I have two goals with this guide.
1. To help you think about your self-improvement as a man
2. To get you taking daily actions to improve yourself and your life
Before we can get into this, we must define self-improvement and sell it to you.
If you've already been working on your self-improvement, it will seem evident to you that you should want to improve yourself. That's how I feel, which is why it's so strange to hear about people that don't actively try to improve themselves.
They are out there. If that's you, it's actually exciting since you have SO MUCH opportunity sitting right in front of you.
I wish I had that kind of growth laying around.
—of course, every man wants to improve himself, that's obvious.
But it's not.
We are all on our development journey. A large portion of men don't think about their self-improvement.
That's an unfortunate and sobering reality that I struggle with anytime I think about it. It's hard for me to comprehend because it seems self-evident that any man should improve himself and his life.
So let's accept this as a fact and as the first prerequisite to start your self-improvement journey—desire.
You have to want to improve yourself to do so.
Desire is the foundation. Without it, you won't take actions that make you better. You'll end up with the average of the people around you and the environment you find yourself in.
Desire and self-awareness go hand in hand. If you aren't aware of what you want and why self-improvement is critical for your ongoing success as a man, you won't make progress. As Seneca said, "without the port, no wind is favorable."
Self-improvement requires wanting to improve with the awareness of that desire and the connection between wanting to improve your life and improving yourself to create a better life.
Self-improvement definition: the improvement of one's knowledge, status, or character by one's efforts.
The key phrase in this definition is: "by one's efforts."
You will improve at times in your life as you respond to external events and happenstance. That is an entirely random process, and your results will be unexpected.
Self-improvement, on the other hand, is your dedicated effort working towards specific goals.
It is the opposite of random; it focuses on purpose and moves towards a goal.
And that's why it's the most important thing you can do to improve your life because everything else is random.
When you accept the responsibility for your effort, you have started the self-improvement journey.
This ongoing process will last the rest of your life. Personal development is not a destination; it is a journey.
What's great about it is the winning you do along the way.
Every year of your life will be better than the last. You will look back at your past self and almost cringe as you realize how much you've grown since then. That's a good thing. That's what you want—to cringe at your past self because you've left him so far behind.
Why should you want to self-improve? What is it going to do for you?
The simplest answer to this question is EVERYTHING.
Yes, self-improvement makes everything in your life better.
Better relationships. Better health. Better finances. Better results. Better mindset.
Self-improvement makes everything better.
You are a human man, so I know one thing is for sure: you want more abundance in your life.
You want people, money, success, respect, and belonging. You want to feel loved and be needed by others. You want time and money to do the things you want to do.
And you want to feel happy along the way.
Self-improvement will get you there.
Comfort zone killing
The defining feature of self-improvement is doing hard things.
This means getting outside your comfort zone.
Your comfort zone, by default, is your safe zone. It's not challenging. It's safe, comfortable, and probably wasting you away.
When you improve yourself, you are butting up against comfort.
That's why personal development is so hard—because we seek comfort and what's easy. It's our biology's preference for conserving energy and seeking safety.
In our modern world, what's comfortable and safe comes with costs. These costs manifest in weakness in your mind and body. Comfort chips away at your desire for self-actualization. It doesn't keep you on your toes; it keeps you sitting on your ass figuratively and literally.
Comfort is killer, as they say.
Since men are hunters, your addiction to comfort is destroying you in more ways than one.
Self-improvement is the answer.
Some benefits of self-improvement for men:
Your career improves the more creative energy and effort you invest into it. The comfortable employee rarely gets the promotion or recognition.
Your results in your professional life are directly proportional to the amount of new and sustained effort you pursue.
Relationships stagnant. The strongest relationships are constantly growing together. They are based on mutual trust and understanding. The path of least resistance in relationships is always a toxic rot that ruins it.
As you improve yourself and get in the habit of doing hard things, your relationships will strengthen as a. byproduct of this habit.
Doing hard things mentally makes doing hard things physically more accessible. This will strengthen your showing up muscle in your fitness routine. You'll easily commit to our fitness routine. You'll stay consistent.
As you improve yourself, you improve self-awareness. You start asking yourself hard questions that challenge your Ego and subconscious. This will make you better at spending and investing your money. Instead of chasing external validation through buying stuff, you'd instead invest your money and achieve financial freedom.
Instead of buying designer crap, you'll realize how pointless it is.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
― Ernest Hemingway
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
― George Bernard Shaw
“Make the most of yourself....for that is all there is of you.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.”
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
― Carl R. Rogers, On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy
“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.”
― Aldous Huxley
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”
― Ernest Hemingway
I've been on this personal development, entrepreneurial journey for over 15 years. Every year of my life, I look back and don't recognize my former self. That's great. That's what I want—to be constantly improving so much so that I don't even recognize the person I used to be.
I go deep into the mindset, inner game, finances, life, happiness, and struggles that all men face.
I used to listen to every show. Now I pick and choose those most applicable to me.
The archives of this show are great, so go back and soak p that knowledge.
What you want in life is on the other side of struggle.
And overcoming struggle requires consistency—you have to keep going day in day out.
Here is a list of daily habits to build that'll form the foundation for doing hard things. These will lead you to your future self, the better man.
Before we get to the actionable list, I need to make a point on screen use.
Your personal development is connected to how much and how little you use your phone and mindlessly.
Create a consistent morning routine.
The best morning routine supports your body, mind, and health.
The first and most important is getting as much total direct sunlight exposure as possible. This will boost your waking up hormones and improve your mood, which will set your day up for success.
After that, you could include some exercise, a walk, yoga, stretching, grounding (walking barefoot outside), meditation, and anything else that feels good.
What you want to avoid is picking your phone up and getting glued to a screen. Keep your phone off your entire morning routine. The difference in your mental state from a phone-off state cannot be overstated.
Other morning routine habits worth trying include:
Create a daily learning routine
A one-hour-a-day learning routine that includes reading, podcasts, youtube, and any other study you are interested in will serve as a foundation of growth for years to come.
The key is consistency.
Here's what I like to do:
One of the foundations of personal development for men is the growth mindset, as we've talked about already.
And there is no better way to strengthen your locos of control and practice the growth mindset than getting good at something.
Hobbies are one of the most enjoyable experiences in life because they allow us to enter a flow state, which is an intensely focused meditative-like state (mindfulness).
Hobbies are something you can do alone or with others, sometimes both, and the amount of enjoyment and fulfillment they bring to the male life is unquantifiable.
For many men, a lack of hobby-like interests can manifest anxiety and etc.
Mastery efforts are a bit different than hobbies in that they are more learning/outcome-focused, whereas hobbies themselves are often a kind of infinite game—a game you play for the sake of playing.
Mastery is a form of infinite game since you can enter the flow state and participate in the thing itself has the same growth features, which can come from hobbies.
If I had to quantify the difference, I would say that hobbies can sometimes be more of an escape and end up on the lower end of development. In contrast, mastery efforts usually include more growth benefits.
Some examples of mastery pursuits include:
Nearly every article on this website comes back to the same foundational principle—the importance of the inner game.
Everything stems from your inner game as a man. Everything.
That's good news since you at least have the "secret" to becoming a confident, well-rounded man. The hard part is that the inner game is intangible—I can't point to it and tell you to look at it or do this.
Everything is a suggestion to help you cultivate your own inner game.
Inner game is an internal pursuit, meaning you can only take queues from other people to use then to figure shit out for yourself.
If you try to mimic another's inner game entirely, you'll end up compensating and probably worse off as you convince yourself of the wrong things. Then you'll have to unlearn those bad habits.
Instead, you want to become a scientist and researcher. You are your test subject, and life is your laboratory. You try things and accumulate data. Then you learn from that data to fashion new experiments, forever repeating this process.
That's what self-improvement is—learning, growing, adapting, and getting better.
And that's also how you build inner game: one small step a day.
The recommendations above are great places to start this scientific progress. Where you end up along this journey is entirely up to you, and only you can make it happen. No one can build an inner game for you, no coach, book, podcast, or YouTube influencer. It has to come through the evolutionary process of self-discovery and self-experimentation.
So start today and do not stop.