Everyone knows how important self-improvement is. It’s important to constantly work on yourself to be a better person. The more you work on yourself, the more value you have to offer the people in your life.
Continuous self-improvement also benefits the world. For instance, some of the world’s top philanthropists – including Richard Branson – have spent their entire lives working on themselves so they have more to offer others.
If you want to be a better human being and a light to the world, here’s where you can start.
1. Identify people with qualities you admire
Who stands out to you in their efforts to help the world? Richard Branson is probably the world’s most famous philanthropic entrepreneur, but he’s not the only positive role model out there. In fact, you don’t have to look far to find people with admirable qualities.
You might have a friend or family member who lights up the room just by conversing with others. Or, you might know somebody who can steer agitating conversations toward resolution and love where frustrated people yield to their direction.
Whoever has the qualities you admire, observe them for a while and take note of their behavior. What do they do differently than others? How do they approach people? Do they allow others to share without interrupting? Do they put aside the need to be right and simply hold the space for others to express themselves?
When you see people in the world who are getting the results you want, those are the people you need to imitate. However, don’t just imitate their outward actions. Develop a deep sense of compassion and commitment because that’s the motor that drives their outward actions.
2. Take online courses to round out your knowledge
Self-improvement requires that you’re always learning something from somebody. Today, you can do most of your learning online. While technical knowledge is important, you should also pursue learning that will help you develop compassion for other people.
Being a better human being requires the depth of genuine compassion. You don’t have to understand directly what others are going through, but it helps to know a little. For example, currently, the world is experiencing a medical crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors and nurses on the front lines are dealing with patients who have respiratory distress symptoms they’ve never dealt with before.
If you feel removed from the COVID-19 situation, taking some online courses to learn about respiratory disease and treatment will help you understand what medical professionals are dealing with. You may even feel moved to take action in your own town to help coronavirus patients and doctors in any way you can.
3. Be generous with everyone, even strangers
When you think of generosity, you might picture someone giving away a bunch of money or supplies to someone in need. That’s just part of being generous. You can also be generous with your time, energy, and interactions with others.
There are infinite reasons to be generous with others. Although many of those reasons benefit you by making you feel good, it’s important to remember that true generosity comes from the heart and doesn’t expect anything in return.
If you can be generous when it makes you feel good, can you be generous when it costs you time, money, or causes you inconvenience? Would you give someone the last $100 in your bank account if it meant you’d be late with your bills, overdrawn, and incur an overdraft fee that you can’t pay for a week until payday? If the answer is yes, that is the ultimate act of selfless generosity. Selfless generosity is generous because someone needs something, not because it won’t inconvenience you.
4. Practice being patient in trying circumstances
You can’t be a light to the world if you’re emotionally triggered by inconveniences and interruptions to your life. Practice patience at every possible moment, especially in trying times. The more you practice patience when your first instinct is to get upset, the faster you’ll squash that automatic reaction.
Life is easier when you can go with the flow, even when the flow is moving toward inconvenience.
Keep learning, growing, and correcting
Of all the self-improvement techniques you can pursue, continuous learning and self-correction are the key to making it all work.
Want more personal growth ideas? Check out Lifehack’s list of 42 ways to improve yourself and become a light to the world.