Forget Self-Improvement

Forget Self-Improvement

Ever wonder how some people accomplish so much? They run marathons, write novels, start companies… without making it seem like a big deal?

Well, it is a big deal. And in spite of how effortless these accomplishments may appear, people work harder than you likely realise to make these things happen. There is, however, one thing they know-at least in practice-that you don’t.

Most of us want to finish the race, but see running as a chore. A few dream about being great authors, but find the writing itself to be slow and difficult. Some of us learn all we can about starting a company, only to hit a wall when it comes time to get down to work.

Self-help books and workshops arm us with ways to trick ourselves into doing things we perhaps should, but generally don’t want, to do. I ask whether this lack of will might actually be the universe trying to tell us something?

Maybe you aren’t supposed to bother with the tedious stuff. Perhaps the reason you haven’t done it yet, is that you weren’t meant to. Might achievement, as a goal unto itself, be pointless? Could this need to have done something notable, simply be greed in a more socially-acceptable form?

More than all of the rest, though: What if the missing part of the puzzle is not a lack of willpower, but instead a lack of love?

The runner discovers tranquility on the road, forgetting the pain. The writer gives in to the joy of playing with words, moving past the aggravation. The entrepreneur finds purpose in making something, and stops noticing the long days.

You can spend your life fretting about how healthy, interesting, or successful you are. In fact, a whole industry depends upon this, and is eager to help you make plans to change.

On the other hand, you might consider simply finding what you love, and letting the rest take care of itself.

Forget Self-Improvement [Deliberatism]

Eric Karjaluoto is Creative Director at smashLAB and practices Deliberatism.


  • “Find what you love and let the rest take care of itself”?
    This seems to be playing Devil’s Advocate to your recommenations inspired by Study Hacks…

  • This makes a certain sense. I’ve spent -hundreds- of hours writing and developing my wordpress blog ( This is seriously a misappropriation of time, lol, (as I don’t have a paying job right now) but I LOVE doing it. Yeah it can get boring sometimes, yeah it can seem like work at others, but the thrill of writing, of seeing something that I dreamed up come to life and grow in complexity, that thrill is so rewarding to me! And doing it on wordpress makes it that much -more- rewarding because people view it and post comments… My point is that I love writing, and I don’t see how anyone -could- do it if they didn’t absolutely love it.
    I am also a sports/exercise nazi. I love to run, mostly because like this says, it makes everything else disappear, the pain and frustration of general life, the clouded thoughts of a writers’ mind, the disappointment of being out of work. Everything. (I also love sports, because I am -super- competitive physically) I also like to work out. Now, I say like because I don’t actually love doing something so difficult, so physically and emotionally draining, and wanting to eat everything in the fridge afterward. But I do it for aesthetics. I like to look good because I am one of those who was overly skinny as a young child (because I liked outside games that involved a -lot- of cardio I suppose, and also genetics) and if I totally forgot about weight training, I would probably drop twenty pounds and look anorexic. Not attractive in the mirror, not in my opinion. So, can you do something you only like even though it is difficult and viewed more as work than play? Yes. Is it as rewarding? No. I get a certain satisfaction out of getting slightly longer looks at the beach, and I like knowing that I am a solid barrier between anyone who means harm to me or my family (I live in the ghetto, lmao) but that’s it. Writing is my greatest, most favorite, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and it will be for the rest of my life. THAT is how I know I’m an author. Running long distances is the most relaxing, the most tranquil thing I do, and it relieves the stress that today’s society imposes on the individual. That is how I know I’m a runner, and that I’ll do it until I am forcefully instructed by a doctor to stop. Weight lifting will loose its charm, I probably wont be doing it once the benefits become less and less and I’ll get skinny. It’s the way of things. It’s kind of the reason for retirement, lol (that and old age kind of inhibits the manual labor involved in a great many professions).
    This page is very interesting. It simply states something that we all can admit to be true in a simple way. Think back to high school, how many times were you asked what you wanted to do? Loving the career that you were setting up for yourself was probably a dominant factor in choosing what college coursework you would take. If you don’t love it, you wont stick with it for the rest of your life. If you do, you will.
    Thanks Lifehacker, for the reminder to keep love with us in everything that we do.

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