My biggest criticism with personal development, self improvement, or whatever you want to call it, is that a lot of it is theoretical or has little effect on your life NOW. Of course, most people become interested in personal development because of problems they're facing immediately, which creates a perfect setup for disappointment.
Thinking back on the different areas in which I've directed my efforts, here is a short list of some of the most effective ones which got results quickly (in no particular order):
1. Buy and read the book Fantastic Voyage : Live Long Enough to Live Forever. It's a fascinating read and will give you a deep and valuable understanding of your body, nutrition, and food. When I read it I did so because I was bored, even though I had no particular interest in health or diet. Reading it instantly changed the way I see a lot of things.
2. Open up a new bank account and religiously deposit 10-15% of your after tax income into it every month. This is money that you will NEVER SPEND for your entire life. As it grows you earn interest, and spend that (or add it to this same account). Once you have a significant amount of money, you can then invest it in something reliable like an index fund. You are allowed to use it as a down payment for a house.
3. Go through your house with a trash bag and throw away everything you don't need. You will immediately feel happier, less stressed, and more motivated to work on other projects. (be sure to look in cabinets, the fridge, and your desk - you will probably need more than one bag)
4. Get in the habit of taking a walk every day. Taking walks is surprisingly therapeutic (I do it every time I have a big decision to make, or feel stressed) and is also really good for your cardiovascular system. If you can do it during the day, that's even better. A moderate amount of sun is the best way to get Vitamin D and a healthy looking tan to make the ladies (and boys) swoon.
5. Starting at the top of the list, make a decision on one person in your phone every day. They either get a phone call or deleted. You might feel weird calling people you haven't talked to in a while, but think of how you would feel if they called just to see how you were doing. You'd probably feel really good that you were being thought about. During this process you'll also find people you'll never talk to again. Deleting their number will save time and effort when scrolling through your phone book.
6. Similar to #3, go through your closet and either pack up (to be lost in the attic forever), throw away, or donate any clothes you haven't worn in the past 30 days. (Exceptions are seasonal items [can't you just pack those?] or things like a suit or party dress that doesn't expect frequent use.)
7. Go shopping and buy enough of the following items to last at least 6 months :
If you can think of any other items where a) the price isn't going to change drastically b) your preference probably won't change c) the shelf life is very long, then stock up on those too. Look! You've just eliminated a serious chunk of your todo list and mindless errands for the next six months!
8. If you're disorganized, get and read Getting Things Done : The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. It will have you organized with a gameplan for staying organized easily within 1-3 days. If you're already organized, then you can just take a second and gloat.
9. Find the most expensive item you have that you don't use anymore and sell it on ebay. It will take you 10 minutes at most, plus another 30 minutes to ship (while you're at the post ofice, get 100 2 cent stamps and never worry about that again). Alternatively, just send it to me as a present.
10. Show this page to your friends! Helping out other people makes you feel better, and working on some of these things with your friends will make them more fun.
Don't just read this list and think "that's a good idea". Do it now! If you're at work, then order the books, take a break and make your first phone call while you take a walk.
I tried to fairly evenly distribute the focus between the three areas of Health, Wealth, and Relationships. Relationships has the least focus because improving your health and wealth will likely improve relationships as well. If you could use some extra help with meeting women or being attractive to them, check out my book called Make Her Chase You. I am a world famous pickup artist who has learned from the best ladies' men in the world, and I've condensed all of my knowledge into one awesome book.
Of course if you're a lovely lady and you're looking to improve your relationships, just e-mail me... :)
I'm 52. A white male. I haven't been able to find a real job since 2006. I do drive a taxi 7 days a week, where I am lied to and cheated out of the good calls by the dishonest diepatchers, verbally and physically abused by the passengers, and so under paid I cant hardly afford to eat most days. I have nothing to look forward to. No hope. No love in my life. So why shouldn't I just lay down some where and wait to die?
When I wake up, I do my morning ritual, then I work for 1 hour on the most important task, and then I walk to the office - it takes about 30-40 minutes, and I listen to an audiobook during that - I arrive super-energized to the office. In the evening, I walk home, too. It's AWESOME. It's the simplest way to become a super-fit genius. And if I get stuck during the workday, I will take a short walk, too.
I eat a perfect vegan diet with no refined flours, bad oils, or sugar. My poop is awesome, but wiping is still necessary.
I don't really care about biodegrading.
Hey, you missed the point! Get rid of it! Don't throw it out the balcony, the idea is that you should get rid of it. Donate it, for example.
Wet wipes bio-degrade poorly. Better to invest in a bidet or take another shower. If you eat properly in the first place then there is less to clear up and you will feel great.
Why not donate or find ways to use what you are getting rid of instead of throwing it away? Seems like a very anti-earth idea to put usable items in the garbage.
Mystery's book may or may not be good, but just visiting his site turned me off -- please kindly inform him it's not cool to hijack people's browser windows by forcing them to take up the whole screen. I've never understood why some webmasters think it's ok or a good business practice to do that.
Great tips! I especially like #5. I've written a somewhat related article "19 CrÃƒ¨me de la CrÃƒ¨me Success Principles" at http://radicalhop.com/blog/2006/06/24/19-creme-de-la-creme-success-principles/
I enjoy reading but I it's difficult to find really great books to read. Here are six non-fiction books that have had a big impact on my life. You should definitely buy them, read them, and have your life changed too. Don't worry if they don't address issues that you care about - simply reading them will make you care.
How it changed my life : I stopped eating sugar, flour, bad fats, and other things like that.
I just read this one two days ago and now I've gone vegan. It represents the largest and most comprehensive study of human nutrition and disease ever, and the findings are incredible. If you read this you will want to be vegan. Don't be scared off, thinking, "I love meat, I don't want to change!". The information is there and it makes you not WANT
to eat meat.
Your attention is limited. What you place in your immediate attention will occupy much of your thoughts and time. Manage this wisely.
For me, managing my attention is an integral part of building systems into my life that guide me to do what I want to do. A classic examples:
Now you could of course own a TV, put it in your kitchen, and every day decide to not watch TV at all. But that's a decision you're going to have to make every day. If your goal is to spend your time on other things than watching TV, getting rid of your TV is low-hanging fruit in Moments of Clarity.
Imagine your attention as a limited two-dimensional space, like your desk or your computer screen. Both are great metaphors, because at least during work, desks and computer screens are almost equivalent to attention for many people. At my job, everything happens on the computer screen in front of me - so it matters a lot how I manage the things on it.