Want a Better Life? Be Specific

Image from Flickr by Rennett Stowe

Let’s face it — people like us who seeks self-improvement want a better life, period.

But how do we exactly define a better life? I have a tip for you, don’t let the media or other external influences define what a better life is for you.

For example, the image of success primarily portrayed in the media is to have lots of money. If that’s your goal, then, it’s fine — there is nothing wrong about desiring money — money only allows you to be more of what you are. Money can help people; in fact, there’s this funny question: “When was the last time a poor person gave you a job?”

On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who’s content on living a quiet life, with only the bare essentials to spare — then, that’s fine as well. I’m not saying that to get both types of people to agree with me. I’m saying that because I believe that self-development is purely a personal matter.

If you’re going to let others tell you what you want in life, might as well call your endeavor group-development, not self-development.

After we figured out what we want, the next step is to be specific on what you want. For example, if you want to lose some weight, don’t just say to yourself that you want to lose weight, that’s vague. Instead, have an ideal weight in mind. If you’re weight 200 pounds for instance, and want to lose 20 pounds, then your target weight is 180 pounds.

Once you figured-out what you want specifically, then all you need to do is to make a plan, and take action. Monitor your progress, if it seems that your plan isn’t working (after sticking with it for a while of, course), then, modify your plan, then take action again. Continue the process until you have achieved your goal.

I could have made the above paragraph longer, but what I really want to point out in this post, is for you to know what you want specifically first — before taking action.

Know what you really want — not what others want for you — and be specific about it; then, make a plan before taking action. If what you’re doing doesn’t seem to work, then modify your plan, then take action again, until you get what you want. Then, celebrate for a better life!

Two Types of Personal Change

I have been reading, watching, and listening to self-help material for quite a while now. I noticed that there are two types of change that happen to us personally. They are external change and internal change.

External change occurs when something has changed in the physical/material world because of something we did. For example, if you went to the gym and achieved your ideal body, or you saved and invested money in able to buy a new house, those are external changes. Basically, it’s the change that gives us visible results in the real world.

Internal change on the other hand is change that happens to us mentally or emotionally. Examples are having a more positive attitude or learning a new skill, like playing a guitar. It is something you have inside of you, wherever you go, there it is.

Which one is more important? I think they are both important, only because they affect each other. How? I’ll give two examples:

Alisa who is always broke decided she wants to save money for the future. So she decides to put some money aside for her savings account each payday. In two years she saved enough money to buy a new car. She buys the car (external change) she always liked, and because of that her confidence grew (internal change). Alisa’s new found confidence allowed here to enter other ventures such as starting her own business.

One day Larry stumbled upon a short youtube video of a self-help author making a motivational speech. He was quite inspired by that author’s speech, that he decided to buy and read one his books. After reading that book he felt so inspired that he decided to read all of that author’s five books. But he didn’t just stopped there, he read books, watched videos, and listened to recordings of other self-help authors. After two years, Larry is now much smarter and has definitely a better outlook in life than before (internal change). Larry then decided to write his own book and conduct his own self-improvement seminars. Since Larry is good, people bought his books and attended his seminars. Larry then earned enough money to buy his own dream house (external change). Because of that one youtube video, not only is Larry is living a more prosperous life, he also makes the lives of other people better.

As you can see, both changes (external and internal) are important. If you’re reading self-help books/posts that focuses on only one type of change, it might be a good idea to expose yourself to books/posts that deals with the other type of change. Because they affect each other 🙂