It's All In The Mind

Musings of an active mind

How good is good?

Posted by activemind on February 13, 2006

I know the title is strange and might not mean a whole lot just by the looks of it but I am in a pondering mood today. I was thinking that there are so many books and articles about what is good and self improvement. Where do you draw the line as to what is good and what is not. Like there was an article today about quitting coffee or any kind of caffeine? Now there were 20 reasons in there, that talked about how bad it is for your body and stuff like that and it got me thinking that how much does a person want to be good. Like for me, I take like 4-5 cups of coffee in a day…..now I reason that if I like it (yeah! I love the smell of freshly brewed french roast ), I feel it keeps me going throughout the day, I dont have problems with sleeping at night…should I really cut it down? I am a firm believer that we cannot change any habbit if we do not truly want to change it ourselves….so I know that if I am not convinced that I am taking too much coffee and it is not good for me there is no point in even trying to change that habit or reduce the amount of coffee?
So now I go back to reading that article and I wonder how much sense does it make for me to even read that article. I know the title of the article itself is how to give up coffee and I am by no means convinced that this is something that I overdo…so why should I read it?
Now lets apply the same logic to self improvement web sites/ articles/books: So if I am convinced that I am the best and there is nothing about me that needs to change then I would never read anything related to self improvement. Some time back (not a whole lot though) I used to think that self improvement is for people who are not up to the mark or successful and there was nothing in which I could improve myself. But now when I look back I realize that I was gravely mistaken. There is always something about a person which can be improved for one reason or the other. Its just a matter of looking at yourself from a different set of glasses. Path to self Improvement is a never ending journey which gets even more interesting as you traverse it. So does that mean that people who are already reading about self improvement and thinking about it are already a step ahead of everyone else in terms of accepting their follies and doing something positive about it. Huh! Never thought about it in this way.
So thats means that the first step towards self improvement is NOT picking up some good book recommended by several people or experts or spending hours and hours reading some self development website or joining some self improvement course. The first step I feel is to accept and realise what and who you are and constructively compare yourself with other people. This is where the accept and realise comes into play when you don’t beat yourself over who and what you are but you accept it and realise that if you want to be someone or something else then you will have to put in the effort to change you. I know I sound like a lot of books out there but I feel as I write this that there is a difference between reading something and absorbing it. I have read this several times but I think I am absorbing it now.
I think both the examples above point to one and same thing: If we want to change something then the reason and the motivation for the change should come from within us…no amount to coaching is helful when it come this. It has to come from within!!
Does all this make any sense??

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3 Responses to “How good is good?”

  1. Neeraj. said

    very well said.. It all comes from within.. and it’s all in the mind.. The only impetus reading and sliding through some such literature is that it makes you think (less than perfect) so in many cases they do offer some subtle insights into what most don’t know about things.

    Most people are not in that “perfect’ state that they don’t get affected by flancing through such ’20 reasons…’ literature.. and the majority falls into a category of a little less than solid self-confidence.. it’s those clientele this attempts to impinge upon..

    But you’re absolutely right in saying.. “it all comes from within” and “it’s all in the mind”

  2. […] This topic has been wandering in my mind for quite some time now. After I wrote, how good is good, I kept on thinking more about it. Also a couple of my friends who read my  previous article gave me support that it was a nicely written article which gave me some confidence and motivation to write the sequal. Again the title might not make a whole lot of sense. Why be good? Well, when i sit down and think about the years of my life I notice periods of time where I was charged and got a lot done and made significant progress in every way. Then there are periods of time where I was just a lazy ass. It was not that I did not do anything at that time. Well I have always been working (its just the way I am wired….you can say that I am not an entrepreneurial mindset person but thats what I am) but what I mean is that I did not do anything to make any progress on the goals I had set. Why? Its not that I did not WANT to make progress…I knew it pretty well that if I wanted to acheive something I will have to work for it. Its not that I was cheating myself by making up excuses like I did not have time…I knew very well that I had the time and I was spending it on doing things which were not inline with my goals. Then what was it? I think I know the answer now…it was the mindset. The more I think and the more I write, I like the title of my blog even more. It was my mindset in those unproductive times which overcame everything…my desire for progress, my ambitions, my goals. I was just in the mindset that I need to take it easy for sometime. It is good to have some downtime to recuperate but how much is enough? What I mean to say is that it is very important to have clear goals in mind all the time. Even when you are having some downtime, so that they are a  motivation for you get back to doing things again. So now we can ask…why even try to be good? Again it all starts and ends at the goals that you have created for yourself. I was reading this article at Steve’s website about getting up early. I would’nt be surprised that if a lot of people still cannot get up early even after reading this article. Why?Because I feel that getting up early is a goal that you have set but there has to be some motivation or some reason for doing it. Like if you are planning to get up early, you should also think about what are you going to do with this new time slot that you have found. Until you have figured out what to do with this new timeslot..there is not point in even trying to get up early. Why get up early when you dont know what you are going to do? I have had a couple of relatives who question as to what do I do after getting up so early (I get up at 6:30 with plans of moving it upto 6:00) and why give this inconvenience to your body. Well I feel that its a matter of personal goals and preferences. If you feel that you have enough time in life to do pretty much everything you wanted then probably there is no reason for you to sweat it. Forget what everyone else says and enjoy your sleep.But on the other hand if you feel that there are some things which you really want to do but just dont have the time…here is a timeslot which is just lying there waiting for you. I have been an early riser ever since I got out of college. I enjoy the morning quite and the solitude. (my family wakes up 1/2 – 1 hr after me). Now the reason I want to push it by another 1/2 hr is because I want to incoroprate runs in my morning timeslot. So the bottom line…if you have enough motivation to do things that you really want to do badlybut have not been able to fo so far…then I think all these self development and time management makes sense for you. But on the other hand if you feel content with your goals and feel that you have the time to do pretty much what you want…maybe you are already managing your time efficienly or you have set the bar too low for yourself.Self development like a food which you will never appreciate if you are not hungry…the more hungry you are the better the taste would be. Your hunger for self improvement and finishing your goals has to reach a point before you can enjoy this food. So before you sit down and start changing your lifestlye because someone else is doing it or someone else wants you to do it, I think you should sit back and ask yourself why? Its just not helpful to create action items for youself without knowing the true reason why you want to do it because if the underlying reason is not true and strong enough or not coming from within you , you will find the enthusiasm for your action item waning out pretty soon. So next time when you are thinking about life and what changes you need to make, think about things that you have always wanted to do badly and then work out the action items from there rather than picking up the action items and then finding a motivation for them.peace!!  […]

  3. […] This topic has been wandering in my mind for quite some time now. After I wrote, how good is good, I kept on thinking more about it. Also a couple of my friends who read my  previous article gave me support that it was a nicely written article which gave me some confidence and motivation to write the sequal. Again the title might not make a whole lot of sense. Why be good? Well, when i sit down and think about the years of my life I notice periods of time where I was charged and got a lot done and made significant progress in every way. Then there are periods of time where I was just a lazy ass. It was not that I did not do anything at that time. Well I have always been working (its just the way I am wired….you can say that I am not an entrepreneurial mindset person but thats what I am) but what I mean is that I did not do anything to make any progress on the goals I had set. Why? Its not that I did not WANT to make progress…I knew it pretty well that if I wanted to acheive something I will have to work for it. Its not that I was cheating myself by making up excuses like I did not have time…I knew very well that I had the time and I was spending it on doing things which were not inline with my goals. Then what was it? I think I know the answer now…it was the mindset. The more I think and the more I write, I like the title of my blog even more. It was my mindset in those unproductive times which overcame everything…my desire for progress, my ambitions, my goals. I was just in the mindset that I need to take it easy for sometime. It is good to have some downtime to recuperate but how much is enough? What I mean to say is that it is very important to have clear goals in mind all the time. Even when you are having some downtime, so that they are a  motivation for you get back to doing things again. So now we can ask…why even try to be good? Again it all starts and ends at the goals that you have created for yourself. I was reading this article at Steve’s website about getting up early. I would’nt be surprised that if a lot of people still cannot get up early even after reading this article. Why?Because I feel that getting up early is a goal that you have set but there has to be some motivation or some reason for doing it. Like if you are planning to get up early, you should also think about what are you going to do with this new time slot that you have found. Until you have figured out what to do with this new timeslot..there is not point in even trying to get up early. Why get up early when you dont know what you are going to do? I have had a couple of relatives who question as to what do I do after getting up so early (I get up at 6:30 with plans of moving it upto 6:00) and why give this inconvenience to your body. Well I feel that its a matter of personal goals and preferences. If you feel that you have enough time in life to do pretty much everything you wanted then probably there is no reason for you to sweat it. Forget what everyone else says and enjoy your sleep.But on the other hand if you feel that there are some things which you really want to do but just dont have the time…here is a timeslot which is just lying there waiting for you. I have been an early riser ever since I got out of college. I enjoy the morning quite and the solitude. (my family wakes up 1/2 – 1 hr after me). Now the reason I want to push it by another 1/2 hr is because I want to incoroprate runs in my morning timeslot. So the bottom line…if you have enough motivation to do things that you really want to do badlybut have not been able to fo so far…then I think all these self development and time management makes sense for you. But on the other hand if you feel content with your goals and feel that you have the time to do pretty much what you want…maybe you are already managing your time efficienly or you have set the bar too low for yourself.Self development like a food which you will never appreciate if you are not hungry…the more hungry you are the better the taste would be. Your hunger for self improvement and finishing your goals has to reach a point before you can enjoy this food. So before you sit down and start changing your lifestlye because someone else is doing it or someone else wants you to do it, I think you should sit back and ask yourself why? Its just not helpful to create action items for youself without knowing the true reason why you want to do it because if the underlying reason is not true and strong enough or not coming from within you , you will find the enthusiasm for your action item waning out pretty soon. So next time when you are thinking about life and what changes you need to make, think about things that you have always wanted to do badly and then work out the action items from there rather than picking up the action items and then finding a motivation for them.peace!!  […]

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