Becoming Better

“I never get it right!”  
“I’m so frustrated! I think I’ll just give up. ”        
“I don’t have the talent!”

You could be familiar with these phrases, the statements we make when we feel inadequate in the positions we find ourselves. Most times, when we've tried to put in effort and nothing seems to be working, we ultimately believe maybe that's not our calling!

In whichever way it is that you feel unproductive, one thing to put in mind is, no one was born with the absolute knowledge of what they seem to be good at. Even the greatest success stories have had their series of setbacks, but guess what, they learned! Yes, we only get to be better when we learn and direct our energy in the right way, and to the things that matter.

Being the best of one's self is what everyone strives to achieve. The feeling of fulfilment is the ultimate goal for anyone working with passion. Sadly, it isn't a pleasure most people get to savour.

I for one never used to care about whatever anyone said. I didn't seem to be able to understand any aspect of whatever I was taught in my language class. "I'll just endure, and write another entrance examination next year, who needs the degree sef?" I would always say. My passion had always been music and i was bent on coming back to school to get a degree in music and take the entertainment industry by storm.

What I got to discover was that, by rationalizing my focus to nothing but music, I had closed off my ability to be productive in other areas of learning. I was approaching it the wrong way. Not until I discovered and experimented with these methods did I get to know that limitations only exist in the mind! I had trained my mind that what I could do best was music, and it provided me no other avenue to excel.

Your area of need might be totally different from the situation I found myself in, but these methods opened my understanding to a whole new world of possibilities:

Method 1:

  • Understand that you can be better

The first stage of overcoming a problem is admitting that you have a problem. This couldn’t have been more accurate. To feel that you aren’t at your best only means you understand that there is a ‘best’ of you. By telling your mind this, you’ve started your unquenchable fire for improvement that with time, would become your daily motivation.

  • Change your mindset

You shouldn’t confuse this with changing aspects of your personality to integrate into the desired community. As quoted;
“Becoming better should not involve change, it should involve growth”
A pollen doesn’t ‘change’ to a flower, it grows into it. Like this, you must understand that becoming better takes considerable time. It involves growing into a fullness of yourself and this should only fuel your determination, not your frustration.

Likewise, give yourself time to grow. As the popular saying goes,
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Perfection isn’t attained by a single determined effort. No. It takes practice and patience. No one was born as perfect as they might seem. Your mentor wasn’t. Your boss, who seems to have it all under control, wasn’t. They grew. And the thing is, as perfect as anyone might seem, we all still strive to be better. By giving yourself this allowance to grow, you have unlocked a new domain into becoming a better version of you.

Method 2:

  • Examine yourself

Examination here is the process of evaluating yourself. What are the aspects of your devotion that pressurize you into diminishing productivity? As a student, is it school work? And as a worker, is it your work schedule? Are you overworking yourself or not doing enough? Yes, idleness contributes to reduced passion as the less you input, the more you might be prone to feeling irrelevant, or unwanted.

By examining yourself this way, you can know what triggers you off and be able to re-focus your energy. How?

  • De-pressurize yourself by experimenting

Opening your mind to accommodate new knowledge gives you the ability to experiment with things that might not be so bard after all. As we say, “Experience is the best teacher” and the sole aim of your experimentation is to gain knowledge, to learn and broaden your horizons; loosening the bounds you set up in your mind.

Are you a writer? Go on a short cooking course! Travel, explore, you never know where your muse is hidden. A graphics designer? Why don’t you see what’s happening in the world of photography? In this era and age of networking, everything is undoubtedly connected. Keep busy, but do not mount pressure on yourself.

Remember, the purpose is to open your mind to a world of possibilities.

  • Take an interest in more things than one

Be unusual. Restructure your schedule. Try to know something about everything. Volunteer for a communal cause. Now is the time to go for that yearly concert your friend always invited you to. Every experience is a form of learning.

Method 3:

  • Be realistic

It is important to know that in the course of finding your ‘best’, which might at the moment seem like your alter ego, do not expect too much in a short period of time. Know that it is okay to feel jittery about testing the waters of things you thought impossible.

Don’t overwork yourself with the illusion that you’d hit your optimum prime sooner, as it isn’t the quantity of work you put in, really, its the quality. When you input qualitatively, which is the best of yourself to whatever it is that you do, your sense of fulfilment rewards you in a way that only strengthens your will to be better, and of course, your pay.

  • Set positive goals

It is also necessary in this process of becoming a better you that you be mindful of what made you who you used to be. By so doing, you can set positive goals for you to achieve. Make a list of these goals and monitor them as you tick off the ones you’ve achieved. For example, if you used to lose concentration fast, you might want to set your goal like this:

“I need to start developing genuine interest in what I’m involved in and try to ask more questions.”

Instead of:
“I need to stop behaving so nonchalantly about my work.”

Setting positive goals would keep your mind on the positive side of you and help you discover your unique abilities instead of creating an avenue for tiring self-condemnation.

Treat yourself when you achieve set goals. A trip to the spa maybe, everyone needs a professional backrub once in a while. This would also give your brain something to look forward to as a form of reward for all of your effort.

Always look at the positive side of every situation. Always point out the good, being negative only generates negative energy, one which then slowly drags you back to the hollow place of unfulfillment.

  • Set limits

As important as it is to set positive goals, it is also necessary that you set your limits. You are human and as such, are prone to exhaustion. Although, ‘breaking point’ is only a mindset, know when to rest. Pushing yourself to the extreme will only take an unfavorable turn in the long run.

Find time to take care of yourself too. Too much work will only wear you down physically, emotionally, as well as health wise. Your brain needs time to rest, allow yourself allowances. Exercise, drink water, exfoliate, and don’t worry. The best of you is in you, and only you can be that person. Good news is, you’re going nowhere!

  • Strive for a balance

As badly as you want to get an A in that course, or even a B, or the next promotion, neither success nor fulfilment is one-sided. You cannot call yourself successful or fulfilled if your social life suffers at the expense your goals. You can be selfish, but don’t let your passion drive you. Take the wheel!

If you’re an excellent doctor but lack good interpersonal skills, or cannot keep a relationship of any form, you’re yet to know what being successful or fulfilled is. Most likely, patients would prefer your colleague to you because you’re so grumpy. Loosen up. Don’t take life or yourself too seriously.

Your happiness doesn’t come from your fame, money, competence, or proficiency, it comes from your impact on other people’s lives. Are your family and friends happy around you? Do they look forward to seeing you? Are you driven by the passion to be a better you for those around you, or yourself? Continuous self-evaluation will help you maintain the balance.

Method 4:

  • Take a break

Let’s face it, as long as you have no passion whatsoever in what you do, it is just as much wasted effort because:
1. You could do better.
2. You’re not only doing yourself a disservice, you’re affecting your work as well.

So what else can you do if you’re a painter by talent and passion but work in a bank as a matter of the situation you find yourself? Just take a break. You read that right. If your mind isn’t into what you’re supposed to be doing, and you’ve tried all resolutions to no avail, give yourself a break.

The purpose of this break if for you to think and plan your next action. You should have several preparations in place if you’re planning to finally do what you’ve always wanted, or have the talent to do. It is unwise to leave a paying job just because you don’t like it, to establish yourself with no capital. That isn’t wise.

What this break serves is an avenue to plan. Know how fast the pace is moving in your planned industry. Create awareness for yourself. Be accountable for yourself. Good planning never goes wrong when you’ve done your homework.

  • Live your dream

Now is your time to take that industry by storm, but, be prepared for setbacks! They will come, and if you’re strong, you’ll come out better than you was. Experience really is the best teacher.

Never stop trying to improve in ways that you can when you notice a fallback in your input to what you do. And no, it doesn't have to be in a firm. Yours can be the best dry-cleaning company there is in your location. You can be the best plumber, hairstylist, horology... it doesn't matter what you do. Your pay also, does not account for your fulfilment. Only you can make you fulfilled. Only you can make you better. The will of others for you to be better is never greater than the will of yourself, for you to be better.

And remember to contribute your iota to the well-being of others, your goodwill will comeback to you. Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop believing in yourself. Keep a positive outlook on life, and you’ll be the best of you the world’s ever seen!

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About One Yoruba Girl

Morẹ́nikéjì Olówóyọtán has had 10+ years of cumulative learning and teaching experience, with 400+ hours of online tutoring experience in Yorùbá language. She is a published researcher in the Journal of Yorùbá Studies Association of Nigeria (Vol. 11, No. 1, 2022) and promotes Yorùbá language learning online with her brand, One Yorùbá Girl.

5 thoughts on “Becoming Better

      1. No problem 🙂 check out my blog when you get the chance 😄

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