Sunday, January 06, 2019

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'Self Improvement' or 'SELFISH IMPROVEMENT' ...

When we think ‘self improvement’ - it’s easy (and perhaps natural) to think of the ways and means that we can employ to improve our own lot in life! But surely, some part of self-improvement, should be shaped in a way that improves our ability to help and benefit others.
How we conduct ourselves in the world, speaks volumes about how we see ourselves and to what extent we value the relationships we have with others.
I know a number people who talk a good talk about ‘integrity’, ‘honour’, etc - whilst simultaneously being perfectly comfortable with things like ‘embezzling money’, ‘cheating on their wives’, ‘milking’ other people for their own selfish ends, etc. They can be hard to spot, as on the surface they often present a charming, ‘honourable’ facade; some are even seen as ’leaders’ in the community. Looking further afield from the martial arts landscape, we also see these ‘types’ (in abundance) in the political arena. these types are more about ‘selfish improvement’ rather than ‘self improvement’.
The way we act when no-one is looking; counts for a lot.
To improve ourselves and our lot, seems to be an instinctive impulse - but to do so in ways that also benefits others, might sometimes require a little reflection; a little ‘self-sacrifice’, if you can call it that.
This more precisely-shaped improvement might begin by first trying to improve our own lot, yes, but only in ways that avoid damaging other people - or the environment - the old latin motto: ’Primum non nocere’ (first, do no harm’) comes to mind. And this would seem, to me at least, to be a natural stepping stone to the next idea - which might be to only choose ways of improving ourselves that actually provide benefit to other people.
By improving our own lives, whilst simultaneously benefiting others, we embark on a path that is at once both sustainable and very satisfying. Perhaps not an easy path - but most definitely one worth leaning toward.

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