No one can do it for you. If you want to be a better person — no matter how — you’ll have to do the heavy lifting yourself. There is no magic pill, no switch you can hit to instantly become a different person. But there are habits, techniques, and attitudes you can take to be more like the person you want to be. Being the best version of yourself isn’t necessarily easy, and it takes work. But what did you expect? The people who you can admire, who really seem to know and love themselves — they all put in a lot of effort to get there.
The good news? That means you can get there too.
1. Know Your Purpose
If you don’t know where you’re going, life can feel aimless — sometimes even pointless. Having a purpose in life, that you can feel and live out, can turn a humdrum activity into a passionate endeavor.
Peter Diamandis, co-founder of the XPRIZE and HeroX, has some good advice for people (of any age) who are trying to figure out their purpose in life. Purpose is related to passion — if you don’t get emotional about what you’re doing, it doesn’t mean much to you.
If you’re having trouble finding your passion, Diamandis has two questions to help anyone out:
- What did you want to do when you were a child? What was your childhood passion? Is there something real there?
- If someone gave you a billion dollars today and told you to spend it on improving the world, what would you do with it? Search for the technology, tool, or problem you’d apply it towards.
Having a purpose in life can orient you, helping you see the opportunities sitting right in front of you. Don’t be afraid to think big. Diamandis has plenty more advice for people trying to figure out their purpose — find something you would die for, and live for it.
2. Keep a Journal
A journal can help you understand yourself and your life in new ways. This includes your motivations and your emotions — writing about them can be a great way to narrow down on your passions and your life purpose.
You might be surprised at the thoughts that start arising once you really focus on recording things. You’ll start to think more deeply, and you’ll often come to some surprising conclusions. It can get really interesting.
There are a lot of benefits to journaling that might not be apparent on the surface. You’ll improve your memory of events, you’ll have a solid method of tracking your progress towards your goals, and it could even make you smarter: both intellectually and emotionally.
Your communication skills will improve over time, and you’ll develop more self-discipline as you build the writing habit. Journaling has even been shown to reduce stress — particularly when writing about stressful events that made you angry, sad, or upset in other ways.
3. Accept Help from Other People
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” — Ernest Hemingway
No human is an island — we all need other people to grow and develop. But if you start growing arrogant, automatically feeling like you know better than others, you can end up losing out on valuable knowledge and experiences.
Sometimes asking for help is hard. It could be because of excessive pride, but it can also come from being too worried about what others think. We don’t want to ask for help because that would mean admitting a weakness.
But that fear of vulnerability, of rejection, will hold you back. It’s only by taking risks that we can grow into new people, and this means being willing to be vulnerable sometimes.
You’ll build new, valuable relationships when you accept help from others. In most cases people are actually happy to help, and won’t think less of you. Be grateful for their help — it’s actually good for you.
4. Help Other People
Conversely, helping other people is another great way to become the best version of you. There are simply a ton of benefits to social activity and the feelings of community that come from it — you’ll be mentally stimulated, you’ll learn new skills, you’ll be healthier, and you may even live longer.
There are few other life factors that have such a positive effect as having a strong community. It’s up there with exercise and healthy eating. Not only that, helping others just feels good.
If you want to make a difference in peoples’ lives but you’re not sure how, there are plenty of global problems that need the help of creative, innovative thinkers. Check out the many challenges hosted here on HeroX — which one calls to you? Where do you think your talents could be put to the best use?
Don’t you want to be a billionaire? As Peter Diamandis has said, the best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people.
5. Challenge Yourself
When you stop finding new challenges to face, you stop growing.
Step outside your comfort zone. If you want to become the best version of yourself, you’ll have to seek out new experiences to learn from.
The ability to be vulnerable is important here as well. Take risks (within reason) and you’ll discover new aspects of yourself. You may be surprised at the situations you can get used to and even master, as long as you put forward some authentic, constant effort.
Evolution has been working on you for billions of years — you have a wealth of internal resources and capabilities to draw on, but you might never discover them if you never take that chance. Exciting problems keep us sharp, improving cognition later in life.
Simple tasks don’t get you excited and thinking of creative solutions. Bigger, novel challenges will generate some positive stress, which will actually help you perform better. When you have to make a real effort to solve a problem, you tap into those deep reservoirs of motivation and energy.
You can read about becoming a better version of yourself all day, but it’s no substitute for actually doing the work. If you’ve been feeling like you could be a better person in some way, there’s no time to lose and nobody else to do it for you. The effort has to come from you, and you have to stick with it.
The truth is that there is no “best” version of yourself: only “better.” Keep getting better — your future self will thank you.
What habits, rituals, or attitudes do you use to become a better person?