The simple logic of this self improvement plan helps to clear your mind quickly, when something bothers you. It has helped settle my mind, letting me sleep soundly. It can help you too, particularly, when you are upset.
Aroused emotions trigger restlessness, excitation, and agitation. Becoming conscious of such arousal is important. It is the key to productive self awareness. Nagging worries about your career, family or health suddenly become more intense. Become aware of your restlessness and spend a little time in evaluation.
You may need to make hard choices between career and family, or work and relaxation. If you choose to move to a new city, you could well lose a valued relationship. Life often offers you troubling options. There may be no quick answers. At the same time, not being able to make up your mind may leave you in turmoil. You could burn with resentment, or be filled with dread. This self improvement plan can resolve conflicts, which could have enveloped you in turmoil for months. That may sound a difficult promise! But it can be done - in just an hour or so of quiet evaluation. Freed from such internal conflicts, you will enjoy more restful nights.
A massive reservoir of evolutionary intelligences, including animal instincts and your common sense, operate in your subconscious mind, constantly formulating competing plans for your life.
The Self Improvement Plan
Take a significant problem, which really troubles you. Bring the different viewpoints within your mind about this problem out into the open. Write down a bullet list of the issues, which describe this problem. Enter the points in the cells of a column in a spreadsheet.
Creative, but troubling search processes are an inherited animal feature of your mind. Read how this process helps you to acknowledge and accept the existence of problems in your life. That will calm your mind. Then, patience will usually bring you solutions.
A Self Improvement Plan - Competing Plans
Your mind is a powerful problem solving machine, which works overtime creating competing strategies for coping with your life. Specific organs in your brain trigger competing emotions, each offering a distinct evolutionary approach to solving problems.
These intelligences sense patterns and respond based on millions of years of evolutionary experiences. They also remember your successes and failures over a lifetime.
The emotions of anger, fear, or dread propose competing plans. Anger seeks to destroy obstructions. Fear seeks to escape. Dread freezes you into inactivity. Each emotion operates in a narrow compartment within your mind.
A Self Improvement Plan - Emotions Trigger Creative Searches
Within milliseconds of seeing danger, even the most primitive of animals will search a complex environment for a place of safety and swiftly retreat to its security - say, under a rock. The primitive brains of those animals have subconscious search drives, which can locate solutions to survival problems from mountains of data within the blink of an eye. Your mind is a highly advanced version of the same amazing machine. It can also find solutions within milliseconds. So, if you feel troubled, it is because your mind cannot find workable solutions to your current predicament.
A Self Improvement Plan - Lack Of Answers Triggers Anxiety
You will not have been troubled, if your mind could solve the problem. You will have acted already. But, in today's complex world, you cannot run away and hide. Your job may be under threat. You would need the income. Rents and bills need to be met. Subconsciously, your mind searches for solutions.
While you drive to work, meet clients, or have lunch, subconscious drives keep battering at the cage of limitations set around your life. Each possible solution faces an unpleasant obstruction. They trigger fear, or anger signals, within your nervous system. Those emotions set off visceral responses. In your subconscious, these systems cycle through your problems over and over, affecting your health and wellbeing.
A Self Improvement Plan - Conflicting Strategies Confuse
You are also troubled by shifting perspectives. At times, your career appears attractive. At other times, a hopeless trap. You do not wish to forgo the benefits of your job. Yet, it is not satisfying. And, there are no alternatives in sight. Different levels of your consciousness envelop you within changing worlds of euphoria, dissatisfaction, or dread.
When an emotion occupies you in its level of consciousness, you are blinkered by its narrow vision. The real problem behind your turmoil is that your negative emotions are generated by your lower animal levels. Those levels lack a global view. This problem solving technique creatively reconciles your subconscious conflicts, into a wise world view.
A Self Improvement Plan - A List Draws Out Anxieties
Your mind has a phenomenal capacity to go in and search all its nooks and corners to deliver the outlines of your thoughts on any subject. That ordinarily happens, when you sit down to write a shopping list. Your mind delivers a reasonable list of the essentials. Similarly, list your thoughts into the cells of a spreadsheet. Within a short span time, you can assemble all your views of your problem in one place. Enter each aspect of your problem as it comes into your consciousness, into a cell in a few words.
(It is necessary for you to write down the heading of your exercise to focus your mind.) Enter your vague fears. Even crazy ideas, which cross your mind. What are your objectives? What are the things you can do? What are the threats? What are the favorable points? Invariably the good thoughts come after you have entered the bad ones. Usually, these outlines will fill about 60 cells in your spreadsheet. You may not wish to reveal some of these thoughts even to your best friend. But, a spreadsheet is impersonal. It does not pity, gloat, or gossip.
A Self Improvement Plan - Listen To Background Ideas
You can have an exhaustive list only if you note each thought down. A few words to describe a project limitation, an area of opportunity, the views of a friend, or even a hunch. When you expect them, different viewpoints will drift in, in conspicuous sequence. In your daily life, usually the most unpleasant thoughts will keep repeating in your mind.
But, when you note them down, such thoughts will not recirculate again! After all, you do not write the same item in your shopping list a second time. Writing them down will also elicit your muffled, but crucial insights. By the time your list is over, every level of your consciousness will have expressed its competing view. That process itself has a calming effect.
A Self Improvement Plan - The Intolerable Thoughts
Mental turmoil originates from the thoughts, which your mind will not accept. Invariably such possibilities are so fearsome that you just don't even want to think about them. Most fear concerns the unknown. Note that unknown negative possibility. Entering it into your spreadsheet cell cannot do you any harm. You are not going to think about it, but the issue is there. In reality, just acknowledging the existence of that fear will have a calming effect. This problem solving method will have included your deepest concerns, while forming an acceptable plan for your life.
A Self Improvement Plan - Rational Mind Has A Calm View
Your fears and misgivings belong to the lower animal levels of your consciousness. Fortunately, evolution has created within your brain a neutral and rational intelligence. That is your "RB," your rational brain. It inhabits the prefrontal regions of your brain.
RB is the true investigative part of your brain. Growth of the prefrontal cortex led to the human race. RB is wired to gain access to all your knowledge from an unemotional viewpoint. The Buddhists report that RB sees the ups and downs of your life like “watching a bird in the sky.”
A Self Improvement Plan - Suddenly, A Calm Assessment
RB, the true judgmental part of your brain, takes charge, in the next step in the creative problem solving routine. Simply enter a label, an assessment of each entered thought, in an adjacent cell of the spreadsheet. That label is the judgment of RB.
You will find that each label deposits a particular worry into a practical unemotional file pocket. The process shifts your views into a calmer perspective. The labels could be: Unlikely. Possible action. Accept failure. Time will offer a solution. An Opportunity. Labeling clarifies your views. That classification becomes the permanent wisdom of your mind. The labels will pin down needless fears, unlikely possibilities and the many pertinent points, which you had never evaluated.
You will find that just 8 or 10 labels can actually be repeated for many of the 60 thoughts. A "sort" command of the labels column will arrange similar ideas together. Listing similarly labeled thoughts together will suddenly bring clarity to your problem. They become groups of consistent and allied thoughts. Some of your worries about your job are unlikely to happen.
When the more improbable concerns are seen together, they distill reality and purge anxieties. The less likely outcomes can also be ignored. The inevitable ones have to be accepted. You can take positive steps to solve the remaining issues. This method balances the conflicts within your mind. By foreseeing, acknowledging, acting on, or accepting major issues, you will have created a practical strategy for your life.
A Self Improvement Plan - Peace Follows Acceptance
Konrad Lorenz recorded the negative emotions of a chimpanzee in a room which contained a banana suspended from the ceiling just out of reach, and a box placed elsewhere. "The matter gave him no peace, and he returned to it again and again. Then, suddenly - and there is no other way to describe it - his previously gloomy face 'lit up'. His eyes now moved from the banana to the empty space beneath it on the ground, from this to the box, then back to the space, and from there to the banana. The next moment he gave a cry of joy, and somersaulted over to the box in sheer high spirits. Completely assured of his success, he pushed the box below the banana. No man watching him could doubt the existence of a genuine 'Aha' experience in anthropoid apes."
Before discovering the usefulness of the boxes, the chimp had no peace. But, your brain has advanced. You have an RB, which can focus on your problems, taking failure as an acceptable option. The chimp would have still have solved its problem, if it had calmly focused on the banana and the boxes. Creatively focus on your spreadsheet. Trust your powerful brain to find your solutions, without stress and anxiety.
A Self Improvement Plan - Expecting Success Opens Your Mind
If it is unrealistic to expect to succeed in solving this problem, this exercise will reinforce your sense of failure. Creative problem solving solves the conflicts between many issues. But, the system will always search only for practical solutions. It will not evaluate a bridge to the sun. If you lack an answer, it is not the end of the world.
Fear and despair are primitive responses, which do not solve your problems. You may even find it hard to believe that you will succeed. But, your mind can imagine situations. Imagine being successful and you will see the problem from a brand new context. You need views from many different angles. Be patient. Organizing your concerns into a self improvement plan will give you a more calm and focused outlook on life.
A Self Improvement Plan - The Right Opportunity Will Come
If the answer to your problem lies within the information available to you, your mind will have discovered it. You have memory stores, with knowledge inherited across millions of years of evolution. Added to those are a lifetime of memories of many successful and failed strategies. Drives superimpose one memory on another to create new images in myriad combinations.
Even a child can imagine a chair with an attitude, or a refrigerator with a toothache. When your subconscious drives play with such an infinity of combinations, it continually recognizes successful patterns, leading to new and creative solutions. Keep adding data and new contexts to your memory stores. Subconscious search drives work ceaselessly. When you complete this self improvement plan, you will reach a more calm and creative frame of mind. The moment your mind discovers a solution, you will know. Then, the “Aha” experience is sweet.
This page was last updated on 14-Apr-2016
For my peace of mind, I earmarked 20 minutes for meditation on the terrace. With my eyes closed, I sense my hands on the chair and feel the numbness in my feet.
I feel my breath flowing through my nose, my throat, my chest and my stomach. I can hear the chirping of birds, the phut phut of auto rickshaws, the occasional roar of a truck and the insistent hooting of horns.
The wide sky and the treetops come to my attention, when I open my eyes, I see a pale moon over two hundred thousand miles away. I see the nuclear fires, blazing for millions of years in the pale globe of the setting sun. I see a single star millions of miles away in space.
I can see green shoots coming up on a tree, watch the dives and swoops of birds, the great circles of the hawks and flocks of birds flying home for the night.
Diffused light from the sun reflects off a parrot on the tree and enters my eye through a pinhole opening. I sense the bustling mood of the bird, even though it is smaller than a drop of water in my eyes.
All these things are seen and felt by me in a few brief minutes. In the distance, is the head of a man seeming to be no bigger than a pea. Yet, that head too sees and feels such things. Ten million people in this great city see and feel in ten million ways.
My mind wanders to a misty view of postwar London; an exciting glimpse of Disneyland. An awed view of Tiananmen Square. The looming Himalayan ranges. My mind takes me to distant galaxies.
It carries me into the heart of millions of invisible neurons, where electrical charges flash thousands of times a second powering my contemplation. I see the campaigns of Julius Caesar and Alexander. I feel the longings of Jehangir.
Already my mind has taken me to palaces, battlefields and even the stars. If I lost everything, but can just see and feel, in just a few brief minutes, my mind can travel the world, or imagine the cosmos.
While my thoughts wandered far and near, the thought "20 minutes is a long time" also kept floating in. And yet, life has already blessed me with over twenty million waking minutes! I have an infinity of time on my hands. Have I a right to expect more from life?
I really loved the self improvement plan post. Its great food for thought and the steps are actually actionable as compared to many other self help sites out there.
Joe Glen USA.
As a clinical therapist, I have found your site very useful!
I love it. ...
Andrew Montgomery USA.