The Most Important First Step to Self Improvement
The first step toward change is awareness. - Nathaniel Branden
The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself. - Mark Caine
Becoming Aware and Realizing We’re on Autopilot
Humans have huge egos. We like to think that we’re always making conscious decisions every day, when in reality most of the time our minds are on auto-pilot. We never realize that our daily routines, tasks and habits (like driving, brushing your teeth and moving around) are all part of our instinctual robotic side. There is no chance for self-improvement and positive change without first stopping and shutting ourselves off from auto-pilot. Here is a simple diagram of our brain:
The 3 Human Brains
As we stumble along throughout our day, we may catch glimpses from the rational part of our brain (Cortex – outer brain) telling us things like “oh I probably shouldn’t eat that, or I have to quit smoking, or I need to find a better job, or why don’t I treat my family better.” However, usually this is just a moment that passes until our autopilot, instinctual brain (Reptilian – old brain) kicks back in to keep us motoring in whatever direction we were going at that moment.
The next step: Breaking Autopilot
Interrupting our own Autopilot is the first step to any sort of positive change that we want for ourselves. This can be called taking time to reflect, being mindful or meditative. Using true conscious decision to take control back in our own lives is not easy to do. I’ve coasted and stumbled through life just going with the flow for the longest time, but everyone at some point does. This causes us to become stagnant in our own personal and professional growth.
Turning off autopilot and focusing on making conscious decisions is extremely important to improving ourselves. Even though this is very hard to do for the majority of us, here are some very effective steps that we can use to achieve this.
Now it’s time to Realize Your Life’s Blueprint
I first learned about the concept of Blueprint from Tony Robbins, my favorite motivational speaker. Blueprint is how we view how our lives should be at this present moment in time (Hint: This should be the best version of yourself). So are you ready to take action today?
Do this: Taking Action Exercise (Important!)
Take a moment to find a pen or pencil and on a piece of paper draw a line down the middle to divide it in two sections. Next in the top left hand column write down the words ‘My Blueprint’, then under that write down how you think your life should be at this moment in time.
Start writing down everything, from what kind of relationship you should be in, how your body looks, what kind of energy level you have, how much money you should be making, what kind of job or career you are in, to even what kind of car you are driving. Do this until you run out things to write.
- Find a pen or pencil and a piece of paper
- Write down ‘Blueprint’ in the top left hand corner
- Below Blueprint write down how your life should be:
- What kind of shape your body is in
- What kind of job/career you have
- What kind of relationship you are enjoying
- What kind of car you drive, money, things you own
- Where you’ve traveled to, etc, etc…
- Keep writing till you run out of space at the bottom
Time to Get Disturbed
Now it’s time to make another list, in the right hand column next to each blueprint item write down how your life truly is at this moment. For example, “Are you not in a relationship? Are you making 30k instead of 150k a year? Do you have a little bit of padding instead of a 6-pack?”
- In the right column, next to each item, write how your life actually is at this moment
- Write all the way down till the end
- Now take time to reflect
This 2nd list of items is called our Current Life Conditions.
Your level of satisfaction and fulfillment can be explained in these two simple points:
- If your life conditions equal or exceed your blueprint, you are happy.
- If your life conditions do not equal your blueprint, you are unhappy.
This is the biggest reason why many of us are depressed and unhappy. However, with emotion and drive we can change.
An important idea that Tony also talks about is getting disturbed. You have to get agitated and disturbed enough to want to change to be the best version of yourself. That person you described with the Blueprint exercise.
When I went through this quick exercise it was a very eye opening and an emotional experience for me. This clarity was energizing because I realized that there IS a better version of myself that does exist and the only things holding me back were excuses and lack of purpose.
Wise words from the Terminator
Arnold then quickly grabs him by the neck, lifts him up and jolts him. When Connor finally responds back in rage, the Terminator puts him down and says “Anger is more useful than despair”.
So the idea here is to get mad and get disturbed if your life conditions aren’t matching up to your blueprint.
Get disturbed enough to do something about it!
We can take massive action now to attain our goals and match our blueprints. Aspire to becoming the best version of yourself today, now there is a worthy goal.
Go Forth with Drive
Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Tony Robbins…
Move yourself in the direction you want to go rather than looking for someone else to motivate you. To do things for your reasons will give you a lasting sense of drive instead of just a momentary feeling of motivation. Remember, motivation is temporary; drive is permanent.
Stay tuned for more articles on how to keep your drive going!