Better, Brains, & Baby Steps
“I didn't know I was broken
'til I wanted to change, I wanna get better.
Better, better, better, I wanna get better”
- Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better
I’m starting to think that I should write a self-help book. A quick online search indicates that there is a massive market for them and that an outrageous or witty title might even land me on the Best Seller List. The popularity of books providing self-help and other life-hack strategies is evidence that people are looking to evolve, change, and grow. They’re not just looking to be different tomorrow than they are today, they’re looking to get better…. better, better, better.
Who doesn’t want to get better? Contrary to the lyrics above, we don’t need to be “broken” to change, we simply need to possess some level of desire for self-improvement. But will that process require substantial learning, new ways of thinking, or even something more radical? And are we even capable of producing that type of change?
While we often hear that “you can’t teach a dog new tricks”, our brains would beg to differ. In fact, the concept of neuroplasticity tells us that our brains have the ability to change continuously throughout our lives. Instead of being hard-wired, it is malleable (like a piece of Play-Doh), meaning that we absolutely possess the capacity to not only change, but also “get better”.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”
- Vincent Van Gogh
With a brain designed for change and the desire for self-improvement, how should we start? We can start by combining the quote above from Vincent Van Gogh with the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Those two seemingly incongruous things may provide a blueprint for the change we seek. The short translation for Kaizen is “continual improvement”, and like compound interest, its power lies not in huge leaps, but in slow and steady growth. In simple terms, the best plan for self-improvements does not require massive change, but rather “baby steps” towards “better”. While this approach may take a little longer to see success, each “baby step” allows you to reassess and plan your next one.
I love the idea of “getting better” for several reasons, including:
1. “Better” is simple - Not best, not great, just…better. Each small step is a win worth celebrating
2. “Better” is evergreen – With no final destination, the journey towards better never stops
3. “Better” is self-defined – Your definition of better is the measuring stick, so be nice to yourself
These three axioms dovetail well with the discussion I often have with my clients; will you be the same 365 days from now, or will you be better? And if your goal is to be better, what does better look like, and what does better require?
With that in mind, creating a plan that celebrates endless small victories seems to be the prescription. The process is even more powerful when those victories are aligned with your Values and Goals. To help you begin your journey towards better, our team has created an online course that I believe will assist you in becoming the best possible version of yourself AND lead to career success, personal achievement, and fulfillment both personally and professionally. I hope you click the link below to begin.
I wanna get better. Are you with me?