The incredible feats that humans have achieved throughout history are remarkable, especially since at one point, most of them were deemed impossible. Yet those who had the yearning to realize their dreams and had the confidence that their ideas were worthy, pushed forward in spite of the neigh-sayers discouraging them. And they won!
The same can very much be said for each and every one of us on a personal level. The limitations and restrictions of our abilities are essentially outlined by the neigh-sayers in our own lives, namely ourselves.
In reality, the only limitations to what we can achieve are our own imagination, confidence and mindset. It’s in overcoming barriers placed on us by these things which sees us truly come into our own. It’s believing in ourselves that leads us to reach our goals. It’s understanding our inner saboteur which can liberate us from self-assigned doubt.
Thankfully, we are living in an empowered age. For those who truly want to improve themselves and live the life that was always intended for them, there are a plethora of resources which can aid them in their plight. Conversely though, the overwhelming abundance of information can be a block to self-improvement in itself.
So, in order to help you supercharge your own self-improvement, we’ve analyzed the top psychology books on the market to reveal common themes and condense your learning to one easy guide.
Here’s what we found:
Want To Step Up Your Self Improvement?
You Need To Read This First!
The Most Successful People Are Creatures Of Habit
It may not come as a huge surprise to you that daily habitual actions can lead to greater success in your personal and professional life, but there’s a little more to it than you might think.
In reality, we are all creatures of habit. It’s whether those habits are helping or hindering our progress in terms of self-development that is the question.
If we take our sleep routines as an example, those who jump out of bed at 5:00am, set the intention to use their day to its full potential, creating a positive energy within them that they will carry through the day. Those who hit the snooze button repeatedly, falling out of bed at the last minute and rushing to get to the office start the day on the wrong foot and set themselves up for a day of stress-fueled energy.
You see, both are essentially habits, but it’s those with who intentionally implement positively-charged habits who can rapidly level-up their self-improvement. It’s the people making moves to ensure they make lifestyle changes in line with the changes they want to see in their lives who become more successful, happier and healthier.
In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg uses real-life historical anecdotes to illustrate the incredible life changes and human achievements that can be accomplished with a habit-oriented mindset. In fact, his entire interest in the subject was solidified by a US Army Major, during Duhigg’s early research when he said, “I’m telling you, if a hick like me can learn this stuff, anyone can. I tell my soldiers all the time, there’s nothing you can’t do if you get the habits right.”
Duhigg isn’t alone in his high regard for habits either. Countless psychology and self-improvement authors agree with his notion, including Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard authors Chip and Dan Heath who accepted that understanding the need for habits doesn’t necessarily make them easy to implement.
Changing Your Mindset Isn’t So Easy
Henry Ford’s famous quote “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” highlights the incredible power mindset has over determining success. It’s something psychology experts the world over have concurred with for decades too.
While it may seem cliché to discuss mindset (if you’ve been practicing self-improvement for any amount of time, you’ll know that understanding this is the first step!), delving into the deeper levels of the basic principle is what’s important here.
Most of us are aware that to truly undergo a personal transformation, we must adopt the mindset for change. We must be open to receiving the gifts that are available to us. We must show up in the world as the person we want to be. As a concept, that may not be difficult to grasp, but in theory, there are a number of individual nuances of the human psyche that are rarely considered.
In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell explains how our biology causes our brains to make split-second decisions without thinking about them, thus often overruling the intentional decision-making we actually wanted to perform. Nudge by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein follows the same theme that you have to know how to make decisions before you can actively make the right ones. Countless other psychology and self-improvement authors challenge the perceived ease of changing your mindset with the complexity of changing your biology.
Being Selfish Is Empowering
As children, we’re taught that replacing selfishness with selflessness is part and parcel of life and the only way we can comfortably fit into polite society. And while teaching children to share their toys is considered good parenting, constant reinforcement of this message can set us up for failure later in life.
Our learned people-pleasing behavior ultimately leads to our own displeasure. Although the vast majority of our politeness-driven actions don’t cause major issues in our lives (and they can actually be good for our souls), some have a huge impact. Some cause us not to follow our dreams for fear that we won’t be able to fulfill our ‘responsibility’ elsewhere. Some cause our voices to be silenced by our overwhelming desires to not rock the boat.
It’s our selflessness which essentially blocks us from the self-improvement that we so desire. Our ability to move past this factor is much more challenging than making any other self-improvement-related personal changes as it involves others. It requires us to reconsider the most deep-rooted lesson engrained within. But, it is necessary if you want to achieve the upper echelons of self-improvement.
In fact, Richard Dawkins explains in his book, The Selfish Gene that being selfish is in our genetic makeup; we are inherently designed to be selfish!
In The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt further compounds this when he says, “Human nature is a complex mix of preparations for extreme selfishness and extreme altruism. Which side of our nature we express depends on culture and context. When opponents of evolution object that human beings are not mere apes, they are correct. We are also part bee.”
Essentially, Haidt poses that it is our duty to bring out each side at the appropriate time. It’s when the balance is tipped in favor of altruism that we must be careful that our selflessness does not impact our overall well-being, happiness and success.
In essence, self-improvement and psychology are intrinsically linked. To fully realize your own self-improvement, you must first understand the basic principles of the human psyche.