Self Improvement


Having pinpointed your strengths through the RBS exercise offers a door to a better understanding of handling your weaknesses and allows us to gain the confidence we need to address them.

Lastly, you can use your strengths to better shape the positions you choose to play -- both now and in the next phases of your career.

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Self Improvement

Reflected Best Self (RBS) Exercise

This exercise focuses on the positive attributes of the person that reaps impressive results. This helps people develop a sense of their "personal best" and a chance to leverage their talents. It involves a great deal of commitment and follow-through as RBS is armed with a constructive, systematic process for gathering and analyzing data about your best self.

  1. Collect feedback from people inside and outside of work so that you will be provided with a broader understanding of yourself.
  2. It is helpful to create a table with the feedback you've collected and identify common themes.
  3. Write a summarized description of yourself that weaves the themes from the feedback with your self-observations.
  4. Having pinpointed your strengths, redesign your personal job description and build on the things you're good at.
Corrective Feedbacks

People remember criticism but being aware of their faults does not translate into bettering their performance.

Corrective feedback has its place but people respond to praise because the former makes them defensive and therefore more unlikely to change while the latter produces confidence and the desire to perform better.

Lao Tzu

“Difficult undertakings have always started with what is easy. And great undertakings have always started with what is small. Therefore the sage never strives for the great, And thereby the great is achieved."

Lao Tzu

“The best rulers are those whose existence is merely known by the people. The next best are those who are loved and praised. The next are those who are feared. And the next are those who are despised."

Lao Tzu has said: "He who is contented is rich."

Taoism is not against desire but against the type of unhealthy desire driven by materialism and the accumulation of more and more wealth to appear successful than others. One can strive for goals and ambitions within one’s limits and avoid any destruction.

Lao Tzu

"To know that you do not know is the best. To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease."

Doing nothing, non-action or not forcefully acting is one of Lao-Tzu’s well-known teachings. We mistakenly think this is akin to being lazy, and doing absolutely nothing. What Lao-Tzu means is that we should not do anything that is not in accordance with Tao. It means swimming with the tide, and not against it.

If a river has to cross a mountain, it goes around it, rather than blowing the mountain in pieces to carve out a path. There are always comfortable and natural ways of doing things that don’t disrupt anything else.

Lao-Tzu: The Founder Of Taoism
  • Lao-Tzu (pronounced as lao-zuh) was a sage in Ancient China who founded Taoism.
  • Tao means ‘the way’ and is the pathway towards simplicity, harmony and real contentment. It is termed as the ultimate power that provides order in the universe.
  • The teachings of Lao-Tzu are extremely relevant today, as he laments mankind's desire to dominate and alter everything around them to fit their own wants.
  • He provided beautiful insights to create harmony and balance in this complicated, chaotic world.

According to Taoism, one must admit that there is a lot left to be known, and not try to dictate everything to others. One must give freedom to society to find its own rhythm and natural balance.

The people in power often commit this mistake and only think of increasing their power, profit and influence. Instead, they must work to do good for everyone.

Lao Tzu

“The Way of Heaven is to benefit others and not to injure. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete."

Lao Tzu

“There is no calamity greater than lavish desires. There is no greater guilt than discontentment. And there is no greater disaster than greed. He who is contented with contentment is always contented."

Taoism observes that even the largest tree grows from a tiny shoot. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Patience is key to accomplish even the most insurmountable task, while taking steps in the right direction.

Zero or the empty space has tremendous value in Taoism. Emptiness or Non-being is eternal, unknowable and intangible. Tao is also non-being, the hidden qualities and beauty of all living things.

Humans need to balance being with non-being, going after the deep, holistic qualities, as the superficial is not valuable after a short while.

Lao Tzu

"Thirty spokes make a wheel, but it is the empty center that makes it work."

  • Religion is a much broader term than what the fundamentalists have promoted. It can be as objective as science (For example Buddhism).
  • Spirituality encompasses a lot more than what various religions try to impose on individuals.

Science is only one of the many ways by which knowledge is attained, and truth is explored and discovered. The totality of being human includes other ways of exploring and knowing reality, which are beyond descriptions and explanations. One of those ways is the pursuit of self-realization.

Science And Spirituality

Spirituality or spiritual practices are often confused for religion but are an entirely different phenomenon having a scientific core: self-inquiry.

Certain religions like Buddhism are scientific in nature and do not talk of any all-powerful deity or God.

They focus on inner transformation, teaching spiritual exploration, or endeavor, with practical experiments in knowing the self and looking at the world with a feeling of wonder and awe.

Being spiritual and sacred is incorrectly associated with religion, which may have rules, dogma, guidelines and other characteristics, something not part of the true essence of self-inquiry in one’s inner exploration and subsequent transformation.

"The truth within" means the things you believe or know to be true that have some measure of personal importance to you.

The truth within you has dictated who you have been, who you are, are who you will be. It has value because it keeps the spirit of discovery, adventure, optimism, and innovation alive. Knowing there are new truths for us to find motivates us to pursue them.

  • Recognise when you're telling yourself the story you rather want to hear. If you talk yourself into it or try to justify it, then it's probably a story, not the truth.
  • Don't act based on the story. The more you support the story with actions and continued belief, the more you'll get used to thinking that way.
  • Identify the story. Complete the sentence, "The story I'm telling myself is..."
  • Don't beat yourself up for telling yourself a story.
  • Be patient. Discovering your inner truth can take time.
  • Invite truth. Listen to your intuition. Stop second-guessing yourself. Create space for the truth, and it will show up.
  • Consider all possibilities. They may lead you to truths about yourself that you didn't know.
  • When the truth speaks, listen to that inner voice.
  • Know what you know, and what you don't.
  • Connect with others about the truths inside them.

The truth within you has practical and philosophical value.

  • Your inner truth shapes who you are. Your thoughts dictate your actions, and your actions lead to habits, and habits direct you on a daily basis.
  • The truth within reveals your values. It will always disclose what matters to you.
  • Your inner truth can help you make important decisions.
  • Living by your inner truth leads to personal growth. You can feel like you are your own best friend and greatest supporter.

We often tell ourselves a story while ignoring the truth. Reasons we do this is:

  • To protect ourselves or others. Ignoring the truth is a defence mechanism. We'd rather believe a lie than own up to our own weakness.
  • Because the truth can be hard to hear.
  • Because we're so used to the story. Many people tell themselves the same stories again and again, so it starts to feel like the truth.

However, telling ourselves a lie rarely pays off the way the truth does. Stories we tell ourselves often lead us to adopt beliefs like: "I'm not good enough;" "I always make a mess."

The stories we tell ourselves

Human beings are natural storytellers. We are familiar with stories that have been passed from generation to generation, such as Romeo and Juliet, or Hansel and Gretel.

The most powerful stories are the ones we tell ourselves. The truth within us has the power to shape what we do and who we are, but it often gets buried beneath the stories we tell ourselves.

  • Long-term procrastination and struggling with basic work
  • Constant exhaustion and inexplicable stress
  • Unhealthy comparisons and self-doubt
  • Unbalanced content consumption
  • Morning dread
  • Harmful habits and unusual irritability

With all these, it is important to remember two things:

  1. There is a difference between creative block and creative burnout. The former does not share the same symptoms with the latter.
  2. Many of these symptoms are associated with mental health conditions so it's best to talk to a professional.
Creative Burnout

There are many symptoms to this cause but we must understand first what creative burnout is. It is the state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion around creative working.

More than many of us experience creative burnout from time to time. However, we must keep in mind that having a creative burnout does not mean we are lazy or that we do not care about our work. Be kind to yourself.

Prevention is better than cure, if you agree with this here are ways you can prevent future creative burnouts:

  • Practicing Metacognition: being aware of your own awareness so you can determine the best strategies for learning and problem-solving.
  • Mindful productivity: being consciously present in the work you’re doing while you’re doing it.
  • Creating new habits, routines, and rituals to better connect with your inner self.
  • Information diet: managing the quantity and quality of content you consume.
  • Structured distraction: Instead of forcing ourselves to work through fatigue and demotivation, make sure to take creative breaks.

Removing yourself from the cycle is never impossible. Many people experience the same thing you do, so don't give up on yourself.

We often find ourselves stuck in limbo whenever we try to get back up to work. Herewith, it is important to let close friends and family know that you need their support and that you should also allow yourself to take a break from working to make space for self-reflection. After all, once you've navigated through your issues on perfectionism or external pressure, start with small projects or the basics and work from there on forward.

Remember that creative burnout is a temporary state of mind.

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