Healthy Living as the Basis for Self-Improvement and the Importance of Having a Mentor

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve finally settled in back home for winter break. It’s great to be able to have a whole month to focus solely on relaxation, socializing, going to the gym, and other personal development projects. This past week has reminded of two key lessons I had learned a while ago, but had not paid much attention to since.

The first lesson is that your overall health and vitality is the base for success in all other areas of life. I first learned this lesson last year when my diet was poor. I had little energy during the day and found myself taking frequent naps. After I finished my required schoolwork and obligations for the day, I would crash and not get much of anything else done. Even if I had plans for working on a particular area of my life for that day, I would find myself putting it off because of how tired I was. It was then that I realized that the only way I would be able to work on my own development in addition to the rest of the activity in my life was to improve my health. Once I got my diet and exercise routine back on track, my energy levels significantly increased and I found myself getting much more done than ever before. Of course, it is also essential that you are proficient in personal productivity, for which I highly recommend Getting Things Done by David Allen. The combination of a healthy lifestyle and a basic knowledge of how to best utilize your time will ensure you are able to find time to work on your self development.

The second lesson is more of a good piece of advice: If you wish to improve in a certain area, find a mentor in that area to learn from. There are many people out there who have paved the road to success for you, often by trial-and-error until they found a system that works. It would be a waste of time and effort to blindly go through the same trial-and-error process if there are others who are teaching a method that works for achieving that particular goal. For example, I referenced to David Allen in the above paragraph, who I would consider my mentor on personal productivity. In the area of health and wellness, Kevin Gianni (http://www.renegadehealth.com/) and Dr. Mercola (http://www.mercola.com/) have been my mentors. The internet is an amazing resource, with access to so many incredible individuals who have accomplished a lot in their field of work. I highly suggest utilizing it to the fullest by finding mentors, role models, and/or resources that align with your values and goals. If you are unsure of where to look, search out forums on the topic you are interested in and read the posts and ask questions to other individuals on the forum. For example, someone interested in transforming their body and building muscle may go to bodybuilding.com and check out the forums there to learn more and ask questions to those who are more experienced in that area. A simple google search can help you find a forum in the area you are interested in.

Enjoy your New Years!
Jon

Welcome, Introductions, and a Book Review

Hey everyone,

Jon here, and welcome to Living For Improvement. Mark Victor Hansen once said: “Improve your business, your life, your relationships, your finances and your health. When you do the whole world improves.” This blog is inspired by this idea and as such is a blog that discusses self-improvement of all kinds, both in theory and practical application. The practical application will be mostly through my own experiences. I am a college student living in NY and it can go without saying that I have a strong interest in developing myself to the fullest by actively improving all areas of my life. My goal for Living For Improvement is to both inspire and guide others in making changes for the better in their own lives. The former shall be accomplished with success stories and interesting articles/research I stumble upon. The latter, through discussing and posting resources that helped me to succeed.

With that in mind, I would like to discuss what I’ve been up to lately. I’m stuck in an almost deserted college campus for a few more days (it’s winter break now), so naturally I’ve found lots of time to catch up on reading. At the moment I’m reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

Many people naturally assume that small changes yield small results. You start to go for a run here and there, you get a little bit healthier; you cut down on spending by a small amount, you have that much more money left over at the end of the month; and so on. However, this book discusses the phenomenon of small changes being the catalyst for huge results. Through many interesting anecdotes and case studies, Gladwell explains how epidemics in ideas, trends, and fads begin, and distills it down into three categories (marketers and businesspeople would especially benefit).

The simple realization of the concepts in this book have already changed my perspective on self growth and development. Although Gladwell has geared his book towards case studies and examples of epidemics, trends, and popularity of a product, these same concepts are relevant within the microcosm of your own life. As per my examples given before, it seems logical to see a small change for the better yielding a small positive result. However, by looking at the big picture, one small change can really be the tipping point that results in huge gains in your life. Going back to the exercise example, by exercising twice a week, you may find a small, yet noticeable increase in your energy levels. This small increase in energy levels may result in slightly more productive output and less “slump time” throughout your day. This may be picked up by your boss, which could lead to a promotion (which is a huge result) or perhaps because you didn’t crash immediately after work, you got out more with your friends and met your next boyfriend/girlfriend (which has big potential). The possibilities are endless as to how a small change can directly or indirectly result in a huge change in your life. While each of these examples have a small probability by themselves, there are so many potential results that the probability of one of such changes happening is actually quite viable. Still don’t believe it? Try it for yourself! Thinking back, I can think of quite a few distinct changes I’ve made in my life that I never considered “big changes”, yet they resulted in quite a lot of improvement in the quality of my life.

Obviously, not every small change has this result, but there are those distinct few that do. By reading “The Tipping Point” you can begin to realize how starting up a conversation with the right person or slightly tweaking an exercise program can be that one small change you needed to see larger change in your life. Therefore, never hesitate to make a small change because it doesn’t seem as important as the “larger issues” at hand. You’ll be surprised how much change they can really make!

All the best,
Jon