Self Improvement?

Sometimes I wonder if self-improvement is really the answer. Are we really improving? Do all those books, classes, and seminars really do anything? If you wind up going back to the same old habits and lifestyle you were living before was it worth it? There’s an entire industry dedicated just to making ourselves better, but I have to wonder is it helping or hurting us. I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now. It’s part of the reason I didn’t release an article yesterday. I was questioning whether or not to write this.

I look back at my own life and see all the successes and failures and I see a pattern of self-destruction, but then growth. I’ve been a long time consumer of self-help books and speeches. I may even be addicted to them. The reality though is that those things that have impacted me the most have been the tragedies not the triumphs. When things were at their worst, when I was broke, or homeless, or even near death, that’s when I found strength. Time and time again I’ve gone through hell and walked out the other side. Maybe we could call that tenacity, or just stubbornness, but I’ve always refused to quit moving forward.

Don’t get me wrong there have been some dark times. I’ve thought about ending it more than once, but each time I just decided to keep moving and see what happened. I guess keep moving has been my motto for years now. Each time my life has gone down a path of self-destruction a little part of me was torn down and cast aside, but the thing that emerged in its place was stronger and more sure, more stable, than that which it replaced.

I have often returned to the book “Fight Club,” for inspiration. The movie is great, but the book is solid gold. The older I get and the further I travel down this road of social media dominance that is shaping our world the more I feel that self-awareness is key.  “Self improvement in masturbation, Now Self destruction is the answer…”

Now the thing is, what the character in the book is talking about is not a literal go out and hurt yourself self-destruction. He’s talking about self-examination. Tearing down the lies and the bullshit that we’ve woven around who we want the world to think we are to reveal who we really are. It’s about destroying the illusion so we can see the truth. Do you even know who you really are? Have you been put to the test?

We strive for self-improvement but some of us aren’t even sure who that “self” really is. I’ve found that the real moments of growth and character building come not from the gym, or feel good books but from struggle. In those moments when we’re torn down and the truth of who we are and are capable of is laid bare then we begin to understand what “self” is.

I think the key to truly improving our selves is to strip away the glossy veneer and reveal the bones beneath. It’s not in adding to, but in reducing, stripping away and learning to function on less. Living a life free of Bullshit isn’t so much about going primitive and turning into a prepper. I’m preaching about clearing out the crap that really doesn’t matter and focusing on the people and things that do.

Don’t be afraid to be the raw, imperfect self, that you really are. Our world is growing more artificial, more made-up, and glossed over by the day. I believe we will all be clamoring for some authenticity and realism very soon. I’m going to stop worrying about being better and start focusing on being more genuine. It’s time to cut the bullshit.

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