Self-improvement, a word that holds a positive charge in the current system and usually this word is defined as an individual experience. In-fact, much of our system is based on self-improvement, where each individual strives to improve themselves in some facet or area of their life, and oftentimes, from within and as the starting point of competition. This is what I have seen for myself, looking back at my life, I can see that my drive to improve myself has been competition, and my satisfaction, as to whether I feel that I have been able to accomplish an improvement or not, has been the feedback and positive critique from others, mainly teachers.
It is hence interesting to see that I have come to define my strengths and weaknesses on the premise of whether I have felt that I have been more improved in comparison others, and been successful in achieving notoriety in competition with others. For example in school, the subjects that I pushed myself in, and within which the teachers and my parents gave me positive recognition, that was also the subjects I was able to do better than others, where I could feel like a winner; a process walked solely for my own gain. And when I succeeded to do something better than another, that would signify that I had reached my goal and that I could now be satisfied. As such, I would push a subject until I achieved that point of recognition, then I would let it go. I did not consider, that perhaps, if I just do enough to win, I will never really be able to discover and see my full potential. Because, fact is that in order to achieve real greatness in any given subject, skill or ability, I cannot accept and allow myself to compare and compete – because then I will stop pushing myself the moment I feel that I have won – though perfection is not something that can be reached only because I have won.
And this brings me back to self-improvement, because I want to discuss a new and expanded definition of self-improvement, where self-improvement is not done for self, or at least, not only for self, but rather for the benefit of everyone – and hence – is not limited by winning or losing. As such, the drive to improve is not anymore to succeed against others, the drive to improve is instead to be able to give more. An example would be a carpenter that is pushing his professional skills, and he does that because he sees that as a master carpenter, he will be able to produce better houses that will be more supportive to its inhabitants. As such, his starting point for mastering carpentry is so that he will be able to give back – he does not want to win, or prove himself – he wants to be able to give the best that he can be – to as such enhance this world and make it better. From within that starting point, there is no limitations, because only the carpenter can decide when he has reached his full potential.
Instead of walking self-improvement from a starting point of self-interest, it can be something we do as a way of contributing to what is best for all. Accordingly, we would also celebrate anyone that is able to improve themselves, as opposed to feeling threatened by them, as we would see/understand that when someone improves upon themselves and becomes better, this is something that will impact positively on everyone. Competition thus, should be seen as the way which we spur each-other to improve, though not for the sake of winning, but for the sake of being able to contribute more, to make more of a difference, and to be a part of creating a world that is truly supportive for everyone.
This is the solution I see that I am going to apply in order to stop myself from getting stuck in a state of competition, and in that only take my skills and abilities to the point where I feel like I am winning – I am going to push myself to improve, expand and grow, because I see, that the more I grow as an individual, the more I will be able to give back, and that in turn will impact on this world positively.