Many self-improvement books are available at Amazon. Self-improvement books

 

I.  The 1,2,3 of Self-improvement

  1. Accept that you need to grow stronger.
  2. Commit to your growth.
  3. Understand yourself.

Most of us have yet to reach our true potential. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Our lack of success is usually some combination of our strengths being too weak and our weaknesses being too strong. The combination is different for each of us. But, what we all have in common is that in order to achieve the success we desire we must grow stronger. Are you ready to accept your need to grow stronger?

What you want to achieve is valuable to you. Do you think anyone else wants to achieve the same thing? The answer is almost certainly yes. And there are likely to be a lot of people wanting the same thing. Can all of you achieve it? Probably not. So, who will achieve what you, and many others, want? Those who are the strongest. In order to greatly improve your chances of  success, you must commit to grow stronger. Are you ready to commit to your growth?

How will you know what your strengths and weaknesses are? We can help you see them. How will you know how to grow stronger? We can guide you. Will it take long? Probably. And if you are ambitious and wise, your growth will never end. Are you ready to learn about yourself?

Look for the next post “If I Could Do It All Over Again.”

WHEREVER YOU ARE, YOU CAN LEARN TO SUCCEED.

 

II.  If I Could Do It All Over Again

Imagine being in your 60’s looking back on your life. There are so many fond memories to recall and mentally revisit. You remember vacations, places lived, jobs, and family gatherings.

Recalling my earlier years, I could not forget sad times or bad times. The bad times for me were mostly those times when I disappointed myself and those who wanted to see me succeed. For me, those bad times are still an embarrassment.

It was a review of those bad times that prompted me to understand why I had failed so often. Remember that I was doing this years and years after some of those failures. And what had I continued to do all the time? Read and study what it took to succeed. During my examination of the many failures, I listed what I now thought caused me to fail each time. Every failure was MY fault. Every time my thinking was wrong.

Wrong thinking? Yes. I always had a fair amount of ability to learn in school and I thought that ability would take me to a successful life. I did not expect to be on the top but I knew I could do well. What I did not realize until late was that intelligence is seldom the key to success. It is often a disadvantage.

If you are shaking your head and wondering what is more important than intelligence, then you are about to learn what it took me almost 50 years to learn.

The most important quality for the achievement of success is:

      STRENGTH OF CHARACTER.

When I look at my high school classmates who have a doctorate, I do not believe either of them had more intelligence than me. But, it is obvious that each of them had a much stronger character than I had. That is what helped them attain success while I continued to fail.

If I could do it all over again, I would focus on developing a strong character. I would not obsess on what school told me was most important – names, dates, and equations.

My advice to you is to strengthen all aspects of your character. In doing so, you will give yourself a greater chance to achieve the success you desire.

If you are interested, I intend to write about STRENGTH OF CHARACTER.

WHEREVER YOU ARE NOW, YOU CAN LEARN TO SUCCEED.

 

III.  Strength of Character

As I have said, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Yours are not the same as mine or your best friend’s. Each of us, then, needs to look inward and honestly admit our weaknesses while admiring our strengths. Can you do that?

In my essay “If I Could Do It All Over Again” I made a  list of weaknesses I had over the years that kept me from achieving success.

1. Lack of good self-esteem
2. Lack of confidence
3. Lack of commitment
4. Lack of mental toughness
5. No vision of a successful life
6. Not enough self-discipline
7. Not enough desire to excel
8. I seldom worked long and hard.
9. I quit easily.

Perhaps you have some of these also. If not, you need to create your own list. Only in doing that can you start strengthening the parts of your character that are holding you back from success.

Before going any further, you absolutely must make your own list of strengths and weaknesses. Ask family, friends, and loved ones for help.

When you’ve done that take time to consider how much you want to overcome your weaknesses. Only when you are certain that you will work at improving yourself should you go to the next post: BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM.

WHEREVER YOU ARE NOW, YOU CAN LEARN TO SUCCEED.

 

IV.  Self-esteem

What is our self-esteem? It is the way we value ourselves. And it makes no difference whether or not it is true.

Do you know someone (often a female) who thinks she is fat or ugly when most people do not agree with her? Being fat or ugly is how she sees herself when she could be neither. This lpoor self-image leads to low eslf-esteem. In this case she does not value herself.  

I am reminded of many “American Idol” contestants who saw themselves as amazing singers when, in my opinion, they were far below average.

The truth can often be misplaced when we view ourselves. Too often we have been led to believe negative things about ourselves that are just not true. When that happens, our self-image, also called our self-esteem, is considered low.

People with low self-esteem hold too much doubt about what they are able to do. They have trouble believing they can accomplish anything difficult or challenging. They have trouble sticking with something. They have trouble making a commitment.

In a major task, you might know exactly what needs to be done but low self-image will prevent you from completing that task. Willpower usually does not work. It’s not strong enough. Let me give you another quote.

“A human being always acts and feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment.” Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his famous book Psycho-cybernetics.

When I looked back over my life, I finally realized that low self-esteem was the major cause of all my shortcomings. What caused the value I placed on myself to be low? That is very hard to decide.

Most professional opinion about self-image, self-esteem, is that our early childhood environment develops most of it. By the time we are five, six, or seven our self-image has pretty much been determined.

Exactly how? Again, that’s hard to decide. Oh, I have my ideas but since I am not a psychologist I will not speculate.
Most people with low self-esteem will be in my position. They will not know exactly why they feel badly about themselves. For some, seeking years of psychological help to understand is important. For me, it’s not.

The important thing for me is to determine how I can raise my self-esteem. What can I do to think better of myself? Even though I have grown much better in recent years, I still have to be careful.

When I find myself feeling negative, I try to stop myself and ask why. Even if it’s afterwards, I can still ask why I was feeling so bad. Only by going through this process for years have I improved so much.

The key has been, and still is, that I have to challenge a false idea I’ve had about myself. I have to present a truthful idea, believe it, and grow to accept it.

Sounds simple doesn’t it. Simple, yes; easy, no. It takes work and a long time to make a big difference. But, if I was able to do it, so can you.

First, start by rating yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, low to high, on your level of self-esteem. Second, take time to list the things you like and dislike about yourself. Also rate each of them from 1 to 10. Third, and most importantly, go over your list and ratings with someone who know you well. Have that person rate you on each quality. Now you should have a good idea of your individual qualities to work on.

WHEREVER YOU ARE NOW, YOU CAN LEARN TO SUCCEED.

 

V.  Self-image

It is no exaggeration to say that a strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.” Dr. Joyce Brothers

Your self-image controls what you think you can and cannot do. It helps determine how high or low you set your goals. A strong self-image can lead you to set high goals and achieve well. A weak self-image, however, can lead you to either set no goals or goals that are far beneath what you are able to accomplish. Achieving well is exciting and invigorating. Achieving little, when you have a lot of ability, is depressing and exhausting.

 How did you develop the self-image you have? All too often, there is not a simple answer to that. Your self-image was started when you were very young. It began as a reflection of how your family treated you, talked to you, and made you feel. If you were fortunate your family gave you reasons to think well of yourself. If you were unfortunate your family could have made you think badly of yourself. Either way, they probably had no idea of the influence they were having.

Your self-image continued to develop in school. Other children and teachers could have had a good or bad influence of your self-image. Children can be mean and perhaps you suffered from that. Or, maybe a teacher made you feel good about yourself. Different factors could have helped or hurt your self-image. How did you compare to the other students academically, athletically, financially, or socially? As much as these should not cause us to think well or badly of ourselves, they often do.

Almost never can we go back and pinpoint the causes of our self-image. There’s no reason to try to place blame on someone for causing you to feel badly about yourself. What you should do is decide to improve your self-image. We can all do it. Some of us might have an easier time than others do, but we can all improve our self-image. 

In Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s book Psycho-cybernetics he says, “Man alone can direct his success mechanism by the use of imagination, or imagining ability.” Then, he goes into detail explaining how a person can use imagination to gain success. It is a great book to have nearby so you can review it often.

In everyday life you seldom read or hear about self-image, so how important can it be? Most experts insist your self-image is a more accurate predictor of your success than your I.Q. That’s how important it is. Then why is it not talked about more? Very good question. That’s why we need to talk about it now.            

How do you see yourself? I don’t mean the person you see in your mirror; I mean the person you see in your mind. Not sure? Stop and take some quiet time. Close your eyes and think about your physical self. Who is the person you see? Next, think about your family self. Who is the person you see? Then, think about your job self. Who is the person you see? Finally, think about your future financial self. Who is the person you see?

Combine all of those pictures together and that is your self-image. Is that person one of strength, mediocrity, or weakness? Do you see a person strong in some areas and weak in others? Usually, we all have strong and weak areas of our personality. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the person you see – your self-image? It’s normal for most of us to want to improve at least one area, or part, of our self-image that is not yet strong. So, which area do you want to improve?

First, recall the image you had a minute ago in that area. Next, decide what you want that image to be. In your mind, imagine the person you want to be. Add in as many details as you can at this point. And now the most important part of your change.

Let me quote Maxwell Maltz again.  “Begin to imagine what the desirable outcome would be like. Go over these mental pictures and delineate details and refinements. Play them over and over to yourself.”

The key point here is to “Play them over and over to yourself.” Repeated efforts present an image to your mind that it works at reproducing in real life. Once it has gotten the message of what your new image should be, your subconscious mind guides you to act in accordance with that image.

Read another Maltz quote: “A human being always acts and feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment.” 

Isn’t it exciting! Change your self-image, really change it, and you will become that new person. You have to because your subconscious mind will make sure that you do. You won’t even have to think about it. Your subconscious does all of that for you.

That’s also why you have not yet been the best that you can be. Your self-image has not been great, probably not even good. So, it has been guiding you to be exactly like the self-image you’ve had. Again, experts agree that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world – your dominant thoughts.

You are where you are right now because your subconscious mind has directed you to act and feel and perform in a way that reflects the image you have had of yourself. If you’ve imagined yourself as a “fat slob,” guess what your subconscious did. It had you act in ways that reproduced that image. If you now change that image to a slim and strong person, guess what your subconscious will do. It will reproduce that image.

How quickly or slowly the change occurs will depend on two things. First, how intently you focus on that new image in detail. Second, how disciplined you are to follow the guidance given by your subconscious. If your inner voice says, “Do not eat that much pie.” You have to listen and act accordingly.

Want to change your life dramatically? Then change your thoughts dramatically. Want to be successful? Consistently think successful thoughts. Want to improve your body? Consistently think about a slimmer, stronger you. Just choose what you want, imagine it intently, think about it consistently and your subconscious will influence you to take the appropriate action to bring about what you want.

However you want to change, you have to mentally see that change. Imagine it over and over, in detail, and in time your subconscious will help bring it about. Of course there are exceptions. I’ve never heard of this type of thinking helping someone grow a foot taller or be able to fly like a bird.

Imagine what you could do if you had a strong self-image. You could have a strong, athletic body. You could be an exceptional father, mother, or child. You could be a top-notch employee. You could build an exceptional financial future for you and your family.

WHEREVER YOU ARE NOW, YOU CAN LEARN TO SUCCEED.

(Disclosure: If you buy any products through my Amazon link, I will earn a little money.)