Be a better version of yourself, not the best version of yourself

“Be the best version of yourself.” A great cultural injunction to avoid comparison. I believe that Teddy Roosevelt was right when he said comparison is thief of joy. However, I believe this call to be the best version of ourselves won’t get us where we want to be.

Carol Dweck, the pioneer of the growth mindset (see her TED talk here) talks about the importance of believing we can be better. While the idea of being the best version of ourselves is a good goal, there is a problem built in. Being the “best” version of ourselves implies a destination. It implies a final state of being where you cannot possibly be better.

This good goal can easily be reformulated into a great one. Rather than focusing on being the best version of yourself, resolve to be a better version of yourself each day. This folds action into the goal implicitly. It recognizes the fact that we can always be more than we presently are. It also takes advantage of compound interest. If you become just one percent better every day, by this time next year, you’ll be 365 percent better. That’s after ONE year.

One Percent Better

Being one percent better per day isn’t an incredibly difficult metric to hit. It’s opting for broccoli instead of mac and cheese on the side. It’s doing one extra rep at the gym, or reading instead of the 7th episode of a streaming binge.

Make a small little change. Something simple. Please, don’t think too hard about it. Then tomorrow, remember that victory. Keep building on that. Be just a little bit better a version of yourself than the day before. That folks, is as good as it gets.

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