Set the goal of being a little bit better today than you were yesterday.
Make the commitment to be better each day by having better thoughts, making better choices, and taking better actions. The better person you are, the better people, life situations, and opportunities you will attract into your life. Below you’ll find 16 ways to become a better person.
1. Pick Yourself. Whatever it is that you want to accomplish or achieve, stop waiting for somebody else to pick you. Instead, pick yourself. Here are four examples:
- If you want to be a writer, stop waiting for a publishing house to accept your manuscript. Instead, publish it yourself.
- If you want to make more money, stop waiting for your company to raise your salary. Instead, create an additional source of income in your spare time.
- If you want a better education, stop waiting for people working in a college admissions office to accept you. Instead, create your own curriculum and learn what you need from books, seminars, and online courses.
- If you want to be an actor but you’re not being cast in any movies, write your own script and give yourself the starring role (think Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in “Goodwill Hunting”)
2. Start a Business. Starting a business will do all of the following for you:
- It will teach you to generate ideas, test those ideas, and execute them.
- It will give you problem-solving skills.
- It will teach you marketing and selling skills.
3. Travel the World. When you travel you gain new experiences, you learn about different cultures, and you get to sample different lifestyles. In addition, you get to taste exotic food, listen to different music genres, and see different art forms. At the very least, you’ll be more interesting and have better stories to tell.
4. Do Something Artistic. Take an art class, learn to make pottery, or learn to make jewelry. Making art is a form of self-expression, and it can even be healing. There are few things as rewarding and life affirming as creating something new with your own two hands.
5. Volunteer. True happiness comes from giving and doing for others. Volunteer organizations always need more help. Find a cause that’s close to your heart–child hunger, domestic violence, animal cruelty, and so on–, and volunteer your time and/or your expertise.
6. Develop Your Character. Benjamin Franklin–one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America–came up with a list of 13 virtues that he wanted to develop. He also devised a method for acquiring these virtues. Here’s what he would do:
- He would devote a week to each virtue, and observe and monitor his behavior to make sure that it was aligned with that week’s virtue.
- If he felt that he had committed any faults related to the week’s virtue, he would make a little black mark in a book that he kept with him at all times.
- His objective was to go through the week without having to make any black marks in his book.
You can follow a similar method to develop your own character. What virtues would you like to develop? How can you observe and monitor your behavior to make sure that you’re adhering to those virtues?
7. Take An Improv Class. Taking an improv class will teach you to think faster and better on your feet. Knowing how to push a conversation forward can help you to score a date, land a job, or close the deal.
In the book “Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses “No, But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration“, the authors–executives from the world’s premier comedy theater and school of improvisation–argue that business is an act of improvisation. They add that the world is a gray place, and having an improv toolkit is important.
The authors also say the following;
- Improvisation is yoga for your social skills.
- It teaches you to create something out of nothing.
- You learn to respond to the unexpected.
8. Master a Game. Mastering a game–such as chess or Go–teaches you strategy, it teaches you to compete, and it teaches you flexibility and adaptability. In addition, you learn to master your emotions–playing chess against a worthy opponent can be mental torture. Also, it teaches you to lose — which is something that you need to know how to do, if you want to win.
9. Master a Sport. Mastering a sport teaches you everything that you learn by mastering a game, but you’re also getting a physical workout. Plus, there’s no shortage of sports you can try.
10. Become More Lovable. The other day I saw the following quote go by on my Twitter stream: “If you want to be loved, be lovable.” The quote was credited to the Roman poet, Ovid. We all want to be loved, so, how do become more lovable? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Give others genuine praise.
- Encourage others to go after their dreams.
- If you must criticize, do so gently and compassionately.
- Be kind.
11. Learn a Foreign Language. As I wrote in my post “21 Fantastic Tips and Hacks For Learning a Foreign Language“, I speak three languages and am currently learning a fourth. Why would I go through the trouble of learning another language? Because learning languages has many benefits.
Here are some of them:
- Learning a new language will make you more cultured;
- It will make you a global citizen;
- It gives your brain a good workout; and
- It will give you a sense of accomplishment.
12. Solve a Problem. Once in awhile I’ll watch a show called “Modern Family”. Claire Dunphy–a character in the show–is a soccer mom. In one episode she’s angry because there’s a sports car that keeps speeding through the suburban streets of her neighborhood.
Instead of just complaining about the speeding car, she takes action to solve the problem. In a later episode, she succeeds in getting the local council to install a “Stop Sign” on her street. Is there a problem that you’re constantly complaining about? Stop complaining and start taking steps to solve it.
13. Become a Better Communicator. While everyone knows how to talk, few people have mastered the skill of communicating. In turn, much conflict is caused by miscommunication. Learn to speak clearly and concisely. In addition, learn to become a better listener.
14. Learn How to Learn. Learning how to learn is a meta-skill. It’s about acquiring an approach to learning that will allow to learn any skill that you’re trying to master better and faster. And the more skills you know, the better person you can be.
15. Start a Blog. You can become a better person by starting a blog on a topic that interests you. Why? At the very least, it will encourage you to research and learn more about your topic. In addition, you can create a community of like-minded people who share your interests. You could even get to the point in which you’re recognized as an expert on your topic.
16. Always Be Polite. Yesterday someone contacted me asking if they could publish one of my blog posts on their site. It turns out that they were asking for permission after the fact (they had already published my post). In addition, although they gave me credit for having written the article, they didn’t even link to my site.
I was tempted to send a scathing email demanding that they take my post down, immediately. However, I sent a polite email asking that they “kindly take my post down”. They did take it down, and I felt much better about myself than if I had sent a meanly-worded email.
Be a better person by always being polite.
Every day you have a brand new opportunity to be a better person. Take it. You can get started with the 16 ways to be a better person outlined above. Live your best life by being a better person.
- How to Sharpen the Saw – Adopting Habits of Renewal (Part 1)
- How to Start Your Day The Right Way
- Eight Ways to Build to New Habits and Make Them Stick
- Seven Things To Stop Doing To Become An Early Riser
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