In Million Dollar Consulting, Alan Weiss makes a key point early --
If you improve 1% each day, you double in ability roughly every 70 days.
I've found this method-- incremental improvement -- is very easy to increase by focusing on it.
There's always dozens of little things you could do, that you likely don't bother doing. And probably for good reason -- they're little tiny things.
But, dedicating to grabbing 1% regularly goes a long, long ways.
I grabbed a new mini-notebook recently and I'm going to write down one structural improvement each day. Who knows with a method like this -- it might be great, or it might fizzle out after a week or two. But I've always liked the idea, and I'm thinking there'll be some gains in it, regardless of if it gets added to the general toolbox or not.
I do something similar, my daily journal only has one question that really has to be answered, "Was I better today than I was yesterday?"
There's a few other things in it but that's the most important one that I try to make sure always gets answered before I go to bed.
I can't remember what book it was from but you can relate it to your life as a whole or down to the level or a single project you're working on. Knowing I have to answer that every night has made me consciously try to find some small area to improve in everyday.
Nice. If improving yourself is too intangible, how about improving your systems 1% each day. i.e. personal/business processes. "Work the System" is a great book that gets into that, but I hadn't seen the 1%/day = double in 70 days result. That's awesome!
The problem with this philosophy, I've found, is that most of my self-improvement measures either aren't very effective or get abandoned at some point for some reason. Only a few really stick around for the long run.
Just wanted to drop a quick line, thanking you for so many interesting posts. I also have a few (hopefully) brief questions for you.
When you have several things to work on, how do you choose between them? I typically go back and forth, thinking that this one or that one is what I actually want to do. The problem is that none of these projects are small. And constantly changing my mind means that nothing gets done.
When you have a wide variety of interests, how do you choose what to spend your time on? Like I said, I go back and forth a lot. I'm only now taking a piano class (my second) because I forced myself to. Making myself take first aid type courses this summer as well, but there are a LOT of things I want to do. Art, more music, more programming (I'm a software developer), writing, and so on.
How can you fit your interests into the day when you have work, trying to find someone to start a family with, trying to keep healthy, and taking time to relax? The only way I can see it is to try to combine as many as you can into each activity. For example, find a job that keeps you active, do a relaxing social activity, and such.
Self Improvement is a beaten up term. Such a pure and noble meaning, yet it's been dragged through the mud to connotate seminars in low end hotel conference rooms and people who chant, "I manifest everything for life's highest purpose", but live otherwise unremarkable lives.
Self improvement has a stigma to it. It's embarrassing to be into it. So embarrassing, in fact, that some of its modern day figureheads have tried to rename it. Personal Development. Lifestyle Design. Self Actualization. Fluffy euphemisms, some of which admittedly do sound pretty cool.
But I'll come out and say it. I love self improvement. I don't need to call it anything else,I like it for what it is.