I believe in constant self-improvement. I believe in living the best life that I can live and I believe in being the best person that I can be. I have seen the power of constant self-improvement; not only has my life become happier, I have also helped other people become better.
This belief in constant self-improvement is somewhat recent, but I can see that it has been getting reinforced over my lifetime. I have learned the most from my parents, especially from my father. His constant desire to improve and learn has always inspired me. I always questioned some of his pursuits – you see, I could not see the value of pursuing something that was not sellable. I was also always annoyed by his humility; he would have a wealth of knowledge about a subject, yet he would let others teach him as if he knew nothing. While I failed to learn all the good virtues from him in my early years, I did learn one important thing from him which was the importance of prayer and faith. I learned to pray to God not to ask for something, but to thank Him for everything that’s going well. I have learned the importance of compromise from my mother. The ability to compromise is probably one thing that has helped me the most throughout my life.
I grew up living a rather easy life in many ways. I was always good on the academic front, and I also had the knack for picking up new things and doing well be it art and craft, singing, Scrabble, chess or ping pong. This naturally led to arrogance. I got used to this image of being naturally good. I was so arrogant that I was willing to lie about things just to project a better image of myself. This always made things difficult for me, as lies invariably lead to more lies and painful revelations.
My first inspiration to change my ways came after I read the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi. I could not believe that there could be so much goodness in anyone. The Mahatma taught me the value of charity and the fact that self-help is the best help. What this frail frame was able to accomplish with just the goodness in his heart was nothing short of miraculous.
I have been very fortunate to have interacted with wonderful people; one who showed me the virtue of being humble and another who taught me that you can rise from a state of deep despair and turn failure into success.
Some great books written by H. Jackson Brown, Zig Ziglar, John Tesh and my dad that I read over the last few years have also changed my outlook quite a bit. They have convinced me that one can always improve and that constant self-improvement is the right path to happiness. I wish I had read these books when I was in my twenties but as they say, “Better late than never.”
Today, I am trying my best to improve myself on all fronts. My relationships with everyone, near and far, my work ethic, my health, my charity and my faith are all getting better and stronger. In some cases it is trying to do more, in others it is trying to do less or stopping altogether. As a result, I am finding myself living a happier and more fruitful life. Psychology tells us that a personality is formed within the first ten years of life and it is very hard to change it. While a complete change may not be possible, it is always possible to become a better person and one should always look for opportunities to improve.