The motivational memes that proliferate social media might tell you differently, but we do not just become awesome in our sheer existence. Many would have you believe you are perfect, beautiful and need no improvement just the way you are. As if we are just magically great and are without need of betterment the way we are. Those things are said or posted by well meaning people, but the reality is, we are not. Quite the contrary in my experience.
No one wakes up awesome. You are not perfect. Beauty is portrayed in your behavior. However, and this is the most important point of this article…
We all have the potential of being awesome.
Every single day you can improve something about yourself. I do not mean in the gym or with your training, though it does not disclude it. Hell, if most of the hard training people I know applied the same effort, discipline, and focus to their work and life they would be some of the most amazing humans to ever walked this Earth. Think about, if most of us worried about and prepared for our work or relationships with the same focus and intensity as we do our next training session, we would improve on both overnight. If we put the same work in as we do in the gym, on the trail, or at the track on being a productive member of society and adding to our fellow human’s lives as well as our own, we would wake up darn close to awesome.
Becoming “awesome” takes a dedicated effort on a very daily basis. Some days will undoubtedly be less fruitful than others. However there will always be something you can do to make yourself better than you were yesterday. Even if some days you only maintain and practice the improvements you made last week, you are doing well. Will Kuenze’s quote “Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.” comes to mind here.
Improving yourself requires an emphatic and deliberate approach. You have to be tenacious in adhering to the measures and methods you put into place for yourself. It begins with your thoughts. Every first step of progress does. Then you must identify that which you wish to improve. Make a plan on how to improve it. Then implement the plan to its potential and ultimately making it a daily habit. Maybe you are a list maker. Write them down, prioritize them in an outline if you must. Whatever the method you put into motion is better than the one you do not have now.
There is an idea floating about in our society that you should not criticize yourself. That is a completely bogus and horribly flawed mindset. To improve yourself, you must be your staunchest critic, your most judgmental friend. You are the only person who has the unique position of truly knowing yourself. I do not mean beat yourself up. Your critique and judgement must be objective and healthy in nature, but brutally realistic and honest. It is a not always easy. Actually, it can be a very difficult thing to assess your own shortcomings and address them with corrective actions. We are capable of it, we just have to want it.
In the military, we use an After Action Review (AAR) model for identifying what can be improved. I employ it to everything aspect of my life. An AAR should be structured, formal even, and thoroughly analyze all aspects of the fault and how it can be improved. They always include, but are not limited to:
What is the aspect in need of improvement?
What is the current situation?
How can you make it better?
How can you sustain your improvement(s)?
Each should be outlined in detail.
Google the term “after action review” and you will find a ton of templates, both military format and many civilianized versions derived from the military.
I also highly suggest you begin your self-improvement outline with the simple questions: Who? What? When? Where? and Why? Thoroughly answers each of those and you can be on your way to betterment.
If the memes help keep you focused, great. You just have to know posting them to social is not a real action that will lead to your goals or your new and improved, awesome self. I have said before greatness does not imply, and never is, perfection. We can all be better people.