This article first appeared on my Medium blog
I think I am old enough now to understand what I want, and the type of person I want to be. It’s taken a while to figure this out, but I am reasonably comfortable with who I am. The journey to getting to this place has been long, confusing and sometimes disappointing, but what I have learned along the way is that no matter how low you feel, how far away you think you are from being the person you want to be, it is always possible to make the necessary changes to become that person.
It’s not difficult, but you do need to spend some time thinking about what really motivates you, what really makes you feel good about yourself and what makes you feel proud. (I don’t mean the negative pride, I mean the pride you feel when you know you have achieved something good) as with all things that lead to a fruitful and a life of achievement it does take some effort and a little time to figure it out.
Let’s look at a few things that are typically what people want to change about themselves:
If you are not happy with the shape you are, then you have the power to change that. If you are comfortable with your shape, then great. But a large number of people I know do want to change something. Now, I do not believe cosmetic surgery is ever the answer, But you can start exercising. Exercising not only improves your overall health, it can dramatically improve your body shape and more importantly, it can and does improve your overall confidence.
Exercise does not have to be extreme. It can be light jogging, walking or just some general exercises at home in the evening or early morning. You decide what type of exercise you want to do, when and where. That’s the great thing about exercise. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. And you only have to do it three or more times a week.
If you are not happy with your personal style, you can change this too. Sites such as Pinterest and Instagram are great places to get inspiration about clothing, accessories and footwear. All you need to do is spend an evening or two searching through images to get a general feel of what you like, the colours and textures, and begin buying items of clothing you truly like and would enjoy wearing. Don’t follow fashion, create you own style and be comfortable and happy with it.
I actually did this around five years ago. I found myself a tailor to make my suits and shirts for me (they are not necessarily expensive) I used Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and I came up with a style that was a cross between the 1960s James Bond (the Sean Connery era), Cary Grant and Steve MacQueen. I didn’t know then, but it turns out this style is classically elegant (so I’m told) and timelessly fashionable. The biggest difference I have noticed is photos taken of me now never age. The clothing I am wearing never goes out of fashion and I always feel appropriately dressed and comfortable with what I am wearing.
Your Interaction With Other People
Your interactions with other people can have a huge impact on your overall feeling of wellbeing. Improving your interactions is simply a matter of becoming comfortable with asking questions about the person you are meeting and having a genuine interest in them. A book that really helped me was How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It was a revelation to me when I read this in my early twenties and still inspires me today. I am not a natural ‘people person’, but this book really helped me to understand people better and to help me improve my relationship building skills.
Okay, this may not be so common, but it is one I feel quite strongly about. I teach people to communicate better and so how people communicate their ideas and messages has always fascinated me. I admire people with great voices. People like Jeremy Clarkson, Noel Coward, Vincent Price, Richard Burton, Tom Hiddleston and Mike Rowe inspire me to speak clearer, more eloquently and better.
I also regularly listen to my speech to see if I have picked up any bad habits or if I am using too many “umms” and “errs”. If I have, I focus on removing them from my speech.
Learn something new
Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge universities put many of their courses up on iTunesU. If you want to broaden your education you can sign up for any of these courses for free. Read materials and watch videos it’s all there and all designed to enhance your eduction.
Of course if you want certificates, then you can enrol in any number of night school classes. Your choices are endless.
Whatever it is you want to improve in your life, then you really do have the power to do it. You need to first know what it is you want to change about yourself and that can take time to discover, but once you have discovered it, you can set about creating a plan that will take you on a path that will achieve that change. The resources we have available to us today are excellent. YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and other sites can all show you what you can achieve with just a little time investment.
So, if you are not happy with an area of your life and you want to change, then you know you can do it. Just make the decision and go ahead and make it happen. You have the power to change things in your own life and become an inspiration to others. So, instead of sitting on the sofa wishing you could change something in your life, get up, turn off the TV and start making that change today. Become a better version of yourself.