12th May, 2019

Being the best version of myself

We are all trying to get better at something. We are all trying to improve. We may not have thought about it carefully or written it out, but we are trying. Maybe it is being a better parent, be better in our field of work, or maybe it is just being better in a video game. It does not matter what it is, but we all are constantly trying to improve. Or at least this is the way I like to think about humanity. Maybe I am naive.

I, too, try to get better at various things. I try to be better as a developer, which is what I earn my money with. I try to get better in relationships with other people. I try to get better in the sports I do. I try to be a better human in general. This might not be what you are trying to improve in, and that is okay. It does not matter what it is we are trying to improve in, as long as it matters to us.

For all the things I try to get better in, I tend to be quite ambitious. I've heard from others that I am rather disciplined, and while I often times do not think so, this might be true. Being ambitious can be good, but it also comes with a dark side. This side emerges once I fail at something I wanted to improve on. When I miss one day of writing morning pages. When I do not exercise for a week or so. When I eat meat, even though I think a vegan diet is the only viable diet from a logical standpoint. I tend to beat myself up then. I tend to think that I am a failure.

This is bullshit. There is no reason to think this way. As long as I realise that I did not act like the version I'd like to be and get back it the next day, it is okay1. Of course, I would have liked it better have I acted in the right way. But nobody is perfect, there is no person in this world that is constantly acting the way they would like to. Our characters are never finished.

The important thing is this: In the grand picture, I got better. I made progress. Missing one shot does not move me back to where I started. It is a hiccup, but the progress is not lost. Compared to who I was a day, a week or a year ago, I am so much better now, because I put in the effort.

I recently read "Ego is the Enemy" by Ryan Holiday (which is a great book I can only recommend), and in it was a quote by John Wooden:

"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best you are capable of becoming"

In the long run, we are getting better. Small setbacks are normal.

I know this, but I have to keep telling it myself every time I am in a situation like this. It is okay to slip, as long as you get back up after it.


  1. It is something entirely different if this does not make me feel bad at all. In this case, I am probably wasting my time on something that does not matter to me and I should let it go.

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