Improving continuously

On

This title is clearly not as humble as it should be. This blog post is about self-confidence and the importance of continuous self-improvement... let's say that writing good titles is the next step for me.

This blog post was written in a couple of hours while listening to 30 Seconds to Mars (and particularly Closer to the Edge) and Linking Park (Numb and Castle of Glass among others).

Why am I writing this ?

Even if I always considered personal development blog posts as an easy writing material, I kept reading them with a lot of interest. It feels quite weird to be writing about it now...

I finally understand, after all these years, why every blogger out there is writing on personal development. It's not a matter of teaching people how to feel better and be happy in life, it's a matter of putting all your ideas together once in order to be able to talk about it again later.

This post doesn't hold the truth nor will give you access to eternal happiness. Therefore, let's not call it a personal development post but more a list of recipes that worked once for me and that may (or may not) work for you.

Small steps, not big jumps

This section will probably be the weirdest one to me. Basically, it took me years to understand how important it was not to go too fast, writing something about progressing through small steps is therefore quite ironic.

The point behind this section title is simple : you want to proceed slowly but surely (yes, i'm french, the french native speakers will understand).

Planning big jumps instead of small steps will make you think you have to work a lot for things to get done... which is false. I'm not saying you don't have to work though, nothing is perfectly simple, but you have to work smarter instead of working harder.

Find out the amount of work you can comfortably do in a day and stick to it. Don't try to overload yourself : you'll get nothing good out of such a huge amount of stress.

If a task seems too big, don't try to handle it at once : split it down to simple things you can potentially achieve.

If you don't do so, you'll get frustrated.

Avoid frustration... please...

I remember what stroke me the most when I start discussing with a friend of mine : he was always talking about frustration and why was not clear to me.

Let's take a definition :

frustration (noun)

  1. The act of frustrating, or the state, or an instance of being frustrated
  2. A thing that frustrates
  3. The feeling of annoyance when one's actions are criticized or hindered
  4. Anger not directed at anything or anyone in particular

—Wiktionnary

Oookay... so, frustration can been seen as an anger or a feeling of annoyance that can arise from an unwanted issue but which is not directed to a particular object.

I understood lately why my friend was talking about that all the time as if it was the worst ennemy of humanity. Anger against something that went wrong can help to solve the issue, but object-less frustration is basically something that prevent you from good, productive work because you keep being annoyed by something you cannot control.

There's a couple of things one can do to avoid frustration : taking steps in work is one. Taking steps ensures continuous and regular (small) achievements that keep you motivated and happy.

Living (or trying to live) in permanent wonder, trying to see the bright side of everything, is another way.

Being detached from reality, and observing a short time of reflection before acting is a third. This last point is, to me, the most important one. If you react quickly to everything, you'll basically over-react all the time. Overreaction leads to unconsidered things that generally prove to be more hassles than good actions. Taking a little bit of time to think and, this way, getting to see the bright side of things allows to take up situations in a more relaxed way.

Looking back to go forth

I've been a defender of this one for a long time.

I think that we learn more efficiently from looking back at our own errors than from others that pretend to know the truth.

In order to get that on the pratical side, I use a bunch of logs : I take notes, regularly, on what I've been doing since the last log entry.

At work, it takes the form of a semi-published log discussing my ideas, my trials, the tracks I explored and the results. It also includes the failures (even if published) or the misunderstandings.

A log is not something that may be used to judge your work : it's important to see it as an auxiliary memory. Writing things in the log is creating space in your mind for more things. It also create a time-span where you can think about what you did and the way you did it.

One should never ask an employee or subordinate to write a log. It must be a personal process to start one and an even more personal process to publish it for others to read.

A log is always useful : in life to remind you about your past days, at work to analyze your mind path throughout the project, in a team to understand the underlying social patterns that come and go and that may interfere with efficiency.

Learn from others

It took me sooooooo long but I think I finally got it. I'm talking about this huge courage it takes to say : "I don't know about that subject, can you explain it to me ?"

This is super important but on another level than the rest. This point is the part of your personal development that makes your realize you can fail and sometimes, you need others.

Therefore, one must read, listen, carefully watch what others are doing, not to judge them but to be able to see the world through their eyes. This process is not an easy one but in the end it will allow you to understand the think patterns of your coworkers and see the potential flaws you can fix.

Work is not a matter of competition against each other, it's a matter of acheiving together a goal no one alone could have met.

Have dreams

I absolutely wanted to finish with this one. I think we'll never stress this enough but here's my contribution : have dreams.

And yes, there's a -s- at the end of dreams. There's probably a set of things you want to do in your life and among those, there may be a subset that are really important to you.

Erect these ones as dreams.

Pick one among them and slowly, day after day, try to reach it out. Once one is done, take another one!

Dreams are not mandatorily things hard to achieve, sometimes they just look out of reach but they're finally quite close.

By the time you'll start making things from your dream box happen, it will get easier and easier to achieve the next ones.

One should never try to succeed in work before succeeding in life and this is a good reminder that a brightful life is the one you dream of !

Oh... before I forget : remember to continuously fill your dream box with fresh dreams so you'll always get more things to pursue.