Improving yourself and life Part 3

In Part 1 I gave you one step to improve your life, reading.

In Part 2 we discussed Taking a Class, Researching things and Practicing what you have learned.

Today, let’s continue our growth.

5. Apply yourself. If you want the money to buy a new gizmo, or if you are tired of being broke, apply the previous recommendations. Make your own coffee and skip the Starbucks, bring a MRE and skip eating lunch out. Quit smoking.

Heck, get out the telescope and look at the stars. Admire them. That is part of applying yourself.

If your growth is personal security, stay alert throughout the day, look for ways to be more secure, apply the principles you learned from Reading, Taking a Class, Researching and Practicing.

What do I do to improve myself? Let’s first start with I “want” to do.

I want to:

Write every day, blogs, books, articles et al.

3 days a week practice IDPA / 3 Gun handgun shooting for 150 to 200 rounds each time, 3 days a week practice 3 Gun shotgun, 3 days a week practice both CMP shooting and spend time 3 days on precision longer range shooting (200 to 800 years) and more time on 3 Gun rifle shooting.

I want to work out twice a day 5 days, maybe 6 a week, Yoga, weights/strength, endurance (running/swimming) and self-defense (kick-boxing, MMA, Boxing).

I want to get a massage once a week, I want reflexology once a week and a non-cracking adjustment once a week.

I want to read the Bible and Biblical literature at least an hour a day every day and I want to read an hour or so of “self-help” books. I could go on and on, you get the idea.

Did you notice something here? No, not that I mentally have my life planned out! What you might have noticed is there were a lot of “I” there. I would be one lonely person, smart, good with firearms, physically fit and yet very lonely.

Make sure you keep your life in balance as you set out for new skills.

What I “try” to do is: Write twice a week for 4 hours total. Shoot my pistol every week, 100 rounds and quite often I don’t even get that in. I try to read the Bible and do a short study every morning and read part of a book every night, I probably hit this 50% if the time. This brings me to my 6th point.

6. Build relationships. As I mentioned in the beginning of Part 2 of this series, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said “You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet.”

Not all relationships make you better, however you cannot be better, for yourself and your posterity, if you don’t build relationships. New and old relationships count. You don’t know which ones will come around, so you need to nurture them all.

Jon Acuff talks about relationships in his book Do Over, I suggest you add it to your reading list, no matter what your improvement desires are. Yes, there are other books that talk about relationships. I could turn around in the chair I am sitting in and start listing the ones on my book shelf that I have read and those that are in my to be read section.

Not all relationships grow to “best buds” or BFF’s however you never know which ones will, without investing time and purposefully searching out new relationships. Not all relationships have to be time consuming, however I do think they must be deeper than Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn relationships. Yearly meeting over coffee, or emailing someone you met at a conference asking how they are doing or even asking for advice does not build a relationship.

Don’t start off a relationship as a know it all, that will kill it fast, don’t be a mooch either. If you need to be a sponge on a subject, make sure the other person knows they are a mentor.

7. Be a mentor, or at the very least an instructor. Did you notice earlier I mentioned that I am teaching Wilderness First Aid, actually I am part of a Team teaching it through SURV. By teaching and leading on a subject, you will (should) improve your skills on the subject.

A mentor and great guy, Col (Ret.) Grossman
A mentor and great guy, Col (Ret.) Grossman

I used to believe mentors had to be “in person” and I do believe that is the best way. After meeting Lt. Col. Grossman, my thoughts on that opened up. After one of his conferences he took almost 30 minutes to talk to me, one on one. I was the 2nd to last person through the line to get his autograph. He made me feel like what I did (church security) was extremely important. I doubt he will ever know how much he influenced me that day and through his writings does to this day.

This brings up something important. Make sure you know how to communicate, which is a very good skill to have no matter what you do.

By investing in others you must work on the previous 6 suggestions. I cannot tell you how great it was for me to teach continuing education classes at our local community college, it was hard work but the rewards were great.

Did you notice that I did not use the work “finally” in this article? The reason is there is no “finally” in life.

Plan on continually improving current relevant, to you, skills and build relationships. Things change.

It took me 2 years to write the book “A Novice Guide to Tweaking and Optimizing Every Computer”, I finished and had it ready to published in 2006. The next month Windows Vista came out! Technology is not the only skill that advances, medicine (CPR with and without breaths comes to mind), leadership (during the industrial revolution, brute force was the way, with today’s millennials, it takes a whole different type of leading to make an venture successful, marketing… you get the idea.

Until we meet again, go out and become better.