Three Things I Would Change About Myself Essay

Are you expecting better results in your life? Do you want to achieve more in your career and relationships? I think most people do (and I’m no exception, of course). Most people want to be more successful in whatever they do.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get the results we want. We may work hard without ever getting them. That happened in my life and, in reflection, I realize why it happened. There is a quote by Albert Einstein that helps me understand:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

That’s exactly what’s wrong with me:

I did things the same way

I might work hard, but I did things the same way. How could I expect different results then?

The solution is obvious:

I must change the way I do things

Changing the way we do things is one of the most difficult things to do. When we do something for the first time, we try to find a rhythm and adapt ourselves to it. But once we adapt to it, we become comfortable and there is inertia that hinders us from change.

Here I’d like to share ten essential things you should change in your life to get what you want. For each point below, I also give you practical tips in the form of action lists. Here they are:

1. Change your priorities

This is important if you want to live a balanced, fulfilling life. Many people are successful in their career but don’t have good relationships with their spouse or family because of wrong priorities. They put things like money and reputation above their relationships. Don’t let it happen to you. You should put relationships as your top priority.

Another important point is to put your passion above money. When you encounter a situation in your life where you must choose between money and passion, choose passion. Having a fulfilling life is more important than having a lot of money.

Action list:

  • Make (not find) time for your loved ones. Allocate certain blocks of time for your loved ones and defend them ruthlessly.
  • Find the intersection between what matter to you and your personal strengths. You may want to make one list for each and find similar items in both lists. These are your passions you should focus on. Then make time for them. Aim to develop your competences so that you can provide value to others.

2. Change your self-talk

Your self-talk has significant influence in your life. When you say that something is bad, you will – either consciously or not – develop a negative attitude toward it. Look at these statements:

  • I hate doing this.
  • I’m not creative.
  • The situation is too difficult to solve.

Can you feel how such statements influence your attitude? You won’t have positive, winning attitude with this kind of self-talk. The opposite is also true. When you say that something is good, you will develop a positive attitude toward it. Compare the previous statements with these:

  • I love it!
  • I’m creative and talented.
  • The situation is challenging and fun to solve.

Can you feel the difference?

Action list

  • Watch your mind closely. What does it say about something or someone?
  • Is it negative? If the answer is yes, find a different angle and craft a positive statement in your mind.
  • Speak out the positive statement in your mind,
  • Next time when you encounter the negative self-talk again, quickly replace it with the positive one.

3. Change your motivation

Motivation is the reason why we do things. It gives us the power to move and work. You can significantly change the way you do things simply by changing your motivation.

I like to see motivation through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. There are eight levels of needs there (from the lowest to the highest): physical, security, belonging, esteem, learning, aesthetic, self-actualization, and transcendence. Our motivation is always to meet one or more of these needs. The way to change your motivation is to upgrade your motivation to higher levels in the hierarchy. For example, if your motivation to work is money (which resides in either physical or esteem level), you can upgrade it to helping others (transcendence level).

Action list

  • Read Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
  • Find at what level your motivation currently is.
  • Look at higher levels and for each of them imagine how it will be like to work with that motivation.
  • Take one or two that resonate with you and set them as your new motivation.
  • Replace your self-talk. If previously you say to yourself “I do this because I want to (low-level motivation)”, change it to “I do this because I want to (higher-level motivation)”. For example, replace “I do this because I want to earn money” with “I do this because I want to help people.”
  • Act as if you already internalize your new motivation. Continuing the example in previous point, act as if you genuinely want to help others.

4. Change your habits

Is there any bad habit that holds you back? If the answer is yes, then you should break the bad habit and replace it with a good one. For instance, perhaps you have the habit of rising late. But – since many people testify that early morning the most productive time – that means that you lose the most productive time of the day. You can get better results simply by replacing the old habit with a new habit of rising early.

Action list

  • Take one new habit you want to build and do it every day for at least 30 days without fail.
  • Find people to share your progress with. Accountability will make it much easier for you to adopt the new habit.
  • Reward yourself along the way. It will motivate you to move forward.

5. Change your friends

Changing your friends doesn’t mean discarding your current friends. No, what I mean here is you should change the friends who influence you or, in other words, your close friends. Find close friends who can encourage, equip, and challenge you to move to the next level. If your friends currently do not meet this criterion, find new friends who do. Interact with them and you are more likely to come out as champions in life. Remember, winners breed winners.

Action list

  • Join a professional organization in your field.
  • Join a good social organization (for example, a church) to meet positive people in your area.
  • Join an online forum in your field or a field you are interested in.

6. Change your commitments

You may have commitments in your life that don’t add value to your life. Perhaps you take too many roles or responsibilities. Most likely, some of them just take your resources away from doing the most rewarding ones. You should change your commitments in such a way that you get the most out of your time.

Action list

  • List your roles and sort them from the most rewarding one to the least.
  • Look at the least rewarding roles and ask yourself: Can I eliminate this? If the answer is no, ask the second question: How can I delegate this?
  • For the remaining roles, list your responsibilities for each role, and again, sort them from the most rewarding one to the least.
  • For each responsibility, ask the two questions again.

7. Change your inputs

Your inputs determine your outputs. There is no way you can get high-quality outputs if you feed your mind with low-quality inputs. So watch your inputs carefully. What programs do you watch on TV? What books, magazines, or blogs do you read? Discard the low-quality inputs and replace them with high-quality ones.

Action list

  • Turn off your TV (except for a few special programs).
  • Assess the value you get from each input stream (like blogs, books, and magazines) regularly. Does it give you enough value? If the answer is no, then discard it.
  • Visit Recommended for You page at Amazon. The page gives book recommendations that are tailored to your preferences. You will get better recommendations if you actively rate books you have read.
  • Read classic books. These books have passed the test of time.

8. Change your methods

You may have done something for years that you forget there are new, more efficient methods to do it. For example, can you imagine writing a document with a typing machine while everyone has used computer?

It’s essential to monitor your field continuously and adopt new methods that are available. Of course, you should be careful not to try every method. Take only the proven ones.

Action list

9. Change your intensity

Perhaps you do not work intense enough these days. If you want to produce more in a given period of time, you need to increase your work intensity. You should increase your focus and energy in doing your tasks. Learn to work intensely for certain period of time and then take true rest before starting another session of intense work.

Action list

  • When you are about to work, turn off your cell phone (or at least put it to silent mode).
  • Close all unnecessary windows in your computer.
  • Set a target duration to work and don’t stop before time is up.

10. Change your way of spending

Money is an important resource and the way you spend it will significantly affect the results you get in life. Instead of falling into the trap of consumerism, spend your money to buy asset. Use your money to invest in your future.

Action list

Depending on your circumstances, you may want to:

  • Buy books. Point 8 above has tips on how to find good books.
  • Attend seminars.
  • Take a degree.
  • Hire an assistant so that you can focus on your core competences.

* * *

It will be much better if you have the habit of changing. By having the habit of changing, you will change constantly and not just occasionally. To build the habit of changing you should:

  1. Be aware of how you do things
    Don’t work and live on autopilot. Take a moment to stop and observe how you do things.
  2. Continually find something you can change
    From your observation, try to find what you can change. They may be some of the ten things above.
  3. Write your findings in a journal
    Don’t waste your time by finding the same thing twice. Record whatever you find. I prefer electronic journal because it’s searchable, but you can use paper-based journal if you want to.
  4. Take the first step to change
    The first step is the most difficult to take since you need to overcome initial inertia. The action lists above gives you some possible first steps you can take.

Do you have any thoughts?

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Published on June 25, 2008

One of the most unpleasant feelings one can experience in life is being discontent with oneself. Whereas we are prone to notice negative features in other people, we rarely turn our eyes on ourselves to critically evaluate our behavior or personal qualities. But if we do, we can notice many traits within ourselves we would not like to be there. I try to stay tolerant towards the majority of my personality features. Though, simultaneously with my positive qualities, I can be a lazy, irresponsible, apathetic downer. I learned to live with these and other drawbacks; but the trait that I would enjoy getting rid of is my tendency to doubt my decisions.

It is human nature to doubt ourselves from time to time. Imagine the situation when the five best universities in the United States are willing to have you as their student. This is one chance in a million, and you know this decision could define your entire life. Most likely, you will not randomly point your finger at one of them and say: “I will study here” (well, not immediately, at least). Instead you will conduct serious research, figuring out the advantages and drawbacks of being a student of each particular university; you will sketch out your future career perspectives as a graduate of each of these universities, and check a number of other parameters. And after intense doubts and worries, you would choose your favored institution.

This is the most reasonable approach. But in my case, I am sometimes prone to doubt even after I made a decision. Most likely, I would choose a university carefully, make a final decision, and then doubt the decision for a while, even though I would be already studying there. In real life, such a peculiarity manifests in more everyday situations. To stay at home or to hang out with friends? Whatever I choose, I will spend some time thinking about the opposite variant. To buy chocolate milk or beer? To go to the cinema or to the theater? To spend vacations in the mountains or at the sea? Not always, but more often that I would like, I start to reflect about trivial decisions.

Would I like to completely quit doubting? I think not. Doubts are a natural mechanism that helps us make the best possible decision in each particular case; without this ability, we would most likely make random, uninformed decisions regardless of their possible consequences. But at the same time, when the decision is made, you must start working to actualize it without hesitation, and this is the moment when doubts become troublesome. The more you think over a certain action of yours, the more likely you will delay the realization of what is on your mind.

Wise people teach us to be tolerant towards themselves, and accept both their negative and positive traits. I agree with this thesis, but with one small specification: this acceptance must not be an excuse for not working towards personal development and growth. This is my approach towards my proneness to doubtfulness: I can live with it, I know it is mine, but I am persistently working on getting rid of this quality.

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