In my self-improvement series, I analyzed the word improvement, and talked about how the first thing you need to do if you want to improve yourself is to isolate yourself. Through this isolation, you will not get distracted by the outside world, and you will get an honest perspective of who you are, because all the focus will now be on you.
However, getting an honest perspective of yourself is no easy thing. It will be extremely scary and maybe even painful, because getting an honest perspective of yourself is revealing yourself with all your weaknesses.
Just like how in the physical world we cover up our vulnerabilities with clothes, we cover our emotional/personality vulnerabilities with comforting lies and armor.
How I see it, in the beginning, there are 2 things that you need to do to make sure you hit the truth.
- Have a Target
Make sure you know what you are looking for. What exactly are you trying to improve? Do you want to be more honest? More hard-working? More fit? What is your goal? One of the biggest reasons why people do not achieve success is because they do not make specific goals. You can practice your archery all day long, but at the end of the day, if you do not have a target, you won’t get anywhere.
- Beware of Comfort
Whenever you have a target, and you finally start digging into your personality and try to discover the truth about yourself, you will start fighting back. For a lot of people that are trying to improve by changing their habits, it is very common for people to feel incredibly insecure, afraid, and self-criticize. Why?
You’re brain is an outdated brain. It worked great when food was rare, and life was filled with mortal danger. Not too great for the modern world. All your brain cares about is that you survive. It does not care if you are striving. And to break the old habits, where you were striving, and force your brain to try new things, with potential risks, your brain will fight back by rushing all of its fears and try to make you as self-conscious as possible. When this happens, just take it as a sign of progress. However, there is another way that the brain might fight your changes, and I believe that this one is an equally powerful weapon– the comfortable lie.
This happens way too much with me. A lot of the times, when I notice an area that needs improvement, my mind will tell me things, “No, you don’t have to improve there, you are great at that, there was something wrong with the other person, not you.” And for ego-maniacs like me, I eat that shit up.
The comforting lies provide 2 things, it shifts the blame away from you, so you are no longer faulty, and also provides you with a boost in morale, because it tells you that you are actually good at something that you are not good at.
Be VERY WARY of the Comforting Lie. It will stall your progress like no other. But just like the brain’s reaction to make you feel insecure, if you understand the symptoms, you will know to take those reactions as a sign of progress.
It’s that simple,