Before diving into changing anything, all self-development is rephrasing a few blunt facts:
- Other people have hurt you, and it’s now your problem to fix inside yourself.
- Nobody cares about you as much as you do, with the possible exception of God.
- You’re fully responsible for what you do, even when you’re unaware, no excuses.
- You’re currently reaping what Past You did, and Future You will feel what you do today.
- The limit of what you can do for you is how much you believe in you.
- Pain is always a sign that something is at risk, but that might be a good thing.
- You can do almost anything on these guides, no matter how daunting they feel, once you’re past the first frustrating parts.
Your journey is unique to you because your problems and the order you attack them will be unique.
Aim for Adequacy
It doesn’t really matter where you start. Changing something will ripple out to everything else, and you’ll soon find that accomplishing a later objective required the cumulative skills of the previous years’ worth of training before it.
You’re already “good” at some things, which you can spread across others to become “adequate” at everything:
- Being highly organized and happy can compensate for poor communication skills.
- Cooking and cleaning well can provide a decent-enough home, even if you can’t manage your time.
- Having tenacious perseverance and scrappiness can make up for terrible goal-setting.
- Great communication skills can often offset being a barely functioning parent.
When you’re not good at something, your consequences get way worse as you get older. This also makes meaningful results harder as you age, too.
Don’t set high standards. I know from personal experience that, like most people, I suck at many things. Working at failings makes your more redeeming qualities shine brighter, but you typically won’t become the master with something you’re not naturally talented with.
Don’t Waste Your Time
Please do not read things you’re already proficient on. I didn’t write this to be particularly entertaining, so please browse my other stuff instead. I’m occasionally updating and adding Guides, but you should outgrown this content if I’ve succeeded.
To save you the trouble of scrolling in impatience, I’ve also added a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) version of what to do.
Focus on only 1 very easy, specific thing that takes less than 2 minutes to perform. Premeditate what you will do: “When X happens, I will do Y”.
Stay consistent. If you do one small thing every day, you’ll move faster than if you do a big thing once in a while.
Set reasonable goals that you believe you can achieve. Go after bigger ones after you do those. Only try to do what you know you can achieve.
Always parse out your observations, feelings, needs, and desires, and never simply say “I should do [thing]”:
- We have a nasty habit of driving ourselves to misery through constant self-deception about who we are.
- Instead, divide out your desires into the syntax of “[Observation] has happened, which makes me feel [Feeling]. I need [Need]. Therefore, I now would like to [Desire].”
- e.g., “I lost my job, which makes me feel worthless. I need a new job. Therefore, I now would like to search for a job.
- However, our mental habits from our past often complicate this:
- e.g., “I lost my job, which makes me feel worthless. I need a new job, which I don’t believe I can accomplish, and I have had trouble in the past, and hate myself.
- The solution is to take it step-by-step and divide it out slowly:
- e.g., “I lost my job, which makes me feel worthless. I need a new job, which I don’t believe I can accomplish…(STOP)
- “I don’t believe I can accomplish the job hunt, which makes me depressed. I need a new job, but it’s hopeless…(STOP)
- “I feel hopeless because I don’t believe I can work for anyone.
- [therefore, I must change my belief about my incompetence]
If you don’t know where to start, here are some mix-and-match examples.
If you grew up in a good home:
- Learn how to succeed and stay humble.
- Discover many ways to save money.
- Develop cooking and basic housekeeping skills.
- Improve your speaking and writing skills.
- Learn to manage conflicts well and detect liars.
- Learn how to easily move and decorate/improve your house.
- Develop good party-throwing skills.
- Learn relationship skills, including dating and having a wedding.
If you’re a high school student or just starting out from your parents’ home:
- Get the right attitude about life.
- Learn about college and how to find a career.
- Find out what your parents should have been doing to not repeat their mistakes.
- Discover the parts of dating and marriage your parents didn’t tell you.
- Learn why managing money is important, especially on debt and budgeting.
- Find out how to spot good friends.
- Learn to cook for yourself.
- Learn basic first aid.
- Learn how to easily move.
- Get a general idea of how computers work.
- Get yourself organized and learn basic housekeeping.
If you’re starting your family or building your career:
- Learn what really makes happiness and how to maintain it.
- Learn why managing money is important, healthy debt and budgeting, and how to save money on everything.
- Work on your image, learn tact, and build your speaking and writing skills.
- Learn how to find a career, sell your career, and interview.
- Plan a good wedding.
- Learn basic first aid.
- Learn how to get enough sleep.
- Expand your creativity and improve your memory.
- Learn how to move without too much misery.
- Learn how to have children and raise them correctly.
If you’re coming out of a divorce:
If you feel like a washed-out failure or stuck in a rut:
- Find satisfaction in good things, awareness of yourself, and learn to get enough sleep.
- Explore what success is, the right attitude you need, and worthwhile goals to pursue.
- Learn how to manage money, especially on debt and budgeting.
- Learn how to find a rewarding career and make a good impression to employers.
- If you have kids, learn how to release them to the world.
- Discover why people skills matter and how to make good friends.
- Work on your weight and diet and learn to cook for yourself.
- Learn to be more creative, organize yourself, maintain your house, and decorate it.
- Discover how to improve your memory.
- Get a pet.
If you feel like you never seem to have fun:
If you think nobody cares about you:
If you’re coming out of prison or grew up on the streets:
- Make goals and learn to persevere against hardship.
- Learn why managing money is important, especially with debt.
- Learn hygiene on the outside, good boundaries, and which friends to choose.
- Work heavily on your speaking and writing.
- Understand how computers work.
- Expand your creativity, especially about your need for a legal job.
- Learn basic housekeeping and decorating your home.
- Learn how to find a job and handle homelessness.
- Find out what weddings are all about and the right way to raise kids.
If you’re coming clean from an addiction:
- Learn self-awareness and how to be happy.
- Self-regulate your hygiene and sleep.
- Start setting reasonable goals and learn to persevere.
- Learn how to find a career.
- Learn how to manage money, especially with debt and budgeting.
- Understand why people skills matter and focus on making new, better friends.
- Build your conflict management and lie detection skills.
- Work on your weight and diet, and learn to cook for yourself.
- Get yourself organized and clean your home.
- Learn responsibility by getting a pet.
Keep at it!
You can accomplish this. I promise. I don’t know you, but you obviously care to improve yourself because you’re reading this, which is more important than what you were born or raised with. Attitude is the most important thing, not aptitude.
Slow is smooth, smooth is steady, steady is fast. Aim for precision more than results. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nothing worth doing is quick.
And, if you have all of those worked out, there are many specific skills modern society adds onto this.