I have a question for you.
In fact, it’s a question you might have asked yourself on more than one occasion.
What’s the point of self-improvement?
Why go through all of this struggle to “be successful?”
You’re going to die anyway, right? Doesn’t that technically make everything you do meaningless?
Maybe we should all just learn to be content with what we have and ‘enjoy the moment.’ That’s what Eastern Philosophy teaches.
Or you could take the nihilist approach. Since life is meaningless, why not spend time doing whatever the hell you want regardless of whether or not it’s productive? YOLO!
It took me a while to come up with an answer to the original question, but I do have one.
When it comes to the point of self-improvement & why you should focus on it…the answer is simple.
You genuinely have nothing better to do.
Even if life is meaningless, human beings are wired to be productive, create, and leave a legacy. We’re literally wired to pass on our DNA to the next generation, which is why we spend so much time building & creating. So even if what happens after we die doesn’t matter (up for debate), what we do while we’re alive does because of that drive to move humanity forward.
You can try to be content by meditating 24/7, but you know the power of the mind — especially the inner critic — and you’re going to have a hard time trying to use mindfulness to rid yourself of desire, dreams, and ambitions.
Pushing yourself to become successful just objectively seems to be the best option:
- Improving your life in a tangible way works better than trying to think your way into a better self-image
- Alleviating some of your worldly problems — money, status, career — can alleviate real anxieties
- Nothing feeds our legacy passing self-interested wiring like achievements
Maybe I’m just projecting my beliefs, but I’ve never felt better than the times where I’ve pushed myself to accomplish something that had no guarantee of success.
That feeling on the other side of fear — pure euphoric accomplishment — is irreplaceable. And you have to earn it, too. Look at trust fund kids. They’re not happy. So that tells you that the rewards alone aren’t what you want.
You want to go through the process of earning those rewards.
Some look at people who want to be successful and call them selfish. But who’s the selfish one really? The one who gives and serves to become successful (there are more self-made people than rent seekers and trust fund babies) to earn success or the ones who pretend they don’t want success and find ways to pull other people down?
People who pretend they don’t want to be successful are selfish in a subtle way.
Martyrdom is trendy in 2019. You can gain status these days by pretending you don’t want more for your life, but deep down, you do. I do. We all do.
Advertisers didn’t create desire. We did.
Don’t kid yourself. If you knew you could have it all and do it all, you would.
So why not try? You have nothing better to do.
Ayodeji Awosika is a personal development blogger and the author of You 2.0. His goal is to help as many people as possible find the freedom to do exactly what they want in life. Find more of his work at ayotheauthor.com.
Image courtesy of Timothy Dykes.