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Quashing the Self-Improvement Urge

January 3, 2012

A very thought provoking article from Leo Babauta

Thank you to Julian Summerhayes for the introduction to this

Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.

It also happens to be one of the Top 25 blogs and Top 50 websites in the world, with about 225,000 readers, and is uncopyrighted.

Opening excerpt

One of the driving forces of my life for many years was the need to improve myself. It’s one of the driving forces for people who read my work as well.

It’s an incredibly pervasive urge: we are always trying to improve, and if we’re not, that’s something we should improve.

It’s everywhere. Where does this urge come from? It’s embedded in our culture — in the U.S. from Benjamin Franklin to the early entrepreneurial titans, everyone is trying to better themselves. It goes deeper, to ancient Western ideals of the perfect well-rounded person. But it flourished in the 20th century, from Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill to Stephen Covey. And now it’s in full bloom, with blogs. And yes, I’m part of this movement.

So what’s the problem? You could say it’s great that people are constantly trying to improve themselves, but where does it end? When is anyone ever content with who they are? We are taught that we are not good enough yet, that we must improve, and so … we always feel a little inadequate.

This is true no matter how much you’ve accomplished. You might have achieved a thousand goals, but do you have defined abs? Are your boobs big and bouncy? Do you have perfect skin? Have you read every classic in literature? Do you know fine wines, fine art, and every great musician from classical to jazz to punk to rock?

Read the rest of the article here

‘Contentment is the greatest treasure.’ ~Lao Tzu

Thank you to Julian Summerhayes for the introduction to this

Questions, questions, questions – a whole book of them here!

The Interrogative Mood – Padgett Powell

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