The other day someone asked me what I considered to be the single most important tool for self improvement. Yikes! What a question. “I’ll have to get back to you on that,” I responded, knowing that I would need to wrestle with it for awhile before I could answer. I will work on it here and if you have any thoughts on it, I would love to hear them. (There is a comment box at the end of the article).
So what is the single most important tool to use when you are seriously committed to self improvement?
Is it meditation?
I consider meditation to be an absolute must when it comes to self improvement, but is it the only one you need? I don’t know. Meditation helps you get acquainted with the “inner you.” It helps calm your body and your mind, enhances your creativity and intuition and makes you more receptive to Divine guidance. It opens your subconscious mind and your spirit and allows the work to continue long after you finish meditating. There are many books written about the value of meditation and how to go about doing it. There are videos of guided meditations on YouTube so give it a shot so you can experience it first hand.
Is it Journaling?
Journaling allows you to express your thoughts, desires, pain, disappointments, likes and dislikes, etc. on paper. If done in a relaxed state where you simply allow the words to flow, it can tap into the riches of the subconscious mind. It will allow you to express anything on your mind, even those things you hesitate to share with another person. If you journal on a regular basis you will have a record that shows you your progress. It enables you to see patterns and develop ideas. It is, indeed, an outstanding self improvement tool.
Awareness and Self Awareness?
Can there be any self improvement if you are not aware of who you are, what you want and need, and what changes are taking place? If you are not aware of your strengths and weaknesses, can you develop a plan for improvement? Being aware means you notice and understand what is taking place around you and self awareness means you notice and understand what is taking place within you. I seriously doubt if any progress can take place in the self improvement arena without awareness and self awareness. In fact, I doubt if you would even be on a self improvement path without awareness. But is it the most important? I really can’t say.
What About Positive Thinking?
For most people who are interested in self improvement, a key to lasting improvement is changing their thinking from negative to positive. If you gain insight into what makes you stressed, for example, and a major stressor is your job, then you may need to change your thinking about your job, your boss and/or your co-workers. Letting your mind dwell on how much you hate your job, how you dread going to work in the morning, how tired and stressed you’re going to be before the day is over, how your boss is a total dork and your co-workers are incompetent slobs will increase the stress level that you’re trying to relieve. If you can’t yet think of something positive about the job or the people, then think about something else in your life that makes you happy – your boyfriend if you’re single, or your husband and children, a walk in the park, sitting at the beach – or whatever it may be. In the meantime you might start looking for another job, but before you do, be sure it isn’t your negative reaction to the job and its people rather than the job and the people themselves. Make a point to get to know them better. You know the old adage about not judging until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.
These are the big four when it comes to self improvement tools.
Which one is best? I still don’t know that answer. We are holistic and we are unique. What works for one person may not work for another. What works for you right now, may not be as effective next week.
What I do know, is that if you begin to employ each of the tools on a regular basis – if you
- practice meditation
- journal your thoughts about the area of improvement you are working on
- work at becoming more aware of what’s going on around you and within you and
- work to change your thinking from negative to positive
you will begin to see some of the positive changes that you desire. If you have an opinion on one best tool, I would love to hear it.
And the bottom line? Meditation is at play in each of these. So why not try it?