I have a really strong desire to be the best person I can be. Not in the Army reserves sort of way, but eliminating weaknesses and building strengths. I think it's a ridiculous privilege to be alive, and I want to make the most of that. I have a human mind, so I want to sharpen it. I have a human body, so I want to strengthen and protect it. I have fellow humans, so I want to relate to them better, learn from them, and benefit them however possible.
Part of the human experience is having faults, and like everyone else, I have lots of them. Through my path in life, though, I've been lucky enough to really experience and understand that all faults can be fixed. Some of my biggest faults, like my social ineptness and my lack of discipline eventually got turned around into strengths. Once you go through that experience of turning a negative that feels like a part of you into a true strength, you see all weaknesses in a new light. Anything that I don't like about myself can be fixed completely.
This process takes time and effort, though, and I know that I have a limited amount of both. That means that at all times I should be making myself better in some way. I have long term campaigns like eating healthy, meditating, getting good sleep, traveling, etc., but I also add new things all the time. I never have the urge to put off fixing myself because I know that my life is only so long and that there are a lot of things to fix. For example, Mystery posted a video to his wall about the damage that pornography is doing to men. My consumption of pornography was probably lower than average anyway, but I quit cold turkey immediately after watching the video. I don't find things like that difficult, because my impulse to improve myself is much greater than any other impulse I have.
Some people may object, saying that it's best to be happy with you are and not feel like you need to improve and fix yourself. I agree with that, too, and I don't think that it's a contradiction. It's natural to be very happy with something imperfect, but still enjoy improving it. I've liked my RV since the first day I bought it, but I still fix and improve it as time goes on. I'm proud of my blog, but I always try to improve my writing and the blog platform itself. In fact, I think that a certain level of self esteem is necessary for long-term self improvement. You have to believe that you're worth improving and that you have the capability to do so. There's a difference between feeling like you have to fix yourself to be an acceptable human being and loving being a human so much that you want to become as good as you possibly can.
Just as being a programmer is useless unless you are actually writing programs, improving yourself is only part of the equation. Building yourself up only for personal satisfaction seems like a waste, but up to offer more to the world is an amazing thing. I build my work ethic so that I can make SETT into a great blogging platform for everybody, and hopefully help the spread of good discussion around the world. I invest in my health to keep myself able to produce for more years, and even to maximize the time I'll get to spend with my children and grandchildren. I quit porn because maybe doing so will improve my relationship with whoever I end settling down with. I improve my social skills to help me learn more from others and share more with them in return.
My favorite people in the world are people who share this obsession with practical self improvement. I love their genuine enthusiasm for life and for the experiments they're trying out themselves. My favorite part of the recent Japan trip I went on was the unusual concentration of self-improvers in our group. We ended up overshooting our first train stop by over an hour because we were all so sucked into conversation, excited to hear what everyone else was working on. Most people on the trip, myself included, actually took notes from each other.
It's such a great thing to be alive, and to get to experience what it is to be a human. Wouldn't it be a shame to not become the best human possible?
Photo is me at the top of Mt. Misen in Miyajima, Japan. Definitely worth a visit!