My Self-Improvement OUTSIDE of the Gym! (My Self Improvement Movement)
The summer after my first year in college, I realized that I wanted more. My classes were great, but I was entering a new mindset that prioritizes personal motivation and practical skills over learning for tests and exams. I started to research self-improvement, and stumbled upon the self-improvement industry, an industry filled with figures like Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas (ET the Hip Hip Preacher), Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Robert Greene, and countless others. They all have books, speeches, and programs that are supposed to help you take control of your life in order to become your best self, and the interesting yet questionable part is that anybody can be a motivational speaker or write one of these books. So how did I parse out the good stuff from this saturated industry? I did what anyone would do—I Googled it. I Googled the best self-help books to read, the major figures in the industry, and just dug in. I call this the beginning of my “Self-Improvement Movement,” an internal shift I had towards consciously and actively bettering myself on a regular basis.
The first book I read was Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, a work widely considered to be canonical within the self-improvement space. So what was so amazing about it that puts it on nearly on every self-help book list out there? Honestly, nothing really. It goes through a number of principles that outline how to present yourself as an influential and attractive person, but it isn’t anything that you don’t already know. The reason the book works so well is that it reminds you that you already know these principles. In my opinion, everything presented in these books is all information that’s been said before, and it all intuitively makes sense.
So why keep reading these books and watching these speeches? Because, it takes repetition in order for things to stick. The principles of self-improvement have been the same for years, and they will continue to be the same, but I consistently consume this content in order to construct a mindset that works in more positive, motivational, and creative ways. It keeps key work strategies front of mind as I go about my day, which allows me to actually implement what I learn from this content, rather than only reading it once and moving on.
Beyond How to Win Friends and Influence People, some of the other more major works I’ve read are The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, both of which I would recommend. In addition to reading, I’ve found that podcasts are an AMAZING way to continue to learn as well as find motivation. A few podcasts I’m currently listening to are: Everyday is Saturday by Sam Crowley, Planet Money by NPR, The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, and Up First by NPR.
In today’s age of Netflix and other streaming services, it’s almost automatic that I watch TV whenever I want to relax or am eating a meal at home, but recently I’ve been turning off the TV and plugging into a podcast. It can be tough to opt for that over the next new episode on Netflix, but I’ve found it to be extremely rewarding and worthwhile. The more I listen to podcasts and consume this “self-improvement” content, the more effective it is, and I highly recommend that others do the same!
So, how do you start?
1. Turn off the social media and streaming service. Do this for an hour, or skip on it for that lunch/dinner you normally spend with Netflix.
2. Find a podcast. The podcast app that comes on Apple devices has plenty of free podcasts to start with. I started with Everyday is Saturday by Sam Crowley, as he does quick 15min sessions (which are even shorter if you put it on 1.5x or 2x the speed). His are motivational and a good way to get going. More recently, I’ve been into The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes since he interviews a lot of self-help influencers and does a great job of keeping the interviews diverse.
3. Find a book. This can be paperback or audio depending on the type of reader you are. I like to take physical notes so I typically prefer a paperback, but audio books are great for commuters. If you think about it, books are honestly amazing. They take the life experiences and thoughts of ANYONE and give you the opportunity to learn from them. When I think about it like that, how could I not want to read as many books as possible?
4. Keep going! The more interesting, helpful, and practical information I find, the more I want to continue. Take the initiative to keep pushing yourself to improve, and the benefits will slowly begin to show in your everyday encounters and ventures!
As you pursue your own personal Self-Improvement Movement, don’t hesitate to let your boy here at Triyo know how it’s going!
-Malik Jones, Certified Personal Trainer