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For them, the purpose of self-improvement is rather motivated by a subtle form of FOMO (fear of missing out).
They feel like they need to jump on every new seminar, read all the latest books, listen to all the podcasts, lift all the weight, hire all the life coaches, open all their chakras, and talk about all their childhood traumas.
These are the people that only come to self-help when things go wrong in life.
They just got slapped in the face with a divorce or someone close to them just died and now they’re depressed. They use self-help material to fix whatever is bothering them, to get them back on their feet, and then they’re off into the world again.
The only way to truly benefit from self-improvement is to one day arrive at a place where you no longer need it.
It’s fine to indulge in self-improvement material as long as you understand your relationship to it. And you make sure that it’s a relationship where you control it, not the other way around.
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Regardless of our external circumstances, we live in a constant state of mild-but-not-fully-satisfying happiness. Things are pretty much always fine. But they could also always be better. And that's why most of us live most of our lives constantly chasing our imagined "better".
It's the constant chasing of pleasure.
People who are constantly striving for a “better life” end up expending a ton of effort only to end up in the same place.
For many people, life is full of struggles. However, many struggles can be lessened through reasonably clear steps: set goals, build better habits, learn more, do the work.
Facing life's struggles often create pain and lack, but it also adds a motivating tension in your life that gives structure and direction for the things you do.
Once the major struggles in your life are gone, the motivating tension diminishes too. The result is that you desire to regain that energizing force. One strategy people use to regain this tension is self-destruction. They break the thing they worked hard to build.
Sometimes, what was previously good enough is now not acceptable anymore. It could be a person who gets in shape but now wants 6% body fat.
The problem isn't the mindset of continual growth, but motivating that growth by creating new, imagined needs. One can pursue excellence without mentally downgrading your past accomplishments.
“Life is essentially an endless series of problems—the solution to one problem is merely the creation of the next..."
Life is full of paradoxes, and anything and everything that we hope for or desire only leads to more anxiety and stress, creating new problems for us.
We can be content. But it's not simple. To understand why we seem to be constantly dissatisfied with ourselves and the world, we must understand some basic psychological principles.
Our behavior, contentment, desires, expectations, and body clocks are set differently, and this may lead to conflicts and problems with others.