“Hold yourself to the highest standard you can and watch the improvement pour as you struggle to reach it.”—Ryan Holiday
I talk, think about and do a lot of personal development. I like to change, evolve and become a better person, but sometimes I forget exactly in which ways I’m looking to develop myself. It’s easy to say we should “be the best version of ourselves” without really knowing what that entails.
The great thing is that we get to decide what the best version of ourselves is. Anything we do is a choice, so in a day we might realize we have time to either work out or read. We might be able to either learn a new craft or a new professional skill, and ultimately those things shape who we are and who we become. I’m neither wise nor stupid, I’m someone looking to learn. I’m neither in the best shape I possibly could nor overweight, I’m training every day to improve. There are things I could be doing instead of reading or working out. I could be writing for more hours a day than I do, I could be dedicating more time to my studies than I do.
Each and every person has the same amount of potential, what separates us as people is to which extent we can put this potential into the world. I would argue that anyone, and I do mean anyone, has the potential to near the top 5% of at least one particular activity, which is of course defined by their natural inclinations and opportunities. What gives us problems is forgetting that. What gives us the most trouble is choosing poorly and laying in bed with our smartphones all day and eating frozen pizza instead of getting up and learning to cook. It’s mindlessly surfing reddit instead of reading a book. It’s not choosing how we spend our time wisely.
We have very little time in this world. Our current culture is so disconnected from the idea of death that most don’t realize they will even die, until it hits a loved one (who even then will probably pass away in a hospital, away from everyone). Who can feel motivated to use their time in such a situation? When we all think we’re invincible?
It’s not our thoughts that shape who we are, it’s our actions. What we do today defines who we’ll be tomorrow. It’s only worth it to wonder about our futures and or who we could be as long as we also take actions today to become that person, to have that life we dream of.
Clarity in our thoughts is important, but I make a stronger case for clarity in our actions.