Top 10 Ways To Improve Yourself

by Mark Ivar Myhre on January 6, 2009

Let me share an embarrassing story with you.  I’m sitting in the airport terminal waiting for my flight.  I’ll be changing planes in Las Vegas before heading on to the West Coast.

I’m looking around the lounge at all my soon-to-be fellow passengers.  One guy in particular stands out; a blustery, boorish man bedecked in gaudy jewelry and loud clothes.

“Ha ha. I hope I don’t sit next to that guy!”,  I was thinking.

Well, you know the rest of that story…

Sure enough, I end up on an aisle seat with the buffoon in the middle next to me.  And the airplane’s full, so I have no chance of moving.  At least he wasn’t sweaty.

I immediately constructed an imaginary wall between the two of us and by some miracle he must’ve sensed it.  He starts blathering to the poor soul in the window seat. Meanwhile, I’m mentally welding some extra steel rebar to my wall.  Just in case.

It’s a long flight from Florida.  In spite of myself, I hear his story.  He’s a high-roller in Vegas.  He owns a big construction company.  He loves to party.  He’s big, he’s obnoxious, and he’s still not sweating.  Amazing.

Eventually the guy next to the window starts melting into his seat.  Right on cue, the buffoon turns to me.  I guess verbally beating one man into submission wasn’t enough.

“So what do you do?”

It sounded more like a challenge than a query.  I don’t know why I felt intimidated.  Maybe it was due to the ease with which he breached my imaginary wall.  I knew I shoulda added more rebar.

“Uh… I write about self-improvement.” I muttered; already not liking where this conversation was going.

Self improvement?!” he sneered.  “That’s all a bunch of crap.  Tell me how to improve myself!”

Great.  No matter what I say he’s just waiting to tear it apart.  I mumbled something about feeling your feelings and being more aware of your thoughts.

“That’s it?!”

He looked incredulous.  I really hadn’t given him enough to sink his teeth into, so after a few sneers (just for good measure) he wandered off into his own mind.  Which, I would imagine, resembled the cold, dry, lonely Nevada desert we were slowly approaching.

The time seemed to drag on forever, but eventually we reached Las Vegas. My antagonist strutted away to the bright lights and glitter while I continued westward.

But my little contretemps – my embarrassing encounter – has stayed fresh in my mind ever since.  I’ve spent way too much time thinking about what I ‘coulda’ said or ‘woulda’ said or ‘shoulda’ said… if only I’d been prepared.  If only I’d taken the time.  If only…

It’s been a few years now.  And if I could give my best advice, here it is.

The Top Ten Ways To Improve Yourself:

1. Process your emotions.

Get some paper.  Get something to write with.  Get somewhere quiet.  And get to writing!  Nothing compares to free-association writing when it comes to learning more about yourself.  It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s free – and it really works!

For more details, review the free e-book – The Emotional Healing Quick Start Guide.

2. Question your assumptions.

The next time you find yourself with a difficult situation or problem, you might want to stop and look at your underlying assumptions.  We’re so skeptical of everyone else and their assumptions, but we never stop to look at our own.

What are you assuming about your problem?  What is so obvious it doesn’t need to be examined?

I can’t overstate the value of looking at your assumptions.  Your life functions out of what you assume to be true.  If you find your faulty assumptions and change them, your life will change.  Often with little additional effort.

All problems, as well as all success, rest on your assumptions.

3. Know your story.

Everyone creates a ‘little story’ to explain why things are as they are.  The little story justifies and rationalizes a mediocre life.  It explains your limitations: why you’re not more successful, why life is a struggle, why you’re in pain.

Why not get out your paper and pen and write out your story of how outside influences and outside authorities have forced you to live a life below your potential?

If you’ll get it out on the table and stop hiding it, then you can get about the business of changing it.

4. Feel your feelings.

It sounds so obvious.  And it is.  But as a society we’ve been taught and conditioned almost from birth to block, stuff, repress, depress and manipulate our feelings.

We end up with imaginary, man-made fabricated emotions rather that real, genuine ones.  Genuine emotion makes you more powerful.  It enlivens and exhilarates.  Imaginary emotion hurts you and limits you.

To heal, you need to feel.

5. Heal your past.

Many people live in the past because they’re using it for some hidden reason… usually to punish themselves or others.

It takes energy to keep the past alive.  It makes you weaker and robs you of power.

The best way to heal your past involves forgiving yourself.

Forgiveness paves the way for change and healing.  As you heal your past you become like a fountain; allowing more love, power, aliveness and self-acceptance to flow through you.

6. Release your payoffs.

The main reason we don’t get what we say we want is because of our payoffs – the secret energies we really want instead.

Examples of payoffs include self-pity, manipulation, blaming, and avoiding something.  We might say we want success, when we really want to feel sorry for ourselves or blame someone for our failure.  Or perhaps we want to avoid responsibility.

Payoffs come in all shapes and sizes.  For more information on what they are and how to deal with them, refer to the e-book How To Create Your Own Reality

7. Embrace your responsibility.

You’re always being responsible.  Or rather, some part of you must be responsible at all times.

While you’re sleeping your subconscious mind runs the show.  But what about when you’re awake?  Who’s in charge then?  Who’s responsible for your day-to-day existence?

Who makes the choices and decisions in your life?

Most people force their ego or inner child to inner adolescent to take charge. But if you don’t know what your ego or inner child sounds like or acts like, how would you even know?

You can learn more about these different ‘aspects of you’ in the e-book How To Create Your Own Reality .

They’re also covered in the Forgiveness Manual.

8. Seek your spirituality.

Everyone has a spirituality;  a relationship with their Creator.  The more you seek it out, the richer your life becomes.

You don’t have to do it alone.  You don’t have to be alone.  In fact, you never are.  From my experience, reality is only a thin veneer – an illusion.  Beyond the illusion stands an infinite, divine love.

The older I get the more I realize the value of love and spirituality.  I seek to make spirituality my only priority in this lifetime.

9. Build your value.

Ultimately, value comes from knowing you’re loved by your Creator.  But while we’re waiting for that ‘knowing’,  your personal value consists of seven parts: awareness, worth, esteem, love, confidence, respect and realization.

For an introductory look at personal value go to Build Your Personal Value .

For the complete, in-depth look at how you build your self-esteem, go to Self Esteem Secrets .

10. Enhance your mindfulness.

When I say ‘mindfulness’ I mean greater awareness of your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions.

What am I thinking?  What am I feeling?  What am I doing? Simply becoming more aware of what’s going on in your heart, in your head, and in your environment can lead to numerous benefits.

Mindfulness exists as an integral part of self-improvement.  Maybe I should’ve listed it first, because without mindfulness it’s hard to make much progress on these other activities.

At any rate, I consider this a list of the most important actions we can engage in to improve our lives.  And if I’d been more mindful myself, then maybe I would’ve thought to ask that clown on the airplane:

“Hey, if you’re so special, why are you back here in coach with us commoners?  Why aren’t you flying first class?”

See how valuable it is to be mindful?

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