"Make the most of yourself....for that is all there is of you." --Ralph Waldo Emerson
We've all made mistakes throughout our lives that haven't exactly put us in the best light--like bullying someone in school or telling what seemed like a little white lie. Chances are, however, you probably felt a little guilt and grew because of the situation.
I'm an average guy trying to become better in both my work and home life. I'll never be perfect, but it doesn't mean I won't try.
If you want to continue to grow as a person, here are 15 ways to make the most of yourself.
1. Compliment Yourself
Every morning before you go on with your daily routine, take a couple of minutes to give yourself a compliment. Whether you compliment your outfit, haircut, or how you recently completed a task using your unique skill sets, giving yourself a little emotional boost will make you happy. And, when you're happy with yourself, that emotion can be contagious to those around you. Inspirational speaker Tony Robbins has a mantra he says aloud to himself most days to put him in a peak performance state.
2. Don't Make Excuses
Blaming your spouse, boss, or clients is fruitless and won't get you very far. Instead of pointing fingers and making excuses about why you aren't happy or successful in your personal or professional life, own your mistakes and learn from them. When you do this, you will become a better person. When I personally started living up to my mistakes and downfalls, my life turned itself around. I became happier and healthier, and my relationship with my wife improved. We are happier than ever.
3. Let Go of Anger
Letting go of anger is easier said than done. While anger is a perfectly normal emotion, you can't let it fester. When this happens, you may make unwise decisions, and more important, it may affect your health. Research suggests pent up anger can cause digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, and even heart disease.
To help you let go of anger, Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD, suggests you write your feelings down, pray or meditate, or begin to manage your thoughts.
4. Practice Forgiveness
Joyce Marter, LCPC, suggests you forgive and let go of resentment. She notes, "If for no other reason than for yourself, forgive to untether yourself from the negative experiences of the past. Take time to meditate, and give thanks for the wisdom and knowledge gained from your suffering. Practice the mantra, 'I forgive you and I release you.'"
5. Be Honest and Direct
How would you feel if a loved one or business partner lied to you? Chances are you would see that as a violation of your trust. If you want to be a better person in either your personal or professional life, you should always tell the truth and state as clearly as possible what you are trying to convey. Learn to articulate your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in an open and honest manner.
6. Be Helpful
Whether giving up your seat to an elderly person on the subway, assisting a co-worker on a project, or carrying in the groceries when your spouse comes back from the store, being helpful is one of the easiest and most effective ways to practice becoming a better person. I find that the more I help others, the better I feel about myself and everyone around me.
7. Listen to Others
As Jeet Banerjee notes on Lifehack, "listening to people and giving everyone a voice is one of the greatest things you can do." He adds that he "got to meet some of the most amazing people, close some of the biggest deals, and develop connections that will last me a lifetime all because I took time to listen to people. Being a good listener can change your life in a positive manner."
8. Act Locally
It may not seem like a big deal, but supporting a local cause, donating clothes, or buying from local farmers' markets or businesses are simple ways you can help your specific region. You may not be able to save the world, but you very well could make a difference in your neck of the woods. Get to know and care about your community.
9. Always Be Polite
How much effort does it take to say, "Thank you," or to hold the elevator door open for someone? Not much at all. However, these acts of kindness can make someone's day. I decided a few years ago that it doesn't matter if someone is ultra rude, condescending, or worse. The way someone else behaves is not going to determine my behavior.
10. Be Yourself
Tiffany Mason has five excellent reasons on Lifehack why you should be yourself. These include being able to align yourself with your values and beliefs, establish your identity, build courage, create boundaries, and find focus and direction.
11. Be Open to Change
Whether trying a new restaurant, traveling to an unknown part of the world, or doing something that has always scared you, you should always be open to change. This allows you to grow because you experience something new. It helps you be high functioning and self-confident if you are not wary of change.
12. Be Respectful
How would you feel if you had just cleaned your home and someone came in and tracked mud everywhere? You'd probably be a little ticked that they hadn't taken off their shoes. Take this mentality and apply it to everyday life. For example, don't toss your trash or cigarette butts on the floor of public restrooms or sidewalks just because someone else will clean it up. Be respectful of others' time, thoughts, ideas, lifestyles, feelings, work, and everything else. You don't have to agree with any of it, but people have a right to their opinions and yours is not necessarily correct.
13. Don't Show Up Empty-handed
Going to a party this weekend at your friend's apartment? Make sure you don't arrive empty-handed. Even if you've been assured that there will be plenty of food and drink, bring along a little something to show you appreciate being invited.
14. Educate Yourself
If you don't understand why one country is invading another, take the time to educate yourself on the current event. Ask a person intimately connected with the event for his or her thoughts. Remember, we're all interconnected, and being aware of different cultures, different people, and what their lives are like can make you a more well-rounded individual. This will also help you understand points of view different from your own.
15. Surprise People
How good does it feel to make someone smile? It feels pretty good, right? Surprise your loved ones or co-workers now and then, with a gift, a night out on the town, or by offering help when you know they could use it.
Becoming a better person doesn't happen overnight, but it is possible. Believe in yourself and know that it is possible!
What other tips have you found useful for becoming a better person?
Improvement doesn’t come in one fell swoop. Improving takes time, effort, determination, and focus.
Becoming good at things may be considered a lost art, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always be working on getting better at something everyday.
In this post we’ll showcase three essays from The99Percent.com (one of Corbett and I’s favorite sites on the web) that will teach you how to improve in the best way possible.
1. The Key to Creating Remarkable Things
How often do you start your day focused on your inbox instead of your outbox? You wake up and check your email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and before you know it precious hours of the most productive part of your day are gone.
In this essay, Mark McGuinness lays out a simple strategy for switching your day around.
- Creative work first, reactive work second.
- Tune out distractions.
- Make exceptions for VIPs.
- Be really efficient at reactive work.
The thing is, if you want to create something truly remarkable, it won’t be built in a day. A great novel, a stunning design, a game-changing software application, a revolutionary company – this kind of thing takes time, thought, craft, and persistence. And on any given day, it will never appear as “urgent” as those four emails (in the last half-hour) from Client X or Colleague Y, asking for things you’ve already given them or which they probably don’t really need. So if you’re going to prioritize this kind of work – your real work – you may have to go through a wall of anxiety in order to get it done. – Mark McGuinness
2. What Happened to Downtime?
In this age of technology, we have the ability to always be consuming new information. We explored this theory in our post 8 Wastes of Time That Can Actually Make You Smartand we discussed how you could use every waking moment to continually improve yourself.
Scott Belsky, author of Making Ideas Happen, argues instead that we need more downtime in our lives. He lays out five strategies for having more downtime for yourself.
- Have rituals for unplugging.
- Daily doses of deep thinking.
- Meditation and naps to clear the mind.
- Self-awareness and psychological investment.
- Protect the state of no-intent.
There has been much discussion about the value of the “creative pause” – a state described as “the shift from being fully engaged in a creative activity to being passively engaged, or the shift to being disengaged altogether.” This phenomenon is the seed of the break-through “a-ha!” moments that people so frequently report having in the shower. In these moments, you are completely isolated, and your mind is able to wander and churn big questions without interruption. – Scott Belsky
3. 10 Laws of Productivity
Because there is so much focus around the web on productivity systems, strategies, and theory you might think about just skipping right over this post. Don’t.
If all of the best resources on productivity got together and had “best of” contest, this post would be the top ten.
- Break the seal of hesitation.
- Start small.
- Prototype, prototype, prototype.
- Create simple objectives for projects, and revisit them regularly.
- Work on your project a little bit each day.
- Develop a routine.
- Break big, long-term projects into smaller chunks or “phases”.
- Prune away superfluous meetings (and their attendees).
- Practice saying “No.”
- Remember that rules – even productivity rules – are made to be broken.
With projects that require a serious infusion of creative juice – developing a new business plan, writing a novel, or just learning a new skill – it’s incredibly important to maintain momentum. Just as when you run everyday, the exercise gets easier and easier, the same thing happens with your brain. Stimulate it regularly each day, and those juices start to flow more freely.
What strategies do you use to make continuous progress everyday? How do you improve at what you do?