Do you know any self-improvement junkies? I confess, I was one for years. Books, conferences, trainings; I couldn’t get enough. The self-improvement movement is a $10 billion dollar industry in the U.S alone, and is based on a premise that few seem to recognize.
The subtle, foundational and POWERFUL message: There is something wrong with you, and this book, seminar or program is going to fix you. Finally! You’re going to be fixed. Except, improvement is not just a message, it’s a context. It is a game. In the game of improvement, something is wrong with you and you’re not enough. In this game, your prize for winning is always more to work on. A context of improvement leaves you only and always with more to improve. Congratulations, you just won more to fix!
In the game of self-improvement, your prize for winning is always more to work on.
You may be asking, “Then why do anything if we’re not fixing something? Why read, go to school, exercise, get married, hold jobs, pray, etc?” Great question! Anything that’s alive requires a renewed flow of energy in order to grow and express; this is universal law here. There is nothing wrong or broken in that humans need to eat, drink, rest, relate and have challenges in order to thrive. This is not a flaw in the design…this is the design.
Why do anything if we’re not fixing something?
I’m all for books, seminars, programs, exercise and wellness practices. I’m committed to life-long learning and healthy living. But where I’m coming from, the context I’m learning and living in, makes all the difference. I can read a book from “Something’s wrong with me and I need to be fixed,” or read the same book from “I’m already whole and here’s another opportunity to grow.” Where I’m coming from will make a difference in the results I generate from reading that book.
The self doesn’t need improvement. It needs re-creation, re-invention or outright abandonment.
A game of aliveness has different rules and a very different prize than a game of improvement. The self doesn’t need improvement. It needs re-creation, re-invention or outright abandonment. With aliveness, you can create and invent yourself, or re-create and re-invent yourself…as often as you choose. And your prize is growth and expression. It is a game that leaves you, the winner, being fully alive.
Consider that your daily practices can be amazing support for the expansion of your aliveness rather than improvement of your perceived brokenness. Your intention really matters here. Freedom creates more freedom, and bondage creates more bondage. You get to create the parameters for the game you are playing. It will either be a game of aliveness or a game of improvement, determined only by your language; how you speak it to be. Improvement creates you needing more to improve and aliveness creates you being more fully alive. Which do you prefer?
Freedom creates more freedom, and bondage creates more bondage.
There is no winner in the game of self-improvement. But the game of aliveness…this is the game you were born to win.