Hello readers and welcome to ‘Self Improve Me’. Let me introduce myself, my name is Adam, I am man and I have a guilty pleasure. I am an avid reader of self-help books, listener of self-help podcasts and watcher of self-help documentaries.
I blame Danny Wallace*, this all began when I read his book ‘Yes Man’ and decided to conduct my own ‘Yes Man’ experiment for a few months. This resulted in me travelling to Australia and Dubai on my own, starting a band, running two half marathons in a week, taking up Yoga and moving home (twice). Since then I have been on the hunt for the next Eureka moment that will have a positive effect on my life and has resulted in my interest being piqued by anything on the ‘Self Help’ bookshelf.
I admit it; I’m hooked and yet for all the hours spent devouring this material I am not entirely sure that I am actually improving. You see the problem I have is that I can be a bit faddy (is that even a word?), I can have a different hobby from month to month and get wild ideas about how the self-help book of that week has changed my life before deciding that it’s actually nonsense and move on to something else. Not only that but I also suffer from a mild dose of lazyitis (thanks Sean Ryder**) and whilst I am inspired by the self-help ideas I rarely put it into action my learnings and stick with them for a significant amount of time.
However, it appears that I no longer have to hang my head it shame due to my obsession as I am not on my own in my pursuit of self-improvement, the self-improvement industry is estimated to be worth $11 Billion dollars in the United States alone. Even the stiff upper lip of us Brits appears to be quivering under the pressure to improve and pursue happiness. Currently in the list of UK non-fiction best sellers you can find titles on improving many aspects on your life including wealth and happiness, minimising your belongings, improving your gut, learning how to fold your clothes properly and even how to be happier by learning to live more Danish-ly (not like a pastry, like the nation of Scandinavians).
In fact, every time I am stranded in a train station waiting for my off-peak ticket to come good I have a quick browse in a book store and there they are, the latest self-improvement books proudly displayed on the bookshelves next to hard back copies of books with Richard Branson and Alan Sugar smugly gazing down on me. More and more people are getting more bendy and zen like if the abundance of Yoga and meditation classes are anything to go by and there is even a ‘Mindfulness’ clinic on my local high street.
So in order to force myself to stop reading and start doing when it comes to my own self-improvement I have had a bit of a brain wave (lightbulb emoji) and the idea is this, I am going to conduct my own self-imposed experiment, an experiment where I am the subject matter and the variables are the various self-improvement ideas and concepts that I discover in the next 12 months.
Science wasn’t my favourite subject by any stretch of the imagination at school and I left with a paltry two C grades for double science. Despite the excitement of lighting gas taps and occasionally getting to watch the teacher’s set fire to iron filings (perhaps I’m a pyromaniac?!) experiments weren’t really my thing.
What’s that you scoff, how can someone with a paltry 2 C GCSE grades for double science possibly believe that they can conduct a meaningful experiment and expect us to take the results seriously? Well, what I lack in a level of knowledge in Science bettered by most 16-year-old pupils last summer, I more than make up for in enthusiasm and a plan… and structure. Boy, do I like me a plan and some structure.
As an IT Professional that has been twice nominated as a finalist for a national Business Analyst of the year award but has not yet won (always the Bridesmaid and never the Bride huh?) I like to think that I know a thing or two about what a successful project looks like and how the success of the start-up phase of the project and having a good plan can make or break it.
So here is the erm….plan. Over the next twelve months I will be trying out a different self-improvement concept or idea to see how I can self-improve. I will try out a new self-improvement idea in three-week ‘sprints’ and at the end of each sprint I will review how it has gone to identify the things that I will stop doing, continue to do and start to do as a result of that sprints self-improvement ‘journey’.
Not only that but during the sprints I will be documenting my self-improvement journey by reporting back here to my faithful readers…….cue tumbleweed… providing regular updates on progress towards my new zen like status. Think of ‘Self Improve Me’ as an amazon book review on steroids or the diary of a mad man.
Rather than planning out which aspects of my mind, body and soul over the course of the next year I have decided that I am going to take it one book or idea at a time and see where my journey takes me. By doing this I am hoping that I can learn and continue to adapt taking with me any achievements into my next three-week sprint.
So here goes nothing, strap yourselves in as we are going on a ride my friend, on the long and winding road to self-improvement.
It’s time to ‘Self Improve Me’ and I’m hoping that by you joining me on my adventure that there will be a little bit of you that gets improved along the way.
- *Danny Wallace – the film maker, comedian, writer actor, presenter and ‘humourist’ according to Wikipedia
- **Sean Ryder – Singer in the Indie band the Happy Mondays who released the song ’Lazyitis’ with Karl Denver in 1990