Better my life
20 Easy Ways to Improve Yourself and Your Life
When there’s work and family and bills and more, it’s easy to think of self-improvement and personal development as something you’ll have time for one day. The same goes for improving your life overall.
But improving your life—or yourself—doesn’t have to be about making one big gesture. Instead, it typically comes down to the small things you do every day that can add up to larger growth in the long run. These small habits and practices may help you increase your confidence, reduce your stress, build deeper relationships, stabilize your work-life balance, become a healthier person (mentally, emotionally, or physically), and be happier.
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No one has all the time in the world to think about self-improvement, so let’s start with just 30 minutes. Yup, that’s all—bet you’re listening now.
We’ve come up with a list of activities that can help you become a better “you” in just half an hour (or less) each week. Give one (or two or five or all!) of them a try.
1. Practice mindfulness.
I’m sure you’re sick of hearing that you should “totally try meditation,” especially from your (newly) yoga-devoted mother. But mindfulness is a lot more realistic to achieve than the kind of meditation you hear about because it doesn’t require years of practice or a yoga mat. Mindfulness only takes 30 minutes (or less!) and can be done without leaving your desk.
Wanna give it a shot? Here’s exactly how to do it.
2. Develop a consistent morning routine.
One way to have a productive day—and save yourself time in the morning—is to break down every task you need to do into small steps and then schedule all of them. This means you know exactly what activity you’ll do from the moment you wake up.
Sounds a bit overwhelming, yes, but the reason it works is because you don’t waste any time trying to decide on things—spending 10 minutes picking out an outfit, spending 15 minutes deciding if you want to go on a run—you just do it. And that way, you’ll (almost) always be out of the house exactly on time.
3. Do the same with a bedtime routine.
Another way you can get to a happy, healthy morning is a terrific bedtime routine. There’s no perfect formula that’ll work for everyone. The important thing is to make one and stick to it.
For example, every evening I shower, make my lunch for the next day, and spend 10 or so minutes doing something that relaxes me, whether that’s scrolling through social media, reading 15 pages of a book, or talking to my parents on the phone. The consistency helps me fall asleep better and feel prepared to conquer the next day.
Here are five great bedtime routines you should definitely try—and each will only take you five minutes.
4. Redo your bedroom for a better night’s sleep.
Especially when you’re busy or stressed, it can be hard to get your best sleep every night, even with an awesome bedtime routine. Try creating a space where you’ll always feel good going to bed by using one or more of these seven quick DIY projects.
5. Find an energizing midday activity.
You probably saw it coming, but just as important as setting a schedule for your mornings and evenings is having an activity that’s guaranteed to bring you out of even the worst midday slump.
Try these five habits or these easy ways to recharge (that don’t involve coffee).
6. Make your lunch (and dinner).
Making your meals every day not only guarantees you have control over your health, but it’s also cheaper and a great way to learn a new skill or experiment with your cooking abilities. Plus, you get to boast to coworkers when they ask where you got the food. For some brag-worthy recipes, check out these 52 lunch ideas, or these quick office snack ideas.
7. Then eat it away from your desk.
Muse writer Kat Boogaard learned many valuable lessons after eating lunch away from her desk. For one thing, taking a break is just good for you. But she also realized the importance of practicing work-life balance all day, rather than just after work was over. By giving yourself that time off during office hours, you’re already one step closer to a healthier, well-balanced life.
8. Watch a TED Talk.
TED Talks are like mini-lectures. They just might teach you more about yourself, inspire you to innovate, or just introduce an interesting new topic. Plus, they’re usually only about 20 minutes—so you can watch one and get a super quick knowledge boost while getting ready for work in the morning, during your lunch break, or when you’re sitting in a waiting room.
9. Listen to a podcast.
Similarly, podcasts are great on-the-go entertainment. And a lot of the time they’re just what you need to unwind. I’m a big fan of tackling one podcast during my commute each day—half of it on the way to work, half on the way back, and the stories always bring out some real emotions. (For reference, my favorites are This American Life and You’re the Expert.) But the types of podcasts out there are very nearly limitless. So whether you want to catch up on the news, learn something new, hear what people are saying about your favorite topic (whether that’s fantasy sports, The Real Housewives, historical events, or video games), experience a fascinating true story, or laugh at something more light-hearted, you can find the perfect podcast for every mood.
Freewriting is basically what the name implies: writing, freely—as in without any directions or constraints. You don’t need to be a writer to freewrite. In fact, dropping all the concerns about how your writing sounds or whether it’s grammatically correct is key. You just set a timer and start writing, maybe with a prompt or question to get you started, and see where the writing takes you. It’s a great way to discover something new about what you want or what you’re feeling. Here are five prompts to help you freewrite your way out of a career slump (plus a few tips).
11. Do a bunch of little productive tasks.
I challenge you to set aside 30 minutes and do all those tiny tasks you’ve been meaning to do, but keep putting off, all at once. First, this prevents you from multitasking later on when emails are rushing in while you’re trying to do your work. Second, it forces you to tackle those things that make you cringe—things that, once they’re done, will make your life a heck of a lot easier.
Not sure what chores I mean? I’ll help you out—here’s a to-do list of 21 useful things you can do in five minutes. If those don’t do it for you, here are nine other productive things you can complete in 15 minutes.
12. Get to know yourself.
What better way to improve your life than by learning all about your strengths and weaknesses and homing in on your best self? To get started, here are 14 free personality test you can take in the next half hour.
13. Treat yourself.
How long has it been since you treated yourself to a relaxing massage or a manicure? Well, maybe this is your week to do it. Was there a game you’ve been meaning to download and play? Or a cool new lunch spot you’ve wanted to try? You deserve it, so go get it.
14. Revisit your goals.
You probably made some New Year’s resolutions or set monthly goals for yourself (whether on paper or in the back of your mind). Have you followed through on any of them? Are there ones you can get rid of, or alter? Do you feel confident in achieving all of them? Take some time to reflect positively on how far you’ve come, and think about where you want to be—and maybe write down the steps you need to take to get there.
15. Start a feedback file (or return to one).
Everyone has periods when they’re feeling discouraged. For these moments, you can create a feedback file. Go back and screenshot, jot down, or otherwise note positive feedback you’ve received—whether it’s about your work, a hobby, or anything else. Put it all in one place and continue to add to it over time. Then, whenever you’re feeling down on yourself, you can return to all the great things people have said about you and remind yourself of your strengths. You might also return to the work feedback when it’s time to prepare for a review, write a cover letter, or do something else that involves talking yourself up.
16. Note your achievements
Taking the time to reflect on what you’ve done well each week can help you focus on the positive. And like the feedback file, returning to your past achievements week after week can be a confidence booster—and help you out when it comes time to brag about yourself. We’ve even created a handy worksheet to help you track your achievements over time.
17. Connect with an old friend or new coworker.
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen or talked to someone you used to chat with regularly, reach out and let them know you’re thinking about them. Maybe even try it the old-fashioned way—sending a physical letter! Snail mail can make anyone’s day. (Isn’t it the best when you find an envelope addressed to you and it’s not a bill or junk mail?)
Or if you haven’t had a chance to meet a colleague in another department or a new coworker who just joined last week, consider setting up a lunch or coffee. You’ll make a work friend and, even better, you’ll build up your network.
18. Clean your closet.
By “closet” I also mean your desk, your office, your bedroom, or even your kitchen cabinets. Cleaning is stress-relieving, and actually a form of mindful meditation, according to some studies. You can even try “tidying up” your work life, Marie Kondo–style, to help spark more joy.
19. Do some screen-free activities.
It’s not exactly groundbreaking to say that we spend a lot of our lives staring at screens. But taking some time to intentionally engage in activities that aren’t on a computer, TV, phone, or other device can help our eyes, our sleep, and our overall mental well-being. Try taking up a hobby like reading (books or magazines with actual paper pages), painting, crocheting, or playing an instrument to give yourself a break.
20. Get outside.
Notice how I didn’t say “go to the gym” or “go for a run.” Because, yes, exercise is great. But for most people, including myself, it’s a lot easier said than done.
So I have another option for you—go outside. Walk around, sit in the park and read, or go for a leisurely bike ride. Just being outdoors is good for you in so many ways. It improves creativity, helps us age better, makes us happier, and, it might actually make you want to work out more (science says so!).
Don’t you feel better already? Try out these simple activities and see if you can start to develop a few new habits—ultimately you’ll see benefits far beyond just the 30 minutes a week you spend on them.
Regina Borsellino also contributed writing, reporting, and/or advice to this article.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc. , CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from Alyse Kalish
How to Improve Your Life Today: 10 Tips1. Writing your story every day
You’re the owner of your life. How do you want that to look today?
“For life improvement, I suggest considering what you’d like to accomplish today, and the vibe you want to carry,” says John Duffy, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author of the book “The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens.”
Like any author, you may have a few story plots to choose from. Duffy suggests you try to identify which is the better story for you and go for it.
“The better story might be getting up earlier rather than sleeping in [or] reaching out to help someone instead of passively ignoring their need,” he adds.
2. Identifying what’s keeping you stuck
How to improve your life may be a matter of identifying those things that get in the way of said improvement. Are there certain events or people in your life that you feel have become roadblocks to your development?
Feeling stuck might look different for everyone. You may feel like it regardless of the circumstances in your life, or you might have specific relationships or tasks that take energy and focus from you.
You might want to start exploring what “feeling stuck” means to you, if anything at all. Maybe you feel empty or lonely, or perhaps you engage in procrastination.
“This approach gets you to be both reflective and active, [which are] two steps necessary for change,” says Deborah Serani, PsyD, a clinical psychologist.
Serani also recommends considering these three steps:
- Stop. “Oftentimes it’s a blind spot you can’t see, so taking time to mull things over helps you see more clearly,” says Serani. “Is it a decision you’re afraid to make? Are certain people bringing you down? Are you in a cycle of negative thinking?”
- Look around. Serani recommends you consider how this blind spot is touching your life. “Is it only at home? Or just at work [or] school?” she adds.
- Listen to yourself. What are your heart and mind telling you about what you need to do? “Learning to reflect on your inner thoughts and feelings will help you trust putting them into action,” says Serani.
Consider exploring these areas of your life:
- interpersonal conflict and friction
- career goals and job opportunities
- emotional regulation and how it impacts your mood
- physical health and lifestyle habits that impact it
3. Focusing on right now
Are you overly concerned about past mistakes or what will happen tomorrow? Focusing on self-growth and life improvement may require you to live in the present moment.
According to Alison Thayer, LCPC, a psychotherapist in Chicago, focusing on right now can be challenging, especially in today’s world.
“Today’s technology and expectation to be connected or available to work at all times is one of the most prominent challenges people face when trying to be present in the here and now,” she says.
So, how can you focus more on the present? Consider these:
- a mindfulness practice
- accepting the things you can’t control
- living more intentionally
- reaching peace of mind
- letting go of unhealthy attachments
- forgiving yourself
- engaging in grounding exercises
4. Getting better at time management
Among the things you can do to improve your life right now, managing time efficiently may be key.
Time management helps you achieve more, improve focus, stay motivated, and avoid feeling like you’re wasting time.
The feeling itself of being productive may improve your mood and your mental well-being.
You can get better at time management by:
- blocking time on your calendar for must-dos and honoring those time blocks
- stacking habits or doing a few things at the same time. For example, reviewing your calendar while you get breakfast.
- starting with the most challenging tasks early in the morning or when you feel you have the most energy
- finding an organizational or tracking system that works for you and gives you a glance of what you’ve accomplished throughout the day
- scheduling periodic pauses during the day to reset your mind and body
- rewarding yourself when you complete a task
5. Setting realistic and attainable goals
The best things for self-improvement aren’t necessarily the most complex and difficult to obtain. Often, improving your life is taking care of the details.
“Setting goals is a key step in accomplishments,” says Thayer. “However, […] lofty goals […] may not even be realistic.”
If you’re setting sky-high goals from the start, you may end up feeling like you’re not improving at all.
“Holding ourselves to goals that we cannot reach can damage our self-esteem and inhibit our interest in trying to reach these goals again,” says Thayer. “When setting your mind to reach a goal, ask yourself ‘Is this realistic and can I actually attain this goal?’ If the answer is no, consider breaking the goal down into intermediate steps or modifying it all together.”
6. Challenging negative thoughts
Everyone uses common cognitive distortions to explain everyday situations. These are filters you inadvertently put on your thoughts that may make you see your world more negatively than it actually is. Cognitive distortions are the foundation for negative thinking.
One way of challenging these negative thoughts is to focus on the evidence rather than the thought itself.
For example, if you tend to think that nobody likes you at work, you can stop yourself for a minute and ask yourself, “what evidence do I really have that this is a fact?” Then, try to start gathering information. You might find out that your thought isn’t accurate or that it doesn’t apply to all scenarios.
Often, your mood may be a result of the things you think. If you change the way you think, you may see a change in the way you feel. The more you challenge negative thinking, the more you can improve your life.
Thayer also suggests taking a different and more positive stance whenever you’re saying negative things to yourself.
“When things aren’t going right, ask yourself ‘Could things be worse?’ or ‘Is there anything I can take out of this that can be a benefit to me?'” adds Thayer. “More often than not, there’s a positive aspect to things that happen, even those that feel negative.”
7. Getting your 8 to 9 hours of sleep
If you’re thinking about how to improve your life right now, sleep hygiene should be top on your list of things to do.
Sleeping well has a direct effect on your mood, ability to think, and your energy levels, which are essential to doing the things you want to do.
“It’s easy to steal time from sleep by staying up ‘just a little longer,’ whether it’s to finish the laundry or a TV show,” says clinical psychologist Ari Tuckman, PsyD. “The problem is that the reward is immediate, which makes it hard to resist. But the price is paid tomorrow.”
Tuckman says that neglecting your sleep time, even if for one night, may hamper your ability to:
- solve problems
- focus on tasks
- gather information to make decisions
It can also make you feel more irritable and short tempered. “This gets even worse when several short nights stack up,” he adds.
Try to establish a bedtime routine so you fall asleep around the same time every night. Try to resist the impulse to scroll social media before bedtime, and instead engage in relaxing activities before bed. After a night of adequate sleep, you may notice an improvement in your mood and thinking process right away.
Practicing relaxation techniques can also help you sleep better and feel mentally alert.
8. Participating in physical activity
Moving your body can improve your life, mentally and physically, in a matter of days.
“Regular exercise is an important part of not just physical health, but also mental health,” explains Tuckman. “It’s also one of the first things to go when we get busy.”
Try to incorporate exercise or moving into your daily routine, so no matter how busy you are, you’ll always find a time and space to do it.
Moving can look like:
- dancing around your house
- doing some pool laps
- going to the gym
- using the stairs instead of the elevator
- walking around your neighborhood or preferred area
- doing yoga
- following a YouTube workout video
- walking around your office or home for 5 minutes every hour
Try to have at least 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity every day. You may find that you feel more energetic, clear-minded, and optimistic after you exercise.
Research shows that practicing gratitude improves the way you feel about your life and your overall life quality.
You can become more grateful every day by:
- mentally or physically listing all the things that are positive and healthy in your life
- recognizing the skills and qualities you’ve developed in yourself
- verbally expressing thanks to important people in your life
- ending your day by thinking about the positive things that you experienced today
- starting your day by focusing on the opportunities ahead
Practicing mental subtraction can also boost gratitude in your life. This means realizing the impact events and people have on your life by thinking about what life could be right now if you didn’t have them.
10. Setting an intention
One of the best things for self-improvement is to set an intention for your life, your day, your hour, and everything you do.
One way of setting an intention is to practice visualization and see yourself accomplishing those things you want.
“Positive visualization increases the likelihood of success,” says Joyce Marter, LCPC, a licensed counselor in Chicago. “We largely create our own realities through our thoughts and intentions, so clarify them by writing out your goals and objectives.”
Thayer suggests carving out time to set intentions for every day. “Make it a ritual and part of your daily routine, like in the shower, when driving to work, or drinking your morning coffee,” she said.
Sometimes, it’s possible that despite your best intentions and efforts, you still feel you haven’t improved the way you want or need. This is natural and common.
Consider reaching out to a mental health professional to explore possible reasons you feel this way and how to cope. They can help you develop a self-improvement plan that works for your specific needs.
You can improve your life and yourself starting today. Self-improvement may look different for everyone, so the first step might be to figure out what “improvement” means to you. Is it a different job? A new relationship? A sense of satisfaction?
Other things you can do to improve your life right now include sleeping well, practicing gratitude, moving more, and focusing on the evidence rather than what negative thoughts tell you.
“While everyone is having fun, my life passes by”: why do we think so and what to do about it
First you need to calm down and analyze your desires.
Just a minute ago you were in a great mood, but you scrolled through the feed in Instagram * and now you feel disgusting. One of your acquaintances has been traveling around Southeast Asia for the second month, another has been attending lectures on AI and robotics, a third has been posting photos from his morning run every day.
And it seems that you are not particularly interested in robots, and you prefer yoga to running, but after watching the tape it still seems that you are missing something important. We understand where this feeling comes from and tell you how to get rid of it.
Why is this happening
If this unpleasant, anxious, annoying feeling is familiar to you, then you are faced with the fear of missing out (FOS). When he overpowers you, you probably feel like something interesting is happening to everyone around. With everyone but you. And you are trying to keep up with this sparkling life, but you are always late, lag behind and look with regret as events, acquaintances and opportunities pass by.
According to various sources, fear of lost profits is experienced from time to time 1. A. K. Przybylski, K. Murayama et al. Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out / Computers in Human Behavior
2. Report: 56% of social media users suffer from FOMO / Mashable from 40 to 56% of people. Moreover, men suffer from it more often than women. These are the "symptoms" of this fear.
- You are constantly afraid to miss important events, news, opportunities.
- You go to all parties, corporate parties and other gatherings because you are worried that something interesting will happen without you, and you will not know.
- You strive to be available for communication around the clock - do not turn off the phone, check messages in instant messengers.
- You update your social media feed as often as possible.
- You have a strong desire to please others and get their approval.
Also, people who experience fear of lost profits tend to B. C. Riordan, J. A. M. Flett et al. Fear of Missing Out (FoMO): The relationship between FoMO, alcohol use, and alcohol-related consequences in college students / Journal of Psychiatry and Brain Functions And more prone to depression.
Where does fear come from
We live in social networks
86% of people use social networks every day According to some reports, we are at risk How much time do we spend on social media? / Mediakix spend five years of their lives on them. And the loss of time is not the worst thing. We access social networks to relax, unwind, or relieve boredom, but instead we get tired and depressed R. Kraut, M. Patterson et al. Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being? / American Psychologist. And we endlessly compare our lives with the lives of friends and acquaintances. Or rather, with the image that they consider it necessary to show the world. And we come If Facebook* use causes envy, depression could follow / University of Missouri to the conclusion that we ourselves and our lives do not quite live up to this image.
And, of course, we cannot get rid of the feeling that we are always missing something. Fear of missing out torments Report: 56% of social media users suffer from FOMO / Mashable more than half of social media users. And, paradoxically, it makes them seek solace ... in social networks. Yes, people who are tormented by SS are more likely to check A. K. Przybylski, K. Murayama et al. Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out / Computers in Human Behavior messages, scroll through the feed and see what's new with their friends.
The mechanism is rather simple. Having read the news about someone else's eventful life, a person is nervous and tries to calm down by flipping through the tape. As a result, it falls into a vicious circle.
More than that. We ourselves make this circle revolve. When, in an effort to get rid of anxiety, dissatisfaction and envy, we post overly cheerful, far from the truth posts and photos. As if we are trying to show: look, everything is fine with me too, I am not lagging behind, I am no worse than the others! This is how the “Facebook personality” is formed O. Gil-Or, Y. Levi-Belz, O. Turel. The “Facebook*-self”: Characteristics and psychological predictors of false self-presentation on Facebook* / Frontiers in Psychology is an idealized, but flat and far from reality image of a person. Looking at which, others also feel fear and anxiety.
Some researchers consider M. Milyavskaya, M. Saffran et al. Fear of missing out: Prevalence, dynamics, and consequences of experiencing FOMO / Motivation and Emotion, that the fear of missing out is caused not by social networks themselves, but by tons of information that they help spread. In the old, pre-Internet times, we could follow the lives of a dozen or two acquaintances, friends and colleagues. At the same time, they hardly knew what all these people eat for breakfast, how many kilometers they run in the morning and what they buy in stores. And now, leafing through a friend feed, we become spectators and almost accomplices of many lives. And it's not easy for everyone.
We are dissatisfied with life and want to be no worse than others
And this dissatisfaction is an excellent fertilizer, thanks to which the fear of missing out, spurred on by social networks, blooms luxuriantly. According to studies by A. K. Przybylski, K. Murayama et al. Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out / Computers in Human Behavior, people who are dissatisfied with their lives experience SOS more often than those who are satisfied with everything.
This dissatisfaction stems in part from constant comparisons of oneself with others. And the desire to be better than others. Or at least not worse.
In many ways, the need to constantly flip through the feed in social networks is dictated by this: we are trying to make sure that we do not lag behind others. This desire to be part of the majority even has a name - the effect of joining the majority or the "bandcar effect". And conformism, which scientists believe is to blame for everything.
We suffer from perfectionism
That is, we not only want to be better than others, but also try to become perfect. And we suffer because we don't live up to that standard. We can’t run a half marathon right away, we go to bed late and are not able to get up early to do yoga and meditate, we don’t have time to go to exhibitions, lectures and courses, we are too tired to go to a party on Friday night.
Perfectionism can be called one of the diseases of our time. Now he is dating T. Curran, A. P. Hill. Perfectionism is increasing over time: A meta-analysis of birth cohort differences from 1989 to 2016 / Psychological Bulletin is 33% more common than a quarter of a century ago. In addition, perfectionism may destroy mental and even physical health. Affected people are more likely to suffer from depression M. M. Smith, S. B. Sherry et al. Why does socially prescribed perfectionism place people at risk for depression? A five-month, two-wave longitudinal study of the Perfectionism Social Disconnection Model / Personality and Individual Differences, hypertension What to know about high blood pressure / Medical News Today and other diseases.
We do not understand what we really want
Social networks broadcast a certain standardized image of a “full-fledged” and “successful” person, which we read and perceive as an indisputable truth. This image may vary slightly depending on where you live, interests, environment, and level of education.
But, as a rule, his general features remain unchanged: the “correct” person earns good money and works hard, but at the same time manages to live an active life. He gets up early, goes in for sports, reads a lot, travels and has time to spend time with his family. If we are talking about a woman, then she, of course, flawlessly looks after the house and children, goes to beauty treatments, does needlework or creativity.
That being said, our own interests may not match this glossy picture at all. But we, wanting to keep up with the majority, sometimes do not even realize it.
And if we do not listen to ourselves, do not understand our own desires, then we easily become victims of the fear of lost profits.
But when we clearly know what we love and what we don't, other people's photo reports don't hurt us. Well, yes, it's great that my friend goes to concerts, but I'm not interested. So, there is no cause for concern.
How to deal with the fear of missing out on profits
Unfortunately, there is no magic life hack. As in the fight against any fear, you will need patience, attention to yourself, long hard work. And here's what can help.
Be here and now
No matter how trite and hackneyed it may sound. It's not just about mindfulness and meditation. Forget about the subjunctive — “what would happen if I…” — and focus on the benefits that you get at a particular moment. Friday night you stayed at home, and your friends post funny stories from the club? Yes, skip the party, but you can spend the evening in silence and relax.
Don't compare yourself to others
But compare yourself to the old self. You have been working out in the gym for several months, but your shape is still not like that of fit girls from Instagram*? Look at your photos before class starts. And by the way, be sure to start taking such pictures: this is both an opportunity to track progress and a source of motivation.
The same applies to other aspects of your life. Somewhere photographs will help, somewhere tests (for example, to assess the level of English) or a 2-personal income tax certificate (to see how income changes). It would not be superfluous to keep a diary - for example, "five-book" Five books. Diaries for 5 years / Eksmo, thanks to which you can clearly see how your views and attitude to life are evolving.
And these are not empty words: gratitude increases R. A. Emmons, M. E. McCullough. Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life / Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Start writing down who you would like to thank for what you have. For example, a friend who supported you at the right time, or a colleague who helped solve a difficult issue. Or even a random passerby who cheered you up with a compliment or a smile.
One can and should give thanks not only in the diary. Don't forget to say "thank you" in person. Or write notes and messages. A person will be pleased, and he will have an additional incentive to do something good.
Take a break from social media
24% of social media users dream of Report: 56% of social media users suffer from FOMO / Mashable take a break from at least one of them. If friend tape brings you anxiety, discomfort, and envy instead of joy, it may be better to take a break - for a day, a week, or even a month.
Try not to embellish your life on social media: you don't make anyone feel better about it. And do not be afraid to be sincere and talk not only about joys and victories, but also about defeats and hard days. You may lose some subscribers, but your honesty will definitely be appreciated: sincerity in social networks is becoming a trend What is the “new sincerity” on the Internet and how it has changed our lives
Blogs that tell the truth about motherhood or life with mental disorders gain tens of thousands of subscribers. People are tired of ideal images and scenery, of deceit and falsehood. I want them to be told the truth. And this truth, in turn, motivates others to be honest.
Read also 🧐
- 10 unusual but scientifically proven ways to cheer yourself up
- 10 things successful people do to stay motivated
- Why the race for self-development is dangerous and how to get out of it
*Activity of Meta Platforms Inc. and its social networks Facebook and Instagram are prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation.
Read online "My life, my achievements", Henry Ford - LitRes
Translated from English E.A. Bakusheva edition:
MY LIFE & WORK by Henry Ford in collaboration with Samuel Crowther. – London: William Heinemann Ltd.
Today, our country is only just beginning to move along the path of development - with all the talk of amazing progress, we are taking no more than the first timid steps. Of course, we have made amazing progress, but if we compare what has already been done with what we still have to do, past achievements will seem completely insignificant. Only when you realize that today more energy is spent on plowing the land than is used in the entire industrial sector, you gradually begin to understand how many opportunities lie ahead. And today, when the world is so turbulent, it is the right time to offer new solutions and ideas in the light of what has already been achieved.
The words "growing power", "machines" and "industry" involuntarily draw a picture of the cold world of metal and gigantic plants and factories destroying trees, flowers, birds and green fields. It immediately seems to be a struggle between people and machines, more like robots. I must say that I cannot agree with all this. I am sure that until we make friends with technology, until we learn how to use it correctly, until we can more accurately represent the essence of the technical part of our life, we will not have time and opportunity to enjoy trees, birds, flowers and green fields.
It seems to me that by drawing the line between life and the provision of a livelihood, we have deprived ourselves of many pleasant things and pleasures. We waste so much time and energy that there is nothing left for joy. Power and technology, money and goods are valuable and useful only insofar as they give a person freedom. They are only means to an end. For example, cars that bear my name are not just cars for me. If it was only them, I would be doing something else. For me, my cars are direct evidence of the correctness of business theory, which, I hope, is something more than just business theory. This theory is an attempt to make our world a better place. The extraordinary commercial success of the Ford Motor Company is significant only because it clearly demonstrates the validity and correctness of the theory. Exclusively in this context, I can criticize the dominant system of production, the organization of money and society from the point of view of a person who is not enslaved by them.
If I had only selfish motives, I would not ask for change, I am quite satisfied with the current state of affairs. If I thought only of acquisition, then the modern system would seem to me almost ideal: it provided me with money in abundance. But I want to be useful. The current system provides limited opportunities for this, encouraging empty, unnecessary spending. Such a system leads nowhere. It's all about proper planning and expediency.
I'm not trying to argue with the general trend of being skeptical of new ideas. It is better to doubt new ideas and see for yourself their validity than to chase them with hope in a constant cycle of thoughts. Skepticism, if by it we mean caution, is the balance that keeps civilization in balance. Much of today's thorny problems are the result of thoughtlessly picking up new ideas without carefully considering how good they are. Just as an idea is old it is not necessarily good, just as a new idea need not be bad; but if the old idea produces excellent results, what further evidence is needed? Ideas themselves are incredibly important and valuable, but they are just ideas. Almost anyone can come up with something. Turning an idea into reality, into a concrete product, is what really matters.
What I'm most interested in today is to demonstrate the wide application that can be found in the ideas that are embodied in our work. They are not tied exclusively to the field of automobile or tractor construction, in one way or another they form the nature of a universal law. I am absolutely sure that this is a natural law, and therefore I want to present it in such detail and clearly so that it is accepted not as a new idea, but precisely as a natural law.
Working is a perfectly natural occupation, and it is absolutely correct to admit that wealth and happiness are acquired only by hard work. All human troubles stem from attempts to avoid such a natural state of affairs. I can offer you nothing but to accept this principle and agree with it. We must work - for me this truth is indisputable. We owe all achievements and successes to the fulfillment of the following requirement: if we must work, then work efficiently, intelligently and carefully; the better we work, the richer we become. All of the above I refer to the manifestation of elementary common sense.
I cannot call myself a reformer. I think people are too keen on reforms and pay undeservedly much attention to it. There are two types of reformers. Both of them cause a lot of inconvenience. The man who calls himself a reformer seeks destruction and destruction. If suddenly his button does not fall into the loop, he is able to tear his shirt to shreds. It would never occur to him to enlarge the loop. Such a reformer never knows what he is doing and why. Experience and reforms are incompatible. The reformer does not know how to face the facts. He always disowns them.
After 1914, a huge number of people stocked up with completely new intellectual baggage. Many are just now beginning to really think for the first time. They open their eyes wide, realizing the world they live in. Then, with a slight thrill of their own independence, they come to the conclusion that this world can be looked at with a critical eye. And suddenly it turns out that there are many shortcomings in the world. The ecstasy of the influence and power of criticizing the social system - which is the inalienable right of any person - at first prevents a sober assessment of events and reality. The young, inexperienced critic does not yet possess the skill of objective judgment. He always strives to eliminate the old order and establish a new one. As is known, it was possible to create its own new world in Russia. On the example of this country, you can study the actions of those who want to change the world. Russia has shown us that it is not the majority but the minority that defines and supports destructive politics. We are also convinced that if people make social laws bypassing natural ones, Nature imposes a stronger veto on such laws than the veto imposed by kings. Nature has vetoed the entire Soviet Republic. For she tried to trample on the laws of Nature. It denied people the right to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Some say that “Russia will have to learn how to work,” but that is not the point at all. The Russians work hard enough, but their work is worth nothing. This is not free labor. In the United States, the working day is eight hours long, while in Russia people work twelve to fourteen hours a day. In the United States, if a worker wishes to take a day or a week off, no one will prevent him from doing so. In Soviet Russia the workers go to work whether they like it or not. Civic freedom has dissolved into the monotony of prison discipline, in which everyone is cut with the same brush. This is nothing but slavery. Freedom is the right to work a reasonable amount of time and receive adequate remuneration for your work to ensure a decent standard of living, the right to be able to manage your own life. The above and many other aspects of freedom constitute real, idealistic Freedom. More simple manifestations of freedom permeate the daily life of each of us.
Without experience and foresight, Russia will remain in one place. As soon as factories and plants were run by committees, industry began to decline; there were few deeds, and too many words and disputes. After the skilled workers were on the street, thousands of tons of precious raw materials simply rotted and deteriorated. With their speeches, fanatics have brought the people to a hungry existence. Now the Soviets are offering big money to engineers, managers, foremen and leaders, only to get them back to their original positions. The Bolsheviks desperately need the brains and experience they themselves so ruthlessly dealt with in the recent past. All that this “reform” did for Russia was to block the path of progress and destroy production.
There is a malevolent element thriving in this country, trying to establish a strong position between those who work with their hands and those who think and plan for these workers. The same forces that pulled experience, abilities and intelligence from Russia are trying to sow discord and prejudice in our country as well.
We must not allow the destroyer, the hater of happy humanity, to divide our nation. America's strength is in unity—and in freedom.
On the other hand, we can observe the second type of reformer who does not recognize himself as such. In many ways, he is like a radical reformer who has no experience and does not seek development. The same type has a wonderful experience, only it does not bring him any benefit. I'm talking about reactionaries. They will probably be surprised to find themselves on the same level as the Bolsheviks. Such people dream of returning to the old order, not because this order was better, but because they are sure that they know it well.
One group of people strives to destroy the whole world to the ground and build a new one in its place. The second believes that the world is good as it is, and therefore it is better to leave everything as it was, that is, to allow the world to decline. Both the first and second positions are rooted in the same thing - in ignoring the obvious. Of course, it is not difficult to destroy the world, but it is impossible to build a new one. You can prevent the world from moving forward along the path of progress, but you cannot prevent it from returning to its previous state - to degrade. It is foolish to expect that if everything is turned upside down, then everyone will immediately be able to get their own big piece of the pie. It is also unreasonable to assume that astronomical profits can be made by slowing down development. The main problem lies in the fact that both reformers and reactionaries fence themselves off from reality - from the fundamental principles, from primary industries.
One of the rules of caution is to be completely sure that we do not take reactionary actions for the manifestations of common sense. We have experienced a period of explosive ideas and utopian visions of future ideal progress. But the matter did not progress beyond this. It was more like marking time than moving forward. The words sounded so sweet and promising, but when we returned home, we found that the enthusiasm had faded. Reactionaries often take advantage of the depression and pessimism that follows such periods. They promise a return to the "good old days", which in fact means all the same old abuses and unfoundedness. And since such people are completely devoid of foresight and insight, they quite pass for "practical people." Their return to power is solemnly formalized as the return of common sense.
The primary industries are agriculture, industry and transport. The life of society without them is unthinkable, the world rests on them. The cultivation of the soil and the cultivation of crops, the manufacture of commodities and their movement from one place to another, are as primitive as human needs, and at the same time nothing more urgent can be conceived. They are the essence of material existence. If they are removed, the life of society will also freeze. It is impossible not to admit that not everything is ideal in the modern world under the existing system, but if you do not shake the foundations, you can hope for improvements. The greatest misconception is that these foundations can be shaken. Any society is built on cultivation, production and transportation. If agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation survive, the world will be able to survive any economic or social upheaval. By doing our job, we serve the world and society.
There is still a lot of work to be done. Business is nothing more than a job. Speculation in finished goods is not a business, it is a more or less decent form of theft. But you can't ban it by law. Laws don't do much at all. They do not carry anything constructive. They are incapable of rising above police power, and therefore hoping that state capitals or Washington will start doing what the law is not supposed to do is just a waste of time. As long as we rely on legislation to lift us out of poverty or prohibit special rights and privileges, so long will poverty continue to spread and privileges grow. We have prayed enough to Washington, and there are enough lawmakers in our country (although, it should be noted, not as many as in other countries) to assure us that the laws will protect what they should not protect.
If you make the whole country think that Washington is a kind of paradise, behind the clouds of which dwells omniscience and omnipotence, the country will gradually wean itself from independent thinking, which in itself cannot but disturb. Our salvation is not in Washington, our salvation is in ourselves; this aid, however, may be directed to Washington - a kind of distribution center - where all our efforts will be accumulated for the common good. We are in a position to assist the government; the government is unable to help us.
The motto "Less government in business and more business in government" is a good motto not only for business or government, but also for ordinary citizens. Business is not the reason the United States was founded. The Declaration of Independence is not the charter of an enterprise, and the Constitution is not a contract. The United States—territory, people, government, and business—is just the means by which people's lives become meaningful. The government is only a servant of the people and should never aim for more. As soon as people become an appendage of the government, immediate retribution follows, since such relations are abnormal, immoral and contrary to natural principles. We cannot imagine our life without business, just as we cannot imagine it without government; they are necessary as servants, like water or grain; as hosts, they violate the natural order.
The welfare of the country depends directly on us as individuals. This is the optimal order, that's how it should be. The government may promise us mountains of gold, but words remain words. They can juggle currencies, as is done in Europe (and as is done by financiers around the world, since such tricks bring them profit), under the guise of solemn but empty chatter. Labor and only labor creates and brings concrete results - and each of us recognizes this in the depths of our souls.
It is absolutely unbelievable that such an intelligent people as ours would damage the dominant processes of economic life. Most people are well aware that free cheese is only found in a mousetrap. Most people feel - even if they don't know it - that money is not wealth. Theories that have set the teeth on edge, promising everyone everything they want, but demanding nothing in return, are instantly rejected by the average person on an instinctive level, even if he is not always able to give strong arguments against such theories. He just knows they are false. And that's enough. The existing order, inflexible, often stupid and in many ways imperfect, has one advantage over all others - it lives and functions. Without any doubt, the current order will gradually evolve into a different one, and this new order will also live and function, but the reason for this will not be its essence, but what people will bring into it. The reason for the collapse of Bolshevism lies not in economic failures. It makes no difference whether the industry is in the hands of private individuals or the state; it does not matter what the payments to workers are called - salaries or dividends; It is absolutely immaterial whether a person is prescribed how to eat, dress and where to live, or whether he is allowed to eat, dress and live as he wants. It's just a matter of details. The unviability of Bolshevism is due to excessive excitement and fuss about just such details. Bolshevism failed because it was both unnatural and immoral at the same time. Our system has stood the test. Is she perfect? Of course not, no way! Too bulky? Undoubtedly. By all accounts, it looks like it should have collapsed a long time ago. But this does not happen, since this system is consistent with certain economic and moral foundations.
The basis of managing is labor. Labor is a human element, thanks to which the fruitful seasons bring rich fruits. Labor has made the harvest season what it is now. Economic activity is based on this: each of us works with such material that a person could not create and does not create, but which is bestowed on him by Nature itself.
The moral basis is the human right to work. This right is described in different ways. Sometimes it is called "ownership", sometimes it is hidden behind the call: "Do not steal." It is the right of ownership that makes theft a crime. If a person has earned his daily bread, then he has every right to it. When someone steals this bread, he is stealing more than just food, he is stealing a sacred human right.
If we can't produce, we can't own - it's true, some argue that everything we produce is only for the capitalists. Capitalists, who become such because they provide the best conditions for production, are the basis of society. In fact, they don't own anything. They only manage property for the benefit of others. Capitalists who achieve this status through monetary manipulation are a temporary necessary evil. If they support production with their money, then they cannot even be called evil. But if their money is used to hinder distribution—to erect barriers between producer and consumer—such capitalists are bad for the country, and they will leave the arena when the money is better suited for the job. And money will be better suited for work when people fully realize that happiness, wealth and health are the inevitable result of work and only work.
There is no reason why a person who is willing to work should not work and receive adequate remuneration for his work. In the same way, there is no reason why a person who can, but does not want to work, should not receive what he deserves from society. Without a doubt, it is necessary to allow such a person to take from society as much as he has invested in it. If his contribution is zero, then he receives accordingly. Everyone should have a choice - to die of hunger or not. We won't go far, foaming at the mouth, arguing that everyone should have more than they deserve, simply because some people do have more than they deserve.
The most absurd and harmful statement is the statement about the equality of all people. It is clear that people are not equal, and therefore any democratic idea that seeks to equalize everyone is nothing more than an attempt to slow down progress. People cannot be equally useful. Those who are endowed with great abilities are much less than those who do not. However, a crowd of less gifted people can overthrow a small number of strong and talented people without realizing that they are digging a hole for themselves. It is people endowed with great abilities who are at the head of society and do everything possible to make life easier for the rest of its members.
The concept of democracy, which justifies and covers up the lowering of the level of abilities with its name, contributes to unnecessary, empty losses for society. In nature, no two things are the same. We design our vehicles so that all parts are interchangeable and virtually identical, as far as the most precise machinery and the most skilled workers can make them so. And no testing is required. The two Fords next to each other seem to be exactly the same, so much the same that you can take parts out of one car and put them on another, and so it seems that they are actually exactly the same. But it is not so. They behave differently on the road. We have people who run hundreds, and in some cases thousands of cars, and all unanimously declare that no two cars are exactly the same. They admit that if they were to drive a new Ford for an hour, and then they put this car among other new Fords that they also tested for an hour, they would never recognize the car by its appearance, but would recognize him, sitting behind the wheel.
So far I have been speaking in general terms. Now I would like to be more specific. One should not deny a person the right to live at a level corresponding to the benefit he brings. Now is the right time to raise this issue, because until recently, few people cared about the benefits to society. We were moving towards an order in which no one bothered himself with thoughts about costs and benefits. Checks rained down like from a cornucopia. If earlier the buyer rendered a service to the seller by purchasing goods from him, now the situation has changed, and the seller is already honoring the buyer by fulfilling his orders. In business, this is unacceptable. Monopoly leads to the death of a business. Speculation and the pursuit of profit is a disaster for business. If a person does not take active actions and does not make efforts, he will never succeed in business. Any enterprise will only become healthier when, like a chicken, it digs the ground in search of food. After all, before everything was too easy, customers did not need to please. In many cases, there has been complete disrespect and disregard for customers. This is absolutely unacceptable in business. Some have called this outlandish phenomenon "prosperity." This is not prosperity, but a useless pursuit of profit that does not correspond to real business.
If you do not have a clear goal and a specific plan in front of you, you can easily make a fortune, and then, in a fit of desire to earn even more money, safely forget that you need to sell what people want to buy. A business based on an unbridled desire to get rich, like a castle built on sand. It is a risky and dangerous game, and few of its participants last more than a few years. This is the essence and meaning of business - to produce for consumption, and not for speculation or lining your pockets. Production for consumption implies the following: the products produced are of high quality and low price, while it must be useful not only to the manufacturer, but also to the buyer. If the purpose of money is perverted, then the purpose of production is perverted to please the producer.
The welfare of the producer depends on the buyers. For a while, he can probably look well, indulging his own needs, but this seems more like a happy accident; when the truth is revealed to people and they realize that the manufacturer does not care about their wishes and needs, its end is obvious. During the period of the rapid prosperity of the economy, all the forces of the producers were thrown into how to profit and extract the maximum benefit for themselves, but when the people realized what was happening, many producers came to an end. They were justified by a "streak of failures", "a period of depression". But it is not so. They simply tried to pass off nonsense as common sense - which, of course, could not succeed by definition. Greed is not the surest path to wealth. But when a man serves for the sake of service, for the sake of obtaining satisfaction from the work that he considers necessary, then money will naturally appear in abundance.
Monetary reward is a natural result of service. And you can't do without money. But we should not forget that the purpose of money is not idleness and carelessness, but the opportunity to multiply good deeds. Nothing disgusts me so much as inaction and aimless existence. None of us has the right to idleness; idlers have no place in our world. Any system that aims at the abolition of money only complicates the situation, because people need to have some kind of calculation criterion. Whether the current monetary system is a sound basis for exchanges is a moot point. And I will focus on it in one of the chapters. I see a serious shortcoming of the currently functioning monetary system in this: it begins to exist on its own, thus slowing down production, and not facilitating it.
I vote for simplicity. Why, in general, do people have so little and have to pay huge sums of money for the bare necessities (not to mention some luxuries that I think everyone is entitled to)? Because practically everything we produce is much more complex than it could be. Clothes, food, furniture - everything could be simpler without being, by the way, less attractive. This is just how it has been done since time immemorial, and it never occurs to anyone that it is high time to change something.
You shouldn't take my words literally and go to another extreme. There is no need for this. It is not necessary to wear a bag with a hole for the head. It is, of course, easy to make, but not very comfortable to wear. It doesn't take much effort to make a blanket, but I don't think we'd get much done walking around in blankets like Indians. True simplicity is that which brings the greatest benefit and is most convenient in application. The problem with all radical reforms is that they call for fitting a person to certain ready-made things. I think that the authors of new fashion trends - in my opinion, absolutely terrible - are women who are unremarkable, and they make all other women so. It shouldn't be like that. The correct order is to start with what generally meets the requirements, and then cut off unnecessary and useless elements. This approach applies to everything - shoes, clothes, houses, technology, railroads, steamships and airplanes. By removing all unnecessary and simplifying all useful elements, we simultaneously reduce production costs. The logic is simple and obvious, but for some reason the process always starts with cheaper production instead of simplifying the product itself. You need to start with him. First of all, we should determine whether the product meets the main requirement - to the maximum extent to fulfill its purpose? Next, answer the following question: Were the best materials used, or just the most expensive? Third question: is it possible to simplify the design and reduce weight? And so on.
The excess weight of the product is no more useful than a coachman's cockade. I would even say even less useful. The cockade at least allows the driver to identify his hat, while being overweight means wasting energy. I can't imagine where the misconception came from that weight is tantamount to strength. The extra weight is understandable in a copra, but why is it in those things that are not designed to be hammered? Why extra weight for a car if its purpose is transportation? Why not transfer the extra weight to the load being transported by the machine? Fat people can't run as fast as thin people, but for some reason we design vehicles in such a way as if extra, "dead" weight increases speed! The cause of poverty is mainly the transportation of "dead" cargo.
Someday we will definitely figure out how to reduce the weight of manufactured products. Let's take a tree for example. For some parts of the car, wood is the best choice, but this material is extremely uneconomical. The wood we use in our cars contains thirty pounds of water. I am sure that it is possible to achieve better results. There must be a method by which the same power and elasticity can be achieved without the extra weight. And this applies to any production.
The farmer makes his daily work too difficult. I believe that on average, only five percent of the energy expended by the average farmer is truly channeled into the right direction. If it occurred to someone to equip the factory on the principle of an ordinary farm, it would not be crowded because of the huge concentration of workers. The worst factory in Europe is hardly as badly organized as the average farm. In farming, energy is used to a minimum, not only is everything done by hand, but there is also no elementary organization of labor. During the day the farmer has to go up and down rickety stairs more than once; he has been carrying water for years, instead of laying several meters of pipe. With more work to do, he can't think of anything better than to increase the workforce, while considering investing in improvements as an extra expense. And so the products of farm labor at the lowest price are still much more expensive than they could be. Extra actions - that is, wasted energy - are the cause of high prices and low incomes.