How to improve yourself? A guide to mindset before improving yourself.
Congratulate yourself for searching this query of “How to improve on yourself?” I am saying this because you identified your mistakes from your past. And now you want to learn about how to make your future bright by taking actions in the present.
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground.”
The best way to bring improvement in oneself is the path of staying true to yourself and grounded spiritually. Then only a person can become a better person than the previous day and achieve what he wants.
How can I improve myself?
Before answering the question -how can I improve myself? I want to discuss the approach before setting onto the journey of self-improvement.
Every self-improvement book asks you to win your internal battles before winning the external conflicts. Let us take into consideration the diagram below:
There is always a source of stimulus, for which we do need to make a choice, i.e. whether it be reacting to it or just ignoring.
The explanation of this model is available on three levels of our existence- external, intermediate and inner. These insights will help us gain a better understanding of how we make unconscious choices and rectify the tendency.
The External Self
The external self is the physical body in front of the mirror. The five senses are the portals through which we interact with the world. These senses inert in themselves because they are also present in a dead person since their functions become inactive after once a person is dead.
- Senses aren’t our identity
The same group of chemicals are present in both the dead and alive person. But what differs between them?
- Senses are limited
A human eye can see between the frequency of 400-700nm. A human ear can hear between 20Hz to 20,000Hz. In case of tongue, eating beyond 4-5 rasgullas might make your taste buds go numb and make you feel nauseous.
All the senses have their limits and are imperfect.
- Senses connected with mind
There is a connection with all the senses to the mind, just like various hardware components to the microprocessor.
The first step towards improving yourself should be about staying distraction-free to have self-control. Abstinence from stimuli will keep us away from distractions.
Now let us dive a little deeper and learn about it.
The Intermediate Self:
The intermediate self is the conscience; this is the decision making faculty to us from god. We can classify this into three more levels:
The experiences we receive from our senses are stored in mind as impressions. These impressions give rise to love, hate, passion, attachment etc.
Few points on the nature of the mind:
- Mind is fickle and unsteady
The mind is like a monkey jumping from one branch to another. It also shifts its focus from one idea to another. It is restless and turbulent
- Mind is powerful
Just like the water in the dam, it must be channelized appropriately. Less flow can cause drought, and more of it will cause floods. Likewise, the distracted mind can cause miseries like depression and sex addiction.
For him who has conquered his mind, it’s the best of his friends. But who has failed to do so will remain the greatest enemy.
- Mind is always active
The mind tries to engage the senses according to the ideas of conception it carries.
- Mind is conditioned
The mind is like a white cloth; it can be dyed in any colour we choose. Whatever we identify with, it gets conditioned accordingly.
- Mind is limited
The horizon of the experiences it collect limits the mind. For example, one can imagine a bicycle made from diamond.
The mind is not our real identity.
Intelligence plays the role of scrutinizing the thoughts in our mind. It checks if the ideas are beneficial or harmful based on the knowledge it has in it. The mind is volatile, but intelligence is steady.
The framing of our reasoning, our intellectual ability to discriminate and evaluate comes by what we gather from our senses. And through wisdom literature we gain wisdom, giving us the prudence to make right choices.
Few points about the nature of the intelligence:
- Intelligence is superior to the mind
With the influence of intelligence, one can control or subdue the mind.
The mind gives unreasonable proposals for self-indulgence, but if intelligence is reliable, it is possible to remain determined.
- Intelligence can be conditioned
Intelligence evaluates, reasons and rationalizes based on the identity we pursue.
- Wisdom nourishes intelligence
Intelligence is nourished by wisdom literature like Bhagavad Gita, Bible, Quran etc. It’s a fact that those who gain wisdom through such books are better equipped to make wise decisions through intelligence.
- Intelligence is limited
Whatever logic you may provide, there is a counter logic to it. Intelligence has a limit by the amount of knowledge we possess. Therefore it’s imperfect because it has a tendency to get illusioned and cheat on others.
- Intelligence is not real identity
We, as decision-makers are aloof even from our intelligence. Intelligence gives several reasons to not act on it, and we do still indulge if we want to.
Keep the mind in the mode of goodness and not allow the mind to become conditioned by pleasure paradigm. We need to gain self Confidence to fight distractions through goodness.
According to what we identify with, our minds create a conception of the self( Who am I? What is mine?). And our intelligence develops the support system of ‘reasoning’ (I am’ and ‘This mine’) based on conception.
There are two types of identities we superimpose ourselves with:
- Real: The inner self, being the source of value, drives our entire system towards Service Paradigm, which is natural for us.
- Imaginary: Our misidentification with physical exterior makes us enjoy through mind, body and intelligence. And get conditioned by the pleasure paradigm, which is unnatural to us.
The Inner Self:
We did get to know that we aren’t our physical body, mind and intelligence. Through reasoning and experience we now understand there is an inner self which is close to consciousness, the source of life which animates the body and mind.
All the wisdom literature like Bhagavad Gita, Bible, Quran define this inner self as ‘atma’ or ‘spirit soul’.
Bhagavad Gita explains the working senses to be superior to dull matter; mind higher than the senses; intelligence higher than the mind and the spirit soul is even higher than the intelligence.
Here we compare the body with the chariot, which has five horses like the five senses. Intelligence is the rider of the chariot, and the mind is the reins controlling the horses. And the soul is the occupant of the chariot, giving the directions to the driver. This chariot of the body is meant for the soul to fulfil the desired objective.
When the mind is controlled, horses(senses) run in various directions causing distractions from the goal. But a reliable driver can check the horses to go astray; similarly, keen intelligence can control his mind and senses.
A good driver follows the orders of the passenger and takes the chariot to the desired destination. In the same manner, keen intelligence identifies itself with the soul and obeys its decision.
When Intelligence, Mind and Soul identify with the soul, they serve the soul’s desire. And it reaches the desired destination. Now if we can utilize the potential of the soul- the spiritual power, then it’s effortless to stay aloof from any sort of distraction in life.
Identifying yourself with the soul is the path to make a shift from Selfish Paradigm to Service Paradigm. This paradigm shift is the portal to self-improvement.
The daily self-improvement points which can become as the part of daily routine for everyone.
To become rich, one needs to start investing in multiplying his income. Before investing, one should plug the holes of unnecessary expenses.
- Similarly, one should adopt NoFap for beginners and NoFap hard mode, aka semen retention for experienced ones. The hard mode will act as a force multiplier in every aspect of your life.
- Wake up before sunrise. Not only does it resets the Circadian rhythm of your body but it also provides extra time in the day to work on your daily schedule.
- Move your body.
- Commit yourself into strength training because it toughens and strengthens your mind along with your body to carry out tough tasks—three sessions per week.
- Do aerobics, i.e. which involves intensive functioning of your lungs like HIIT or playing sports like football or basketball. 2 sessions per week.
- With the above two activities draining you out of energy and stiffening your muscles. Commit yourself into meditation and yoga every day to relax from the stresses throughout the present or previous day.
- Journal your thoughts and activities for the day with pen and paper. It effectively unloads the ideas from the mind and helps you sleep better.
- Plan your upcoming day so that you can pounce upon with energy and without distractions.
- Do not touch your phone right after waking up and going to sleep. Keep a gap of 2 hours each.
- Read a book every day, which enriches your imagination or makes you think against your mindset. Daily reading helps the brain to make new neural pathways, thereby preventing ageing of the brain.
- Write a set of affirmations, read them before starting the work and before going to bed. Recalling them helps in keeping the mind and heart in a stable state, thereby improving whatever you are going to do.
- Taking baths with cold water in the morning helps the body to come out of a relaxed state and improve blood flow in the body to do daily chores.
- Warm water bath in the latter half of the day relaxes the body. Bathing helps in slipping into sleep quickly and cures insomnia.
- Do intermittent fasting six days a week. Fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours. Try to consume all your meals in this 8 hours of the window. It will prevent diabetes and promote growth hormone production.
- Do 24 hours of fast once a week. It helps to provide rest to your gut and enhances neurogenesis in the nervous system.
- Dopamine fasting once in 3 months will help you in recovering from social media addiction.
- Lastly, but most importantly, consume a balanced diet with whole-grain foods. Cut on processed food is a must. Otherwise, it will backfire along with fasting a significant time.
Thank you for reading until the end. Hope it helps you improve and become the best version yourself.
To share everything with you that I’ve learnt to help me get my life back on the track in various aspects of life. Be patient with yourself. Self-Growth is tender.