How to Be The Best Version Of Yourself And Win At Life

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” — C.S. Lewis

“Person standing on rocky cliff” by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Often, you hate who you turned out to be. The dreams and aspirations you had as a child a distant memory.

The same routine every day. Surrounded by friends or family who don’t appreciate you. Doing what you do only to please others. Maintaining bad habits. Having no motivation.

I’ve been there myself.

There are several easy changes you can make immediately to turn this around. Become the person you always wanted to be.

Win at life.

Invest in yourself

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” — Robin Sharma

To grow as a person, you need to invest in yourself.

Do an online course. There are many free courses covering a wide array of subjects on sites like edX. Try to learn something new every week. It’s a great way to broaden your knowledge.

Never stop learning.

Research by Thomas C. Corley indicated that 85% of self-made millionaires read two or more books per month. This includes self-improvement books like how-tos, and books on psychology, leadership and self-help.

It is this constant thirst for accumulating more knowledge that will set you apart from the rest.

Invest in experiences rather than material items. Experiences build memories and strengthen social relationships.

Scuba-dive.

Bungee-jump.

Do something you never imaged yourself doing and enjoy every second of the thrill.

Build deep, meaningful relationships with people

“Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul. Speak as boldly with him as with yourself.” — Seneca

Show an interest in people’s lives. People love talking about themselves. Encourage it. Ask them questions. Display genuine attentiveness.

Send a friend a text asking them how they are.

Give that family member you haven’t seen in ages a call.

Record a voice note to an old school friend.

You’ll be surprised at the response you get when you reach out first.

When somebody does you a favour, show appreciation. We enjoy acknowledgement. If I did somebody a favour, I’ll be more inclined to help them out in future if they expressed genuine gratitude.

When we planned my daughter’s naming day, my wife changed the start time to an hour earlier than planned. When I asked her why, she indicated that “at least everybody will be here by the time we start the speeches!”

Don’t be late. It’s disrespectful and inconsiderate.

I always like to remember the phrase, “5 minutes early is on time; on time is late; late is unacceptable.” Rather arrive at an event or meeting earlier and wait around.

One of the best ways to bond with somebody, is to ask them a favour.

Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706 as the eighth of 17 children. His first promotion was in 1736 when he was chosen as clerk of the General Assembly. The following year, he was proposed for clerk again. But this time, a new member made a lengthy speech against him, in favour of his opposition.

He did not like the opposition of this member. He noted he was “a gentleman of fortune and education” with talents that would likely give him great political influence one day. Franklin wanted to gain his favour, but without “paying any servile respect to him.”

Franklin heard that the man had a very scarce book in his library. So, he wrote a note to him, asking whether he would be kind enough to lend it to him for a few days. The man obliged, and within a week, Franklin returned it with a thank-you note.

The next time they met, the man spoke to him for the first time, and with great civility. They became great friends, and the friendship continued until his death.

Surround yourself with intelligent, interesting people

“If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.” — Confucius

Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. People who impart knowledge and wisdom every time they speak.

The only way to grow as a person and progress, is to be around people you can learn from. People who challenge your views. Force you to be more analytical and logical.

Be flexible enough to forego any beliefs you might have held before. Conventional wisdom is a prison.

Question everything.

Growing up, my father always told me the daddy longlegs spider was the most venomous spider in the world. We were only safe because their teeth were so small, and unable to penetrate human skin. Since then, I’ve learnt both were myths, likely perpetuated by generations before.

Just because you’ve believed something all your life, doesn’t mean you need to continue doing so. Intelligence means the ability to adapt and form new conclusions based on updated information.

Remove yourself from toxic environments

“Sometimes you have to give up on people. Not because you don’t care but because they don’t. A person’s actions will tell you everything you need to know. Love yourself enough to say goodbye to those who don’t make time for you or don’t know how to love you back. Let go of what hurts, even if it hurts to let go.” — Jennifer Green

A toxic environment is one where you don’t feel yourself. One where you can’t express your views for fear of reprisal. It’s an environment in which you can’t be the real you.

The old adage goes, “blood is thicker than water”. Unfortunately, this appeal to loyalty is a classic logical fallacy. Whether it’s friends or family, you should not tolerate any amount of negativity.

I remember several years ago going to my local cinema to watch a movie. It was one I wanted to see for a while. I bought the ticket, along with popcorn and a drink. Halfway through, all I wanted to do was get up and walk out. It was bad. But I stayed for the duration. Besides, I’d already spent the money.

This mindset keeps us trapped. It’s usually applied in economics, but the sunk cost fallacy also explains aspects of human behaviour. It’s the reason people remain in relationships long after it should have ended.

In a study by researchers from the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal, they revealed people are inclined to stay in an unhappy relationship for 294 days longer if they had been with their partner for ten years or more.

Don’t be afraid of stepping away from relationships, friends or family that do you a disservice. You may receive some backlash. The best thing about being a grown adult is this: you do not owe anybody an explanation.

You are under no obligation to justify your decisions.

Build good habits

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” — John C. Maxwell

I love Netflix. I also love pizza. But, it’s important to have a good balance (not between Netflix and pizza!). Instead of the next binge-watch, maybe take a long walk? Nietzsche said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” Plus, there is the added benefit of exercise, introspection and fresh air.

My wife turned vegetarian a few years ago. In the process, she lost over 100 pounds, and immersed herself in the world of vegetarian and vegan cooking. Since then, she’s conjured up some of the most spectacular dishes I’ve ever tasted. So much so, that we’d much rather eat at home than at any restaurant.

For good habits to stick, you need to start small. Stanford University psychologist, BJ Fogg, has three steps to building lasting habits:

  • Make it small — something that is easy to do and fast. Floss one tooth, walk for three minutes or do two push-ups.
  • Find a spot — slot the habit into an existing routine, preferably after something you already do daily. That routine will act as the trigger.
  • Train the cycle — keep doing it every day. Set reminders for yourself initially if needed. After a while, it will become second nature.

Part of building good habits, it is getting rid of bad ones. But habits don’t end overnight, and any attempt to stop it immediately will likely fail. Mark Twain once said, “A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.”

Start small.

Chip away at it over time until it’s completely disappeared.

Don’t dwell on regret

“Never regret your past. Rather, embrace it as the teacher that it is.” — Robin Sharma

The sum of all your choices has led you to this point. We’ve all made mistakes in the past. Decisions we later learn to regret. But it’s these wrong decisions that have allowed us to learn.

It allows us to make more informed decisions in future.

To change, mature and grow.

Conclusion

I always keep the following quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson in mind to stay motivated:

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

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