Working On Your Self


If some off-world alien came round and purchased a few human units to do its bidding and help carry out its agenda on this world it would need to also maintain its investment by taking good care of them. That investment would be expensive because human units are slow to mature and develop and entail a lot of varying input and training before they can become remotely productive. And, once in a particular role, again take time to re-train so they can perform best at it. So, although on a planet with eight billion of them they might, notionally, be easy to replace, our figurative alien overlord would find it difficult to get anything meaningful done if he or she, just keeps replacing them.

So, to safeguard that investment our alien overlord would need, at a minimum, a nutritionist, a personal trainer and a psychologist. Human units have a physical, cognitive and emotional dimension to them (I am oversimplifying us a little) and each of these is enmeshed with the others so they need help to keep them humming along.

Clearly we don't have any such overlord to look out for us. So we need to do this for ourselves. Lacking an overlord we frequently don't do anything, and lacking a truly objective self-diagnostic system we "manage", "get by", "suck it up", "push through" and "power through" until we can't. By then, of course, the damage is done and we have twice as much work to do as before to fix ourselves.

The point of this post is that in order to work on your self you need to start with the realization that you're worth more than you think. If this weren't the case, if you were truly without purpose and value you wouldn't be here. Being introspective, on our own, is not easy to us. Science shows that the neural circuits that deliver the signal of pain to us when we get physically hurt are the same ones that deliver pain when we are emotionally hurt. The pain we feel when we imagine things is as real as the pain we experience when we cut or burn ourselves or we get physically hurt in other ways.

How we work on ourselves then in order to not just maintain who we are but also improve and get better starts with some very basic steps.

  1. Accept that we have faults.
  2. Always ask ourselves why we feel the way we feel.
  3. Put in place specific routines that incrementally help us get fitter and healthier.
  4. Recognize that brain health and emotional regulation are an intrinsic part of physical health and fitness.
  5. Find ways to challenge ourselves in small, incremental steps so we learn to be more adaptive and resilient.
  6. Treat the discomfort we experience as an opportunity to learn, develop and grow stronger mentally and physically.
  7. Acknowledge that nothing about our development can be made faster than the speed at which we can each develop.
  8. Exercise patience, perseverance and kindness, qualities which we must extend first to our self and then to those around us.
  9. Remember that the future self we are developing towards is born out of every action, thought and deed we engage in today.
  10. Accept that this is a process. Our personal development is a journey not a destination, there never will be a "there" we can stop at.
If you keep these ten things in mind, basic as they are, you will be better armed and prepared to deal with adversity, help yourself, help others and continue to develop.

As always with posts where I don't include links, there is a large body of research behind it backing it up, so any questions you have please post them below and tag me.