I am a terrible addict. I can get myself addicted to everything under the sun in no time flat. As a child, I was addicted to video games. In my teenage years, I was addicted to online porn. As an adult, I go through different addictions on a monthly basis… and drop them when I find something better.
One of my many adult-addictions was self-improvement (or self-help).
Oh boy… I had a hell of a start.
I lived in Mexico for 5 months back in 2012. I lived in a house with four bathrooms for 400 Euro a month. When I got back to Germany I lived in a student-dorm for 500 Euro a month. It was one of the coldest winters. I got depressed.
I wanted the same success with women that I had in Mexico. I wanted the same amount of happy; the same tacos and tequila. I wanted the sun to shine.
In short: I wanted reality to be different than it was.
So what did I do?
I got into the 10 billion dollar industry called self-improvement.
Why Self-Improvement is a Hoax
I stuck around for three years. I read tons of books (I even wrote my own self-help book) went to workshops, listened to tapes and watched all the videos I could find.
To me it seemed like there always was the next big thing… the next great author who I got to read… the next workshop I had to attend to finally be fully worthy.
I postponed living, I postponed loving… and read more books instead.
After a recent acid trip here in Florida, I saw something that I can’t put into words… and stopped reading self-help books the next day. I donated them to our work library.
Here is the thing:
The whole idea of self-improvement is based upon a false conception of self.
What do I mean by that?
Self-improvement is only necessary when you are identified with your mind (and your self-image). The whole idea of bettering yourself only exists in your mind. Reality does not know such a thing as a better or worse person.
Try it yourself…
In this very moment, how can you know what is better and what is worse? How do you really KNOW? Can you know?
I say, you can’t…
You need the remembered past and an imaginary future to create a story about who or what is better or worse. In this very moment, everyone is equally perfect.
The whole idea of self-improvement is a story in your mind. Reality is fine as it is. Your mind is afraid of that. It needs to know where it stands. It is greedy and wants to get a leg-up on the world… however the world never cares about what your mind thinks.
So, self-improvement is only necessary when you are identified with your thoughts.
Reality, without your story, does not need any improvement.
How about practicing self-acceptance instead?
The Art of Self-Acceptance
Imagine for a second that everything is just fine the way it is.
Everything that ever happened had to happen. There is no wrong or right. You have been thrown into this perfectly-fine world… and now you are here.
Just by being here right now, you are the tip of the evolution.
You are the best the world has to offer in this second. So is everyone else.
How could it be any different?
Only your thoughts can tell you a different story.
My thoughts are telling me now to include something on how-to practice self-acceptance. But really, there is nothing to practice. Thinking you have to practice self-acceptance first, gets you into the same self-improvement loop.
Whatever you do right now, nothing could ever be any better.
I leave you with this and go check-out a famous graffiti wall here in Austin, Texas.
Until then, Champ.