Activating Version 2.0: From Dull Larva To Bright Butterfly
Thoughts on becoming a better version of yourself
I have always been curious about people. I find human beings quite fascinating: how we are all so alike and yet, so different. I constantly wonder why people behave the way they do or say the things they say. How is it possible that siblings who were brought up the same way under the same roof behave in absolutely different ways? How could two people experience the same type of trauma but react in different ways? I wish I could get into everyone’s head to find out what makes them the way they are but I don’t have that super power, yet.
By extension, I like to look inward and ask myself the same questions. Why am I the way I am now? How much of my upbringing has made me who I am today? And what about the situations I have been exposed to in life? the environments I have been in, and how have they formed me? How much influence have I had on deciding what type of life I would live and how powerful has that influence been in my life?
As I self-reflect, I also wonder: why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing with my life? What should I focus on achieving? And then I think a bit deeper and ask myself: what am I naturally attuned to? What do I like doing? What don’t I enjoy doing? In what situations do I present the best version of myself? How can I activate my best self consistently?
Because of this constant need to discover more about myself, I must have done hundreds of personality assessments, skills tests, etc. Well, maybe not hundreds but a lot. I remember my brother joking once about how obsessed I was with taking online personality assessments when I didn’t even study psychology! And yes, I am still very much obsessed with personality tests.
My preoccupation with trying to understand myself has been because I constantly want to be a better person. I realise that becoming a better person is hinged on understanding the current version of myself otherwise, what exactly would I be focused on improving? It’s like knowing your car so well that once you hear a strange sound, you immediately know whether it’s nothing to worry about or if there’s an issue. And if there is an issue, it could even be that you have a pretty good idea of what it is because you know your car so well.
Many people want to be better people, most struggle with this: it’s normal. I mean who doesn’t want to see improvements in all aspects of their lives? Which person recognises their weaknesses and understands the negative effects in their lives but chooses not to do anything about it? Most people would at least try even if they end up giving up.
People say it all the time: “I want to be the best version of myself”. At the beginning of the year, many people chant: “New Year, New Me”. We post all sorts of things on social media that suggest we are preparing to emerge from our larva stage so that we can float around in our butterfly wings. There is so much that goes into saying how much we want to improve ourselves but so little goes into how we achieve this.
For some people, the desire to improve exists but they are fixated on other people and how much better they seem to be. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with looking at another person and aspiring to be like them but that shouldn’t be your driver. We all have different journeys in life and we need to be careful not to stray from our paths or else we could end up living other people’s lives.
Some of the people who focus on others tend to compare themselves with those people and automatically decide there is no way they could ever match them, so they don’t even try. They could go as far as making up excuses for giving up before they start: “The reason she was able to lose so much weight is that she is a stay-at-home mum. I mean, if she worked hard at a 9–5 like I did, she wouldn’t have time to exercise” or “He is so successful because he comes from a wealthy home. If I was born into wealth, I wouldn’t have to struggle so much”. And when it comes to dealing with character or personality battles, the excuse could be “oh, she’s phlegmatic that’s why she is so calm, you know we cholerics are never patient, it is in our nature”.
And some, like the previous type of people, also hold other people as their standard. In this case, they benchmark their improvements with their idols. The people they look up to become their standard for being or doing better. The problem with this is that such people could be in a race they may never win because their idol is probably also improving. Either that or they may discover that their idol is not genuine, and the life they have been aspiring to has always been a smokescreen.
In seeking to be a better YOU, it is important for you to understand yourself completely: know your strengths and your weaknesses. Your strengths so you can know what advantages you have and your weaknesses so you can know where improvements are required. You most definitely cannot work on all your weaknesses at once, that would be the surest path to disappointment, so you must decide what area of your life you need to address per time.
Self-knowledge alone has never transformed anyone; action is also required. It is in the doing that we get results, and those results never come overnight that is why we also need to be consistent and disciplined. Bringing about change in any situation is hard let alone when that change has to be internal. You must make a personal commitment to yourself to be better. I remember when I first started my weight loss journey (I have fallen off a few times but I am getting back there), making the choices and decisions I took were not easy. I found it easier to take each day at a time and not expect miraculous change overnight. One day I woke up, and a miracle had taken place.
In aspiring and striving to be a better YOU, let every day be a quest for improvement. Focus on your desired future and not on someone else’s present state. Do something each day that contributes towards the self-improvement goal you are aspiring towards. , that way you’re not under any pressure to meet up with standards that aren’t yours. If you put in the work and take it one step at a time, you can achieve version 2.0: this is the way I see things today.