Do you have a moment of free time in your day? Download this app to enhance your productivity levels or master a randomized skill. Read this book on how to be happier, how to make more money, how to achieve more. Do these 5 steps to “look better”, feel better, be better. If you are not maximizing your productivity at all times, you should feel guilty about it. Fill every second of your free time with things that lets just say- don’t make you feel very free.
There is a reason for such advertisements, and there’s a reason they work- we want to be better! It is seemingly a natural human desire, and a healthy one at that- to have goals to improve oneself or quality of life.
Though it is important to evaluate whether we want to be better and improve, or if we feel we are not enough already. And how in either of these cases, we should trade in what is marketed to us for what matters to us. The picture of self-improvement and higher quality of life is different to every individual but is marketed to us as a one-size-fits-all commodity.
The Commodification of Self-Improvement
Any and all of these things can be a wonderful way to improve yourself and life. But it is important to address where these desires come from, and if they are really yours. Do they align with what you want, or what you’re told you should want? Do they stem from a sense of not being enough already, or are they an addition to your already fulfilled self and life? There is a major difference that the commodification of self-improvement has been blurring the line of.
There are multi-billion dollar industries profiting off of us feeling as though we are not enough already. And most of the time, these companies tell us what the problem is, and then display the product to fix it. Would we even see it as a problem before they told us it was? And this whole charade can be extremely compelling, there’s a reason the industries are worth billions. It is too easy to fall into the cycle of “this new product will really be the thing that cracks the code and fulfills me” (hint: it won’t be). All of the tools needed to be your best self are inside of you already, or are out there in the world waiting to be learned or experienced. They are not linked to an amazon storefront.
Centering Self-Improvement around Yourself
So how can we address this or rather combat this inevitable aspect of the world we live in? Remember that it is your life! You are the only individual living through your unique perspective and experiences. And there is so much freedom in that! Never be made to feel guilty for just existing as you are now, or for not always being “productive”. Every stage and form of you and your life is equally as valuable, valid and important. Growth will occur with or without the intention of it. But when you do set out for intentional self-improvement, ask yourself what you value and enjoy. What does a good life or a good person look like to you? What do you want your life to feel like? Center the answers of those questions when determining what self-improvement means to you.
Improving yourself should be taking who you are and enhancing it, taking what you love and doing more of it, or challenging yourself in ways that excite and inspire you! Value self-discovery higher and the rest will come!
It’s also important to remember that life is not supposed to be a long journey of self-improvement and then you die. Live! So much of your growth as an individual will come from simply living your life. You will naturally and beautifully evolve through your uniquely positive and negative experiences. You will fail, fall and stumble- and that’s all part of it. In fact, it might be the point of it.
Remember- we are not machines who need to optimize efficiency. We are humans who want to optimize ourselves and our experiences. And what a better way to do so than by making time for what matters to us. What works for someone else may not work for you, and even if it does work- is it what you want? What do you want? Address that, address what you want your life to look like, or rather feel like- and go from there!
Hello! I’m Chloe and i’m a third year Philosophy and Art & Design major. This is my first year writing for WEW. I love painting, writing, and watching my favourite shows. I’m very excited to be part of such an inspiring group!