I want to tell you about why self-improvement has become such an important part of my life and the journey to enlightenment. Through childhood I was always a successful athlete, student and was well socialized. I could express myself to others, tell someone I loved them and showed my emotions easily. I can’t pin point when this changed and I began to become sarcastic, developed a “don’t care attitude”, and lived in a constant fear. Not any kind of serious fear for my well-being, but rather a fear that I wouldn’t be good enough, or people would find a flaw about me and I would be exposed if I was myself. Instead I didn’t try my hardest in sports, school or relationships, because I feared failure and if I didn’t give 100% then I would always have an excuse or at least I could convince myself that it didn’t matter to me anyway. At least this way I had no chance of failure or disappointment.
THE OLD ME
On our home field, at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, I hear the final whistle blow and we were knocked out of the first round of the NCAA tournament of men’s soccer. It was my senior year and my last game of collegiate level soccer. I felt no emotions positive or negative. I walked to the locker room, got changed and went home just like any other game. I believe the reason I felt nothing is that I never let myself get emotionally involved and certainly didn’t give my full effort the four years I was there. If I had let myself get emotionally invested and given my all I now know things could have been a lot different that day. Not that I may have shed a tear or not been able to leave the locker room for hours due to heart break, but rather that day would more than likely have not been my final game.
It was only recently that I realized this was a terrible way to live. It wasn’t just bad for me but it was bad for everyone around me. I realized that if I never gave 100%, I could never improve. Failure is always a possibility, but what’s worse is not growing as a person and staying exactly where I was yesterday. I would forever be failing because I would fall well short of my potential. I was sarcastic and rarely showed emotion because if I actually gave a damn about something I could be rejected and looked down upon.
I used to think self-improvement was for the weak minded. In my mind they were unemployed, hopeless, depressed, had no talent, etc. I saw them as selfish because they are looking to scam their way to getting rich, having a bigger house, a new car, attracting the opposite sex, or other self-interests. I now realize self-improvement helps make me a better person for the people around me. The ones I love and care for.
My profession today is a Physical Therapist. No matter who you ask, the definition and description is always different. Instead of trying to define our profession our goal is to help each person who walks through our door to become a better person, both mentally and physically, for themselves and those around them. Everyone has different goals but to reach those goals they need some form of self-improvement. Historically improvements in physical therapy were made through exercise and specific hands-on techniques. We want to make the process so much more than that in order to create lasting change.
MORE TO COME
Self-improvement embodies both mental and physical enhancement. Now every day I seek both longstanding and innovative ways to improve myself in both aspects. I have found that the options are endless. With this blog, we explore these options through personal experimentation and reflection. I hope you’ll enjoy.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
― Helen Keller