, in turn, propel you to achieve bigger things in life.
Here is a simple exercise to understand more about your beliefs. Do this exercise to improve your beliefs and make them more productive.
Write down your first thought when you read these phrases:
I deserve success because ________________________
I do not deserve success because _____________
The 2nd phrase will help you identify self-limiting beliefs and excuses. For this, you need to find an antidote.
5. Always FOP.
FOP: Focus On the Positive.
Our minds are constantly filled with several thoughts and emotions. However, only 1 dominant thought or emotion directs our actions. Therefore, we need to consciously focus on positive things that will make us more optimistic and pleasant.
Since you cannot think about two different things simultaneously, if you intentionally choose to focus on positive thoughts, eventually you won't experience anxiety or anger.
A simple way to do this is - cultivate gratitude. Gratitude is the best antidote for negative emotions.
Ask yourself, “What are you grateful about?”
Concentrating on positive thoughts give clarity on new and better opportunities.
People often complain when there is a financial crisis. So, let me elaborate on an incident –
In Japan, there was an economic crisis from 1995 to 2007. The GDP fell from $5.33 trillion to $4.36 trillion; wages fell by 5%. Nevertheless, during this same period, 13 people became billionaires (self-made) and 100+ people earned more than $100 billion.
Yet it was possible. It goes to show that even during a crisis, everything doesn’t decline. Some sectors undergo losses while some sectors don’t. For instance, the sales of used cars usually rise in times of crisis. Therefore, if you have a positive outlook, you will be able to identify new opportunities.
6. Ask the right questions.
You can only get a “right” answer when you ask the “right” question. The “right” questions can direct your thought process and enable you to focus on the positives.
Usually, we ask questions like “Can I do this?” or “Should I do this?” or ‘Why something happens in a certain way?’
Here are most asked questions on Google:
- Why do I always lie?
- Why did I get married?
- Why am I so tired?
Asking such questions provoke doubts, insecurity, anxiety, and negative emotions.
Rather, it is better to ask action-oriented questions – the “How to….” Questions. Such questions will empower you to improve the situation.
Here’s a simple yet effective exercise that will make your self-improvement efforts more successful -
Take a notebook (or an electronic device) and write the title:
‘10 Reasons Why I Must Get Rich.’
Now think about the ten reasons and write them down.
Why is this exercise important?
Every one of us wants to get rich. However deep down, we have mixed thoughts about wealth and wealthy people. On the one hand, it feels good to be rich, but on the other, people believe that rich people are mean. It is assumed that wealthy people prioritise money over their family, friends and health.
Conflicting thoughts about what you want and need will hinder your journey towards success.
Interesting research found that after reaching $73,000 annual income, the further rise in the income doesn’t lead to an increase in happiness and satisfaction.
In short, people need to make enough money to fulfill their daily and basic needs. Making more money does not necessarily make people happier. Therefore, it is essential to know the reasons why you want to get rich.
If your reasons are not compelling enough, you won't have enough motivation to overcome the obstacles.
To achieve a higher level of success, allocate 5 minutes to think about the 10 reasons why you want to get rich. This exercise will bring some clarity to your path.
7. No one can do it alone.
We all admire celebrities, movie stars, musicians, successful sportsman, and entrepreneurs. At the same time, their achievement can be misleading.
Here’s what Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie star and bodybuilding champion said in his commencement speech at the University of Houston –
“The whole concept of self-made man, or woman, is a myth.To accept that credit would discount every single person that has helped me — that gave me advice, that made an effort, that gave me time, that lifted me when I fell.”
— Arnold Schwarzenegger.
None of us can do it all alone. Therefore, ‘Do not be afraid to ask for help!’ In fact, when you are asking for help, it is a reflection of your strong personality.
8: Use your 24 hours wisely.
When people are asked why they don't they exercise regularly. The most common answer is that they don’t have enough time.
It is the same excuse that people often use for many other things that they know they should do but don't.
According to the Nilsson Report, on average, adults in the US watch 35.5 hours of TV per week – this is nearly equivalent to an average working week.
Here is a fitting German proverb -
“Du hast Nicht Zu Wenig Zeit. Du hast Zu Viel Zeit, die du Nicht nutzt.” It translates as –
‘It’s not that you don’t have time. It’s that you have too much time that you don’t use.’
Here is a fascinating analogy that highlights the importance of using what we have effectively -
Kazakhstan and China Border
A satellite view to the border between Kazakhstan and China.
On the left side, you can see Kazakhstan where there is empty unused ground. While on the right side, you can see China, which has green rectangles in all the forms.
The land that these two countries have is exactly the same, however, their use of the same is drastically different.
Likewise, we all have 24 hours a day but high achievers use them more efficiently and wisely.
9. Pursue your dreams
“All our dreams can come true; if we have the courage to pursue them.”
– Walt Disney.
Fear is the single biggest factor that hinders your chance for success. Fears hold us back from even trying!
Fear of losing.
Fear of being judged.
Fear of failing. Fear of finding out that you are not good enough.
One of the best solutions to eradicate fear is to realize that most of our fears are just temporary. If you notice, the things we worry about never actually happen. And even if they do happen, they are not as extreme as we imagine them to be.
Ask yourself this question whenever you find yourself being anxious or stressed -
‘Is there any person who already failed this way yet became successful afterward?’
This question will help you to realize that there are probably millions of people out there who have already failed. Yet, they have managed to get a good result subsequently. Therefore, you too can do it!
But are there any people who failed at their first attempt to start a business but then succeeded afterward?
Yes, there are plenty of them.
For instance, Richard Branson (infamous serial entrepreneur) also faced setbacks and failures. There were many ventures that he failed at. For example, ‘Virgin Cola’ (similar to the Coca Cola) was a failed attempt.
Similarly, unsuccessfully tried to sell cars, wedding dresses, cosmetics, and many other things. However, these failures didn’t stop him. His perseverance has made him one of the most successful entrepreneurs of today’s generation.
If you believe in yourself and keep going, nothing can stop you from achieving everything that you want from life.
With time, you can do almost anything!
PS: If you found this article valuable, please share it with your friends and followers. Which self-improvement tip resonates with you the most? Write it down in the comments below and I'll surely follow it up.