A simple question, but one that requires a lot of dedication to follow through with if the answer is no. This question can apply to any area of your life. It speaks to personality types that exhibit a growth mindset, people who believe that you can constantly improve in any aspect, be it your work, health and fitness, relationships, mindfulness, self-esteem etc.
This blog will look at some of the strategies for constantly improving on yourself as a person and why you should strive to be better than last time. The important thing about this subject is you can apply these strategies where you see fit.
Have a Goal but Focus on the Journey
We all know the benefits of goal setting and being driven to achieve something that has a purpose in our lives. Some argue that the end goal is of little importance and in fact it’s the journey of achieving that goal, the habits we develop and fulfil along the way, the behaviours we learn and exemplify that help us to achieve it. In some cases, we may never achieve the goal we set out to but become fulfilled in other ways due to the focus we put into the journey.
Be Driven by a Deeper Purpose
“A self-transcending purpose not only allows us to overcome our greatest fears and break through our limits, it also improves our performance in less heroic, everyday activities. Just ask yourself: Are you more likely to give something your all if you know doing so will benefit someone else or a greater cause? For almost every great performer we asked, the answer was an enthusiastic yes.”
This is an excerpt of the book Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness who delve deeper into the science of high performance, interviewing many high achieving and successful individuals across the world and finding commonalities in how they achieve their success. I highly recommend picking this one up if you want to elevate your game, avoid burnout and thrive in any area of your life.
Have a Process & Trust It
This point if very similar to the one above however it speaks to trusting your process/journey and continuing to push through any discomfort especially when times get tough. As an example, think about falling ill or experiencing pain or injury during a training program where you’ve seen positive results so far. You regress slightly and potentially lose motivation. It’s important during these times to trust the work you’ve done previously, trust the habits you’ve begun to develop that are helping you progress towards your goal and if need be think back to your deeper purpose and find a new challenge in your situation then so be it. Just keep moving forward!
Mastery is an Asymptote
If your aim is to master a skill of any sort or achieve mastery in any area of your life it’s important to understand the following:
In the book “Drive” by Daniel H Pink, he describes what he calls the Mastery Asymptote.
First, an asymptote is the mathematical (algebraic) description of a curve that approaches a line, but never reaches it. He says:
” Mastery is an asymptote. You can approach it. You can home in on it. You can get really, really close to it. But… you can never touch it. Mastery is impossible to realize fully.”
The joy is in the pursuit more than the realization. In the end, mastery attracts precisely because mastery eludes. When you accept the inescapable nature of the mastery asymptote, you realize the joy isn’t in the destination (which will forever elude you), rather, it’s in the journey. The joy is in all the little wins, the little discoveries, the gains you experience along the way.
Lasting progress and wanting to constantly be better than your previous attempts in any worthwhile endeavour e.g., exercise performance, creative development, relationships with others, relationship with yourself – involves peaks, valleys and plateaus. Therefore, patience is a key skill to develop whilst progressing through your journey.
Understand that people can develop unhealthy obsessions with trying to achieve certain goals or aspirations that can lead to incredible stress, being overwhelmed, overworked, and illness. Having a balance and making sure you get your appropriate rest and recovery on a daily basis to ensure you remain healthy and keep your energy up is key to any process or journey to an aspiring goal.